oakandsage (oakandsage) wrote in wildfoods,
oakandsage
oakandsage
wildfoods

This weed makes bread

I see that the last person to post here posted about eating the leaves of curly dock... only a month ago! Here in LA, it's already time to start eating its seeds (and we can continue to do so until the first rains, which may be in october or november if we're lucky). I did find one or two leaves still growing - very tough and sour! Probably still usable as a pot herb, in a pinch.

Curly dock, Rumex Crispus, is an invasive perennial found in disturbed places throughout California (and probably in many other states). I frequently see it growing in fields beside trails. In the spring it appears as a cluster of big straggly-looking leaves, and by this time of year (in hot LA) the seed cases have already turned red-brown.

Yesterday I harvested about half the seeds from a single dock plant and stuffed the seed-bearing stalks into my pocket. I stripped the seeds from the stalks (discarding the stalks and a few dried leaves that made it in), rinsed them in a sieve, dried them in the oven, ground them up casing and all. It would probably be fine to skip the rinsing and drying step, but I wanted to share this bread around and I prefer to avoid feeding my co-workers trail dust. The resulting flour had a delicious whole-grain flavor. I used it in a loaf of bread along with plenty of white flour (without the white flour, the bread wouldn't rise!) A little of this whole grain flour goes a long way; I wouldn't use more than a quarter cup in a loaf of bread. You could probably get a flour that has less fiber and is more nutritious by grinding it loosely and then winnowing out the seed casing, but I like its flavor.

My co-workers proclaim the bread delicious. I guess I'll have to go on another walk.

Careful: The red in the seed casing stains (I wonder if it would be useful in dye?)

Golden currant is also in season. There are at least two types of golden currant bushes - some have berries that mature from green through yellow to red and then nearly black, and are not sweet until they're nearly black; others are ripe when golden-yellow. I like the yellow-when-ripe kind best. It's not a fruit to find in any quantity, though, at least here; I enjoy it in small occasional tastes, fresh off the bush. Picking it in enough quantity to take some home seems greedy - not to mention taking much more patience than I have!
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I've never eaten the plantain seed-stalks... only the leaves! I'll have to try the stalks.

The dock seeds themselves (not the casings) taste a bit like oats, and I expect they're quite nourishing; the casings, however, are probably just fiber. Keeping the casings in, I got a quarter cup flour from the seed stalks of a single plant - under a minute of harvesting time and not long to process. For a grain, I think that's an amazing return on effort. Later in the season I'll try to separate out the seeds and see what sort of volume I get.
How do you separate the seeds of the dock plants from their casings? They are so small.
I generally make an effort *not* to separate them because I like the taste of the casings, but if you run it through a blender, the seeds naturally separate from the casings because they don't break up as easily and are heavier.
Thank you for your information about dock seeds. I hope to gather some this week.