Oxalis – An Unexpected Bite of Freshness

Oxalis is a genus of flowering plants that has around 600 species. 600 species. Imagine 600 species of humans. It might be hard to imagine different species when Homo Sapiens has been the only species in a long long time but we still divide people into so many subgroups based on nationality, language, the color of their skin, socio-economic status, religion etc. So imagine 600 different groups of human beings. Is it hard? How about when you think of how every human being is unique? 600 suddenly seems like a small number, doesn't it? It's all about perspective.

 

Oxalis Is An Edible Plant

The Oxalis family spreads all over the globe, except the polar territories. It has adapted to growing in the desert, in the foggy areas, just as well as it does in the forest, as most wood sorrels (as they are also called) do. And speaking about perspective, you might not know that wood sorrel is not just a weed growing in the forest or a house plant growing in a pot for the colors and shapes of its leaves and flowers, but is an edible plant, too.

 

 

Oxalis tastes a little sour, a little sweet, like a green plum, very fresh and tasty, with a little crunch from the stems. The name apparently comes from the Greek oxis, which means acid, referring to the oxalic acid that can be bad in big quantities (for sheep or other animals grazing for example). Chef Ana Roš, head of Hiša Franko, one of the restaurants in the top 50 best restaurants in the world, sais old people knew they only had to eat five a day. Restaurants around the world pay good money by the leaf when they are not growing it themselves, like chef Alexandru Petricean from Noua - the new Romanian cuisine, a chef with the mission to put Romania on the culinary map. He sais:

”We use oxalis as an agent to round up the taste because the acid goes well with fatty foods: butter, oils, cheese, eggs, meat. For the sour taste, we use it in salads, both the leaves and the stems.”

 

May Not Bring Luck But Oxalis Brings Health

Oxalis doesn't just taste delicious, it also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, placing it in the medicinal plants category and also used in some cosmetic products. Various extracts have been used successfully against pathogens related to infectious diseases. Perhaps that will make you feel better when you realize that the four-leaf plant you thought to be a four-leaf clover is, in fact, a common oxalis. But with all these characteristics and species, oxalis is anything but common.

Yes, you thought it was either a three-leaf shamrock or a four-leaf clover, but it's neither. It's oxalis, and it can come in many forms and colors, from the small heart-shaped, green, three-leaf common wood sorrel (O, acetosella) to the green and purple center four-leaf ones with pink flowers (O. tetraphylla) and to the one with all purple big leaves resembling butterflies (O triangularis). For some reason, it doesn't even matter this plant is not what you thought it was.

 

 

The initial thought that it might be in the family of clover made you feel luckier already, like the placebo effect. When you realize your mistake you get even more intrigued, how could this be? You thought it was one way but it was another. And now the new information is mesmerizing and puts everything into perspective. Just like remembering something from a long time ago, something buried deep, that puts everything in a different light. Something that makes you feel like you aren't who you thought you were, leaving everything open to every possibility, more so than ever.

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