27 Apr2014


Native Wild Sorrel. Baby Red Amaranth. Purslane. Micro Red Amaranth. Young garlic chives. Red Wine Cherry Tomatoes. Mustard Microgreens. Baby Kale Leaves. Petite Arugula. For an amateur cook like myself, that reads like a delivery receipt for a snazzy restaurant, perhaps one with a Chef that has REAL credentials. But that’s just part of what our home delivery receipt included last Friday, when Gejo of Malipayon Farms dropped by to deliver our minuscule order of dill, romaine lettuce, basil, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage and five cherry tomatoes and everything else listed earlier. I was like a kid in a candy store. Too much good stuff to be used up before they wilt in a couple of days…


Perhaps the biggest surprise was the wild sorrel. I have had mild French sorrel before, either in salads or a soup, but I would have never guessed a cousin would be growing wild here in the Philippines. Often mistaken for clover in other countries (note the three leaves, hence the wonder at finding a four-leafed clover), local wild sorrel is also known as wood sorrel, oxalis acetosella see photos in link with yellow flowers, seed pods and identical looking leaves. Bottom line, they have a surprisingly acidic or sour flavor, perfect for garnishing local dishes. I had never come across it before, and I used it to good effect in a dish the following day (post on that up tomorrow).


Next up were some Baby Red Amaranth or I am guessing Amaranthus gangeticus or also known as Chinese spinach or red spinach (but I don’t think it’s closely related to real spinach). These young leaves perfect for a salad or as a garnish as well.


Purslane is more common in European dishes (and Australian and Indian dishes centuries before that), and while I have seen it in some high-end groceries in the herb section over the last few years, and remember some of it in use at La Girolle, I haven’t much of a clue how to use it effectively. Some consider it a pesky weed, others a gourmet flavor note. If you have any suggestions other than adding it to a salad, I would love to hear some…


Next, some micro red amaranth, meaning just barely sprouted seeds (the seeds are used as food in India and elsewhere I gather). And some very young garlic chives that haven’t yet flattened out and acquired the strong garlic flavor of its older siblings.


Perhaps now more common, but I am still thrilled to get my delivery of fresh supplies of, are some mustard micro greens, sage, mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley and coriander.


The mustard micro greens have a really pleasant bite, not too strong, with a hint of mustard. They were a perfect garnish for the raw salmon I featured in the previous post. I suspect they would be wicked with deep-fried pork slices as well, along with some tomatoes, etc. The young, small sage leaves were spectacularly fresh. I have to fry them up or use them with some veal or pork pronto before they start to brown. Why is it you can never find sage when you need it for a particular recipe, and then, when you aren’t looking, this handful of terrific sage lands on your doorstep?!


Fresh mint is the bomb. We use it in fruit salads (try it with slices of honeydew and a squeeze of lime), in vietnamese spring rolls, to make fresh mint sauces, or torn into salads. Fresh basil for tomato salads (the tomatoes are getting much better as the sun bears down its intense heat) and pasta sauces.


Rosemary and thyme, essential for our simple roast chicken, and a whole lot of other uses.


And finally, flat leaf (Italian) parsley and coriander or wan soy. You just know the weekend is going to be spent trying to make use of as much of this farm bounty as possible. Thanks Gejo!



  1. Ron says:

    i love fresh mint leaves smoothie drink…using a blender, mix all in 6 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice (with some zest, much better) + 5 to 6 fresh mint leaves + 1.5 tbsp. sugar + crushed iced (about 8 cubes)…run the blender at high speed for a minute and voila, you’ll have the most refreshing fresh mint smoothie…and it’s relaxing!

    Apr 27, 2014 | 4:22 pm


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  3. Maricel says:

    There is also a native variety of purslane called kulasiman in Tagalog.

    Apr 27, 2014 | 7:36 pm

  4. juandesigns says:

    May I veture to suggest that the picture of the Purslane looks like the greens we call ‘Papait’ in Pangasinan? My Dad loves them blanched and mixed with tomatoes and shrimp paste (alamang) like salad. It has slight bitter taste like ampalaya leaves but more succulent to the bite.

    Apr 27, 2014 | 8:33 pm

  5. Anonymous Paul says:

    surprising how wood sorrel is prized in many restaurants abroad and we can just find it literally in our backyards. I find it has very similar profile to kamias. I had a meal where they used this as a base for a sorbet/palate cleanser and was quite refreshing.

    Apr 28, 2014 | 12:01 am

  6. millet says:

    so that’s sorrel i’ve been pulling off my flower pots! and purlsane i’ve seen hereabouts too. hmm..must take a closer look at the weeds before throwing them to the compost. thanks, MM!

    Apr 28, 2014 | 8:51 am

  7. Lee says:

    Bahay Kubo kahit munti
    ang halaman doon ay sari-sari

    (ok sing the normal lyrics)

    …at saka meron pang microgreen na mustasa,
    wild sorrel, purslane, amaranth na pula,
    Sa paligid ligid ay marami pang iba.

    I apologize to everyone but I think you have heard or seen this irritating phrase in social media but allow me to tweak some changes…. “Luto-luto din pag may thyme.”

    Apr 28, 2014 | 11:36 am

  8. millet says:

    Lee, tama!

    Apr 29, 2014 | 2:21 pm

  9. kurzhaar says:

    Marketman, your Oxalis pictured is not the same as true sorrel (which is in the genus Rumex, or the dock family, and looks totally different). All Oxalis species contain a lot of oxalic acid (hence the genus name) so should be consumed with care. The oxalis with yellow flowers (“buttercup oxalis” or “Bermuda buttercup”) which is a common garden weed is an invasive introduced from Africa, just about impossible to get rid of, and unfortunately one can only eat a little without risking oxalic acid poisoning.

    Purslane on the other hand is extremely healthful–the plant highest in omega-3 fatty acids. In season I collect young stems from where it volunteers in our garden. We eat it raw in salads, or as a garnish with fish, or cooked with pork in a Mexican-style stew called verdolagas (purslane is called verdolagas in Mexico). I have combined purslane with other early spring greens (dandelion, hop shoots, pea tendrils) and a bit of feta cheese in a Greek-style “hortopita”. It is a favourite “wild food” in our home.

    Apr 30, 2014 | 1:13 pm

  10. Gej says:

    Kurzhaar, many thanks for the information. Maybe the small size of this wild sorrel, and the way it usually is used – as a very light garnishing- makes the risk of poisoning very remote, unlike with the large-leaved sorrel variety you are probably referring too, where even one leaf may be dangerous if eaten whole.
    Thanks too for the ideas on how to use purslane.
    Indeed, as Anonymous Paul and millet also averred too, it’s a delight that these plants, which many consider as weeds, can actually be eaten, can be nutritious or even medicinal. It reminds me of a quote I read years ago, which I have never forgotten – ” weeds are plants whose virtues have yet to be discovered”….

    May 5, 2014 | 12:58 pm

  11. kurzhaar says:

    Hello Gej,

    I think the level of oxalic acid in true sorrel is lower than that of Oxalis species. But one should not eat too much of true sorrel either–I’ll have a bowl of sorrel soup and call it quits. Actually oxalic acid is found in a lot of other plants (like spinach and beet greens and chard) and even in things like chocolate. The difference is mainly that the cultivated varieties have been selected for lower oxalic acid levels. The wild “buttercup oxalis” is too high in oxalic acid for one to have more than a garnish of it…which is too bad, as if it were a safer edible I would find a use for it!

    Anyway, it is fabulous that you are growing such a spectrum of edibles. There are a ton of wild plants that most people aren’t aware are not only edible but delicious. The first spring dandelion leaves are one of our favourite treats–sauteed with a bit of garlic and good olive oil, tossed with pasta, with some cracked pepper and good honest grana padano over everything. A “rustic” dish I suppose but utterly delicious, and even more satisfying if one has picked the dandelion leaves from the wild.

    BTW I believe all amaranth species have edible leaves and seeds…that would include your garden variety decorative amaranths such as love-lies-bleeding.

    You may be interested in this website: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/faminefood/index.htm This is focussed on Ethiopia but I’d guess there are related plants all over the world and this website provides very useful information about traditional uses.

    May 6, 2014 | 6:05 am


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