BLOOD SORREL (Rumex sanguineus var. sanguineus) is a beautiful heirloom version of the more often-seen culinary green or aromatic herb claimed by the Italians and the French and cultivated for centuries. This variety has an upright growth of deep red-veined dark green leaves. Stunning in the garden, especially when the sun hits it! It is also incredibly heat-tolerant (although you do need to keep it well-watered) - it didn't bolt like my regular garden sorrel did after weeks of triple-digit heat this spring. Sorrel has a unique lemony flavor due to the high oxalic acid content (so if you have kidney or bladder stones, this is not one for you). The bright green leaves are traditionally used to create a savory sauce used over fish and meats, or to make sorrel soup. But if picked at the baby stage this variety adds piquancy and color to your salads. Sorrel has laxative properties, so consume lightly. A perennial once established, grows to 12", but it is the newer, most tender leaves you want to pluck for your kitchen as their taste is more fruity (some liken it to kiwi) without the bitterness that builds in the mature leaves. Perennial, and it is the last thing to die back in the Fall and the first to emerge in the Spring. Grows easily in zones 4-8. 25 Seeds.
NOTE REGARDING OXALIC ACID: Consumed occasionally, no problem. But oxalic acid binds calcium and so regular consumption can lead to nutritional deficiency. The acid is reduced by cooking, so better to eat as a cooked green than salad green. And oxalic acid can aggravate rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity.
GROWING TIPS: Start sorrel indoors on a heat mat 8 weeks before setting out, or direct sow as soon as soil temps reach 70 degrees (I have always had better luck direct sowing) or direct seed in early spring. It is a light-dependent germinator, so cover just barely and keep growing medium moist but not damp. Germination in 7-10 days, but do not harvest until it is well-established or you will risk the plant. Likes a neutral to rich soil with pH of 6-8 and a semi-shady spot. When the heat comes on, you may notice that the larger leaves become bitter. You can cut back and waiting for new growth in cool weather, or just clip the older leaves from around the outside of the plant. Be sure to leave sufficient growth, however, that it is still capturing the sun or you will risk the plant.