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.
Dock seeds are abundant and easy to harvest. There is a chaff attached to the seed that is extremely difficult to remove. I have found the best approach is grinding the seed, chaff and all and then proceeding with my recipe from there. It just adds extra fiber to your diet.
You can make bread, crackers, or throw it in a soup. If you’re making bread, it will turn out better if you add in some regular or gluten free flour.
- 2 Cups Dock Seeds ground
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 4 Eggs
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grind dock seeds.
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Bake for 40 minutes until spongy.