I’m pretty proud of this lemon-sorrel syrup. For those of you who have not tried or heard of sorrel before (I never had prior to culinary school), sorrel is an herb resembling the leaves of spinach, only they are longer and lighter. So, it gets a bit confusing because it looks like you would cook a bunch of sorrel just like any other vegetable, but it is used more sparingly like an herb.

The neat thing about sorrel is the leaf tastes sour - like really sour. I don’t want to describe the flavor as lemon-y because it’s sort of more acidic than it is lemon-y. Nonetheless, I got this great idea to turn it into a syrup for dessert - sort of like you would do for a basil sauce.

Here’s what you need to know. Don’t blanch sorrel before blending it because sorrel turns brownish yellow when heated. For most herb or leafy syrups, you want to blanch the leaves quickly so that the green color remains and doesn’t turn brown after you puree it. It was a lesson well-learned because I was not able to find sorrel anywhere in the supermarkets and actually substituted spinach with a bit of lemon juice when testing it at home. The day before my final project in culinary school, where we had to create an original menu with an appetizer, entree and dessert, I found this out. Good thing I had a ton of sorrel to work with and that’s when I realized you should make sorrel the day you intend to serve it. Just make sure to store it in the refrigerator and the syrup does stay green for several hours, but if you can make the sauce fresh, I would say to aim for that.

During my presentation, I was going to strain the sauce so that it would not taste so chlorophyll-y, but I actually ended up losing a lot of sorrel flavor straining out the leaves, so I kept them in and it was absolutely delicious. Everything tasted fresh and bright and I would definitely recommend it for any dessert needing a little pop of brightness.

Lemon Sorrel Syrup

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup sorrel leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a small pot, whisk together water, sugar and cornstarch until there are no lumps. Bring mixture to a boil to thicken. Turn heat off and set aside to cool.
  2. Once syrup is cooled, blend sorrel and syrup in a blender until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste.