FRENCH SORREL (Rumex scutatus)

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FRENCH SORREL (Rumex scutatus)

French sorrel is grown for its leaves, which are used fresh in salad or cooked like spinach or cabbage. It is most famous as an ingredient in French Sorrel soup, a delicacy in France. Try it with pork, fish, and omelets. The flowers are sometimes dried and used in arrangements.

The species name, scutatus (meaning "shield" in Latin), describes the shape of the plant. This perennial grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and produces a clump of heart-shaped leaves. The plants develop tall flower-ing stems similar to those of dock, with flat, brown seeds. Plant the seed 1 inch deep as soon as the ground can be worked. Sow in rich, moist soil and full sun. Thin the plants to 1 foot apart. Cut back the plants in hot weather to prevent them from going to seed. The leaves are best harvested when young and tender, and used fresh; however, they can be frozen for later use. Divide the plants every 3 or 4 years.

SOURCE: James C. Schmidt Department of Horticulture Michigan State University

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