February 09, 2016

White Jamaican Sorrel

As you may recall, I created a permaculture needs and yields log for Jamaican sorrel in December (of 2015). Although I grew up and lived the vast majority of my life in the tropics, my wwoof host surprised me the other day; Jamaican sorrel also exists in a white variety. I had no idea. The existence of several red varieties is widely discussed in research and on the street without mention of this well kept secret variety.
white Jamaican sorrel
white Jamaican sorrel
Naturally, I dashed at the opportunity to try this white variety. Handling it was no different to the red variety.
White Jamaican Sorrel. How it differs from red Jamaican sorrel

However, the taste was somewhat reminiscent of a sour tamarind juice whose tartness is slightly less intense than normal. I kept thinking that I must have been getting more than my daily quota of vitamin C ... and of a recent discussion on kidney health, how to identify compromises in kidney health during one of my naturopathic cleanses and enemas to flush the kidneys.

Would I have perceived how the white variety differs in taste from the red variety of Jamaican sorrel if I had been blind folded? I certainly think so. However, to verify my perceptions, I asked my wwoof host. (BTW, I have just completed a permaculture design for his 3-acre tropical property). He described the differences among the 3 main varieties of Jamaican sorrel as follows.
  • Manchester black variety of Jamaican sorrel: Renders the prettiest color in the juice but is not renowned for its flavor. (This was the variety I featured in one of my earlier posts on Jamaican sorrel).
  • Red variety of Jamaican sorrel: Richest flavor among the 3 main varieties
  • White variety of Jamaican sorrel: Most pungent flavor 
He explained that it is common for people who wish to enjoy an intensely rich flavour and color generally mix the Manchester black and red varieties of Jamaican sorrel in single brews.
White Jamaican Sorrel. How it differs from red Jamaican sorrel