Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yellow Wood Sorrel

I didn’t know that this plant was edible.  I always thought this was some kind of annoying clover that took over my yard every spring.  It grows everywhere and spreads like crazy.  I’ve been pulling it up and composting it.  I usually leave a little as a border in my flower beds because the yellow flowers are pretty.  I was doing a google search for another plant the other day and I discovered that this is yellow wood sorrel, and not only is it edible but really tasty.
Oxalis stricta, or common yellow wood sorrel, is also know as sour grass.  It’s native to North America and all parts of the plant are edible.  It’s high in vitamin C and contains oxalic acid which gives the leaves a distinctly lemony flavor. 
Native Americans have been eating wood sorrel for centuries. Some tribes chewed it to alleviate thirst on long trips, others considered it an aphrodisiac.  Cherokee ate it to alleviate mouth sores and sore throats.  It was also used to combat cramps, fever and nausea.  Potawatomi Indians cooked it with sugar to make a dessert.  I’ve also read that an orange dye can be extracted by boiling the whole plant. 

My whole perspective about this plant has changed.  I’ve started adding these delicious leaves and flowers to my salads.  They would probably make an excellent salad all on their own, with just a drizzle of olive oil and maybe a few cherry tomatoes.

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