Welcome to the first in a new series (for me). I will be researching, tracking down, harvesting and reviewing edible weeds in our area. The reasoning behind this, is that my vegetable garden is refusing to yield very much due to predators of many different kinds and a general lack of water. I am attempting to remedy the situation, but in the interim I will be looking for wild harvested foods too.
Dock is one of those plants that doesn’t get noticed in the garden, until it comes time to pull it out. It is a hardy and fast growing weed that can make a lawn look like a lumpy field, but it is also a really useful green vegetable.
There are more than 11 varieties of dock… and all are edible (that is not to say they taste good). Here at the humpy we have sheep sorrel, narrow leaf dock and broad leaf dock. Dock can be recognised by the papery wrapping around the base of new leaves, this little white membrane is one of the defining features of dock plants. It is naturalised over most of the eastern part of Australia, so if you are looking at a plant that you think is dock, there is a good chance it actually is dock.
Dock can be used like spinach, it can be sautéed or steamed as a green vegetable. You can use dock leaves as you would any other kind of robust leafy green… think silverbeet, spinach or cabbage leaf.
Dock root can be used to treat constipation and as a general tonic for the body. It has a balancing effect on the body and is great for building healthy blood. You can read about it’s use as medicine here.
My adventure with dock
The photo below is from one of my pots in the front garden. I dug up what I thought was a sheep’s sorrel root one day when I was out walking and planted it in a herb pot. I spent a bit of time identifying the type of dock I had found and eventually decided it is probably broad leaf dock after all.
It is growing well in my herb pot. I harvested the tender new leaves and some parsley for my experiment.
I fried some onion and garlic together with the dock and some spinach mix I had in the fridge. At the last minute I threw in some mushrooms (also found lurking in a paper bag in the fridge). Lastly, I made little nests in the mixture and fried some eggs in it.
The whole concoction was served on slices of toast and made a really lovely lunch.
I will definitely be making dock meals again. It was a delicious addition to my meal and I am using something that the possums have so far ignored. Having said that, I am now expecting to find all my dock plants munched down to stubs when the possums realise the food value of weeds.