May 01, 2002

Summer Sorrel Shchi


s the Russian dacha season opens in May, dacha dwellers look forward to cooking meals based mainly on ingredients harvested from their garden plots. Given Russia’s climate, nothing seems to grow more easily here than sorrel. To the uninitiated, this plant looks like a common weed, but it has a very agreeable, tart, lemony flavor. Sorrel is a delicacy in disguise. 

You can easily grow sorrel yourself. It is a perennial herb that spreads with abandon and has been used for cooking and medicinal uses throughout Europe since the time of the Greeks. The arrow-shaped leaves of the plant are a great addition to fresh salads, but on a hot day in late summer there is nothing like a sorrel-based shchi. Not only is it a nice alternative to classic Russian cabbage shchi (see Russian Life, July 1995), but it is simple and very inexpensive to make. 

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