There is a plant that grows all across America (except for freezing states) called Curly Dock. This plant is not relatively curly, nor does it live near docks, but, you can eat the leaf blades, growing tips of leafy stems, and the seeds. Its green, like most plants are, sometimes it does have a splash of purple, and the seedlings almost resemble spinach seedlings. In this article, I will describe the Dock, and how to make some tasty treats (un-sweet treats) that will quickly become a favorite among your family.
Curly Dock germinates mainly in late spring and early summer. Time of sprouting mostly depends on the temperature, amount of sunlight, and the softness of soil along with how much moisture it is getting. After the first two pairs, the leaves somewhat start to get a curly feel to them. When I say “A curly feel to them”, what I mean by that is they start to resemble lettuce leaves, the edges, and how they fold up and down. The leaves will begin to look skinny as they keep growing. Most of the time, older plants will have long and narrow leaves with a rounded tip.
A stem will shoot upward, with several leaves hanging off the sides. Little stems will branch off from the main stem, and start growing flowers along the middle to the top. The flowers will grow in clusters of buds. Really tiny stems hold these clusters of buds and flowers to the stem that holds the others, which is connected to the “Big Stem”. The buds and flowers will produce fruit, that, as it matures, will turn brown. And as the fruit is browning, the whole plant will decides it needs a tan, and browns up as well. Each dry fruit contains one seed. To collect the seeds, hold the stems and strip the seed stems from their fruits.
When harvesting the curly dock leaves, its best to leave the leaf-stems behind because they are very tough and stringy (Unless, you collect them while they are extremely young, along with the tips and shoots!). Squeegee the blades, and put the leaves in water until further use. The stems are at this point, useless, putting them into compost is the next best option if you are wanting to makes them useful. The leaves are ready to eat right away in salads, and it’s best to eat them as soon as possible, as to digest any of the nutrients that wasn’t sapped.
Here is a recipe that you can make with the leaves of the Curly Dock. Serves 6
Curly Dock Soup:
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp cornstarch 2
- 0 oz chicken broth
- 16 oz water
- 1 1/2 cups chopped curly dock leaves
- 1 cup chopped celery Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, stir in cornstarch and cook on medium heat until bubbly. Gradually stir in liquids. Increase heat to high. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly. Stir in curly dock leaves and celery. Decrease heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper as desired.
You can change the ingredients to your liking. I hope you enjoyed this report on Curly Dock. For more reports, look for more reports, at www.survivingtheoregontrail.com.
Edible Wild Plants
by John Kallas PhD.