The countdown to St. Patty’s Day is on. Eating potatoes covered in ‘shamrocks’ seems to me like the quintessential Irish meal. There are about 850 Oxalis spp around the world, so this is one plant that I use either the name oxalis or wood sorrel. Kids adore this sour plant, commonly called sourgrass, and I always think of these natural treats as the precursor to sour patch kid candies. Below is a picture of the most common oxalis I have found here in the Santa Monica Mountains, Oxalis pes-caprae, which originates from the Cape Region of South Africa.
Many people confuse this plant with clover. The photo below shows an Oxalis pes-caprae leaf on the left and a white clover leaf on the right. The wood sorrel leaf will always have three heart-shaped leaflets. This trinity of leaves, the stems, flowers and seedpods can all be eaten. To harvest, it is easy to take a scissors and clip them from the bottom. If you are trying to eradicate it from your lawn, then pull it up from the roots as soon as it begins to flower.
I’ve got some Irish blood from both sides of my family. My Mom’s side came over during the potato famine. On my Dad’s side we had the first Irish-American citizen of the United States. It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish though, the sourness of the Oxalis with potatoes can be enjoyed by all. You’ve got 10 days before St. Patty’s Day to find your Oxalis patch…then you’ll be Luvin’ Potatoes too!
Oxalis spp. leaves/stems/flowers, chopped
salt & pepper
Wash and cut your potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place them into a pot with water and place on stove on high heat. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Liberally oil an edged baking sheet with cooking oil (I like to use grapeseed oil). Place your drained potatoes on the baking sheet and mix them around so they are well coated with oil. Place into oven for 45 minutes, stirring them after about 20 minutes. Chop Oxalis, leaving a few heart leaflets aside as garnish for top, and get your garlic ready to crush (mince finely if you don’t have a crusher). Remove potatoes from the oven and add Oxalis, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and place back into oven for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with hearts and enjoy!