Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eating the weeds: oxalis


While I was weeding my mother's succulent garden I was delighted to find several long-stemmed oxalis plants growing in it. Large leaves, pink flowers. I don't know which oxalis it is; many are native to the winter rainfall regions in South Africa. In Afrikaans oxalis is called suring, or ''souring", and the yellow-flowered kind, Oxalis pes-caprae, or Cape sorrel,  blooms in abundance in spring and is a traditional flavouring for bredies. The stems and leaves are very sour - oxys is Greek for acid, or sharp. If stock over graze on oxalis they become sick, and so would we, if we ate bucket loads: oxalic acid (also in broccoli, spinach, knotweed and sorrel). I nibbled the stems of the leaves in the succulent garden and yes, very tart.


I picked a small bunch and added it to the the lamb chop and green bean bredie already on the stove. After an hour they had melted away into juices of the stew, which was delicious. If you like such things. And I do.
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