French Sorrel grows in thick clumps that are approximately 45 to 60 centimeters tall. The slightly rounded ovate leaves are a brilliant green color and have a wrinkled appearance. In the summer, small green flowers, which turn reddish-brown later, bloom from a central stalk. Tender and succulent, it offers a quenching sensation on the palate. It has an earthy quality and sharp lemon flavor that is distinct to all sorrel varieties, but decidedly more delicate.
It may be used raw as salad green or a fresh herb, or sautéed similarly to spinach. The young leaves are tender and mild, best for fresh eating, while larger leaves become sharp and bitter, best for cooked applications. Sorrel makes an excellent puree, for sauces or soup, and is the main ingredient in the French recipe for soupe aux herbes. Complimentary flavors include, hard aged cheeses, cream, eggs, fish, caviar, oysters, lentils, potatoes, spinach, onion, shallot, mustard, parsley, tarragon, mint, chervil and nutmeg. It is recommended to only use a stainless steel knife when cutting sorrel, and to refrain from cooking in metal pots all together as its high acid content discolors and erodes metal cookware.