Chances are good that yellow wood sorrel is growing somewhere near your home. This little clover-like plant has delicate yellow flowers and is informally called “sour grass”. When I was a kid, my friends and I would eat the sour leaves and flowers, and over-react to the tingling in our jaws. Many consider this plant a weed.
Thirty years later (thank you, Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants), I’ve learned that you can make a refreshing cold beverage—a cross between lemonade and tea—from this plant. Want to try it?
- Gather a bunch of sorrel. You can find it in almost any untreated yard (and do be sure your plants don’t have chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on them). My bunch was 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
- Trim off the roots and rinse thoroughly.
- Steep 10 minutes or longer in hot water. I probably used about 20 ounces of water, and my drink turned out very mild.
- Strain out the plant, chill, and sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener.
It’s that easy. And a fun way to teach children about the many ways that plants enrich our lives.
Note: A number of reputable sources describe yellow wood sorrel as a safe edible plant. But it contains quite a bit of oxalic acid (which is in many foods). It should be consumed in moderation, and avoided by people with kidney disease, kidney stones, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.