I have eaten dock leaves quite a bit now. I enjoy the flavour of the bitter leaves the most. Apparently you can eat the whole plant, so my next adventure is to try dock seed flour.
I found some dock with seed heads beside the road. I know it is in an area where council doesn’t spray herbicide so I just stopped the car and harvested a few heads as an experiment.
Making the flour is fairly easy; just strip the seed and roast them in the oven for five minutes, then put them through a flour grinder on fine. No need to winnow or anything fiddly. I will say that it is best to strip the seeds from the plant directly if you can (I didn’t this time, but will in future) because there are a LOT of beetles that call dock home. If you can harvest the seed and lay them out on trays in a shallow layer, the bugs and beetles will leave. Laying the seeds out like this also allows for removing all the little bits of leaf and such that seem to come with the seed no matter how careful you are.
After debugging and picking out the odd leaf or stalk, I popped the trays in the oven for 5 minutes on high heat. The seeds turned dark brown and cooled quickly once out of the oven.
Grinding seeds to flour was easy with my amazing benchtop grain grinder, the whole lot was flour in about 10 minutes.
When it was all flour (I set the grinder on fine), I poured the lot into a sealed container to wait until I can try baking with it. From the pile of heads, I ended up with about 2 cups of flour. This is definitely worth doing to harvest a flour alternative or extender. Dock seed flour has no gluten, so I can’t use it to make bread, but it is good for replacing part of the flour in recipes and for thickening sauces and stews. Nutritionally, dock is amazing; it has iron, magnesium and proteins in usable quantities. I will be harvesting and processing more dock seed over the next few weeks to have a bit of a store of flour for the year.
Adding just a quarter of a cup of dock seed flour to the sourdough bread gave it a lovely brown bread colour and a sweet, nutty smell.