Dock is a fairly common, perennial weed introduced from Europe. Found in most states in the Unites States, you’ll also find it in New Zealand, Australia, and many other countries throughout the world.
It’s in the buckwheat family, Polygonacea, and often called cushy-cows, butterdock, kettle dock, curly dock, and smair dock.
We have two types that I see most often: Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) and Broadleaf Dock (Rumex obtusifolius). For this recipe, I use Broadleaf Dock, though you may use Curly Dock, Western dock (Rumex occidentalis) and Willow dock (Rumex salicifolius). In North America, there are 25 species of Dock. Broadleaf Dock has a bit lemony flavor and usually not bitter at all, which I find very tasty.
Dock thrives in loamy, or fertile, soils such as the orders of woods, floodplains, and poorly drained sites. Acidic, moist soil.
Stems: Thick, reddish and unbranched stems, reaching a height of 1-3 ft.
Leaves: The hairless, lanceolate leaves grow in alternate form with the younger leaves growing on top of the older leaves. The edges are slightly wavy on the older leaves, but smooth on the young ones. The leaf stems start out green and then turn reddish as the leaf ages.
Flowers: A stalk will grow out of the center and contain hundreds of tiny, green flowers that turn red when they mature. Blooms in the summer.
Roots: Yellow, branched and short.
Seed: Triangular, tiny, dry, and reddish brown. About 2.5–3.5 mm (0.1–0.14 inch).
You’ll need to be able to identify this plant without relying on the flowers since the leaves are best in early spring. What I recommend if your identification skills are still in the early stages, identify this plant when it has the dark brown to light brown seeds since this is the easiest time to identify it (see photo!). Then, come back the following spring to harvest the first time.
In every serving (133 grams) you’ll get:
- 29 calories
- 2.7 grams of protein
- 1 grams of fat
- 4 grams of dietary fiber
- 70% Vitamin C
- 30% Iron
- 33% Vitamin A
- 20% Magnesium
- 19% Copper
See https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/dock/ if you’d like to know more about the nutritional benefits of dock.
So, the leaves contain oxalic acid, which is also in spinach and many other fruits and vegetables. Although this is highly nutritious and healthy, do not consume large quantities of this at every meal. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, please leave this plant alone.
The nutritional content of this amazing weed will have your head spinning, however.
With 70% your daily need for Vitamin C, this is great find for your skin. A high Vitamin C diet helps to hide the appearance of wrinkles, dryness and slows the aging process. Vitamin C is vital for the tendons, skin, blood vessels and ligaments. It speeds up the healing process and also forms a scar tissue.
- Enhances mood
Consuming enough iron will improve your mood! Encourages red blood cell replacement and helps balance mood hormones, such as serotonine and dopamine.
If you aren’t getting enough iron, you won’t sleep as well, will feel down, have a lack of motivation, and a low energy level. Anxiety and depression can be caused by a low iron level.
Getting enough beta carotene (Vitamin A) can help to prevent macular degeneration by up to 25%!
- Treat osteoporosis
Magnesium is essential to healthy bone growth and maintenance.
- Anti-oxidant activities
Manganese helps reduce inflammation which can lead to cancer, heart disease, and many other ailments.
- Treats anemia
Iron and copper combines to treat anemia.
Prevent heart ailments
Vitamin B6 helps to manage the cholesterol and blood pressure levels which are the two main causes for the heart disease.
You’ll need a clean source of dock from your yard or a friends’ yard. Please remember to abide by all local laws and do not harvest from parks. Some allow it in moderation, most do not.
Harvest about 14 large dock leaves at the base of the leaf. Don’t take the whole plant! It will continue to grow leaves even if you take a few. What I do is cut 2 leaves off several plants until I have as many leaves as I want! That way I can harvest every few days without hurting my dock plants.
If you can’t find that many, you can use what you have, but you’ll have leftover filling.
Stuffed Dock Leaves
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 1 Onion diced finely
- 4 Sprigs of Fresh Oregano
- 4 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
- 14 Medium Sized Dock Leaves
- Add the beef and onions to a hot skillet. Heat until cooked. Add brown rice, oregano, and thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes, while stirring occationally.
- Blanch each dock leaf individually by bringing a pot of water to boil and putting each leaf in for only a few seconds. Remove and blot with a towel. Each leaf should be pliable, but still firm.
- Once you have blanched each leaf, lay them on a tray and fill each with your leaves with your filling. Roll them and hold them together with a toothpick.
- “Dock – Rumex spp.” HealthBenefitsTimes.com. Accessed: May 14, 2020. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/dock/
- “Herb: Western Dock.” Natural Medicinal Herbs. Accessed: May 14, 2020. http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/r/rumex-occidentalis=western-dock.php
- “Rumex salicifolius.” Wikepedia. April 21, 2020 01:22. Accessed: May 14, 2020.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_salicifolius
- “Dock Leaves – The Ideal Ingredient For Stuffing!” Forager’s Folly. Accessed: May 14, 2020. https://www.foragersfolly.co.uk/stuffed-dock-leaves/
Please let me know how it goes! Leave a comment below!