Let us introduce you to Common Sorrel/Rumex acetosa also known as Garden Sorrel and Spinach Dock!
This relative of the common dock leaf, sharing the same genus, is one of our favourite wild ingredients packing a really sharp punch of flavour despite its diminutive size.
Usually found growing in grassy areas which have been left to their own devices so meadows, edges of parks where the council's don't mow and disused places.
Usually growing happily beneath long grass, occasionally found in woodland, it can be identified by its glossy green ovate leaves which have a distinctive tail, resembling the classic gents top hat and tails outfit, growing in whorls (circularly around the main stem which is usually underground). Smaller leaves are tastiest as they tend to go a bit bitter with age and size but they are all edible as are the flowers and seeds
Care needs to be taken not to confuse it with the similar Lords & Ladies which lacks the tail at the leaf base, being rounded, so if in doubt check for a pointy tail and you shouldn't go wrong. This citrus tasting leaf makes a great addition to salads, a hearty soup or can be used in savoury dishes. People have often likened the taste to a sharp green apple skin and in days of yore when apples where out of season they were collected and used as an apple replacement for pies. We recommend an Autumnal Sorrel and Bilberry pie.
Sorrel often comes with a warning about the Oxalic Acid which is what gives it it's sharp flavour, it is true that it's best to avoid food which contains it if you have kidney issues and consumption of a large amount of Oxalic Acid can be harmful for anyone. However the same warning doesn't come with other foods which also contain it....cabbage, rhubarb, coffee and chocolate! So stick to a salad or a soup a week and it'll be a welcome, zingy addition to your dishes!