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Curly Dock Seeds  RSS feed

 
                            
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This morning I tried making some curly dock seed flour for some waffles.  They were easy to harvest - almost impossible to winnow since the seeds were so small.  I ended up putting them in the blender - I suspect a pile of the chaff got mixed in with the flour.  I mixed it with white flour so it wouldn't be too heavy - anyways it worked well!  Anybody know of any tricks for winnowing super small seeds?
 
Joe Skeletor
Posts: 113
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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after i harvested a bunch of amaranth, i took the seeds in a bowl, and blew on them as I tossed them in the bowl. All of the chaff/junk blew out and the seeds stayed (as well as some bugs). Not sure how small curly dock seed is compared to amaranth, but this might work. Did the dock seeds get ground up completely from the blender? the blowing method wouldn't work then, I would imagine.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Are the hulls unpalatable?  Or could they be a fiber supplement if ground up with the flour?  Apparently one of the reasons our hunter-gatherer ancestors were so healthy was a high fiber diet.

 
ronie dee
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I've been toying with the idea of using the dock seeds for winter sprouts. I guess you could sprout them then dry them to make flour...or just add the sprouts to the flour to make breads.
 
                        
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Location: South Central Idaho
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Easy Way - wait until the wind is about 30 MPH and pour from one bowl into another.

Hard - turn on the box fan.
 
ronie dee
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DustyTrails wrote:
Easy Way - wait until the wind is about 30 MPH and pour from one bowl into another.

Hard - turn on the box fan.


Winnowing is easy, but how do you get the seed out of that paper husk?
 
                        
Posts: 148
Location: South Central Idaho
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Walk or stomp on it with clean boots on .. while it is in an old water tank, sack or container. If there is a lot of grain .. pay and gave it milled. During the war WWII I remember an old black man with a team of mules coming and getting grandmother's dried corn for her and hauling it to the water mill a mile down the road in GA. They would grind it and we would bring it home. Those were the days.

Most grain storage silos have cleaning and milling facilities with them. Call and ask .. if you have a lot of grain .. it will keep longer cleaned.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i recently harvested a "small" amount of curly dock seed, about 10 heads from about 6 plants around the house, i filled a few jars and now have no space for any of the other grain left in an open container for the time being

FYI there are a lot of spiders in the dock that look very similar to the grain heads, they can really surprise you if your not looking, so for those of you who do this in the future, just watch out so you dont get too spooked
 
Tyler Ludens
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I wonder if you can remove the husk and toast the seeds in one step by setting fire to them? This is the procedure for removing fluff from cattail seeds before eating. The ash is blown or rinsed off.
 
Lana White
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One of my foraging books says you can eat the seeds and husks and all...just grind them into a flour with a grain mill. It says, however, that the husks can make the taste a bit bitter. This would not make much difference in an otherwise stronger tasting bread, such as acorn bread, for instance, or where the dock flour was a small part of the bread. The fiber is good, especially in a survival situation when it would at least give a feeling of fullness. The husk doesn't have any food value except fiber, but the seeds are high protein.

I've heard also of using a fan to winnow the seeds but have not tried it. I think you could use the coarsest setting on a grain mill to separate the grain from the husk and then winnow it. But I'd do it in an area where you wouldn't mind having dock volunteers come up...you will probably lose some seed with the husks.

I've also thought about the possibility, mentioned above, of burning off the husks. It makes sense that it would work.

Dock leaves are my favorite wild food. So far, I have used the seeds to scatter them around to create more plants, with some success. I think I will try the seeds in various ways next.
 
Devon Olsen
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i have dock growing locally, as well as in the yard here and there, have harvested plenty of seeds this year and put some in storage, but havent yet harvested any leaves, when is the best time and do they have to be boiled twice(i cant remember)
 
Lana White
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Nearly all edible leaves are better when young, and dock is no exception. The leaves get bitter and tough later in the season, like in most plants. Some of this bitterness can be simmered out, though, if you are going to use it as greens. If you use it raw in a salad, it will have a bitter tang to it if they are older leaves, but that can go okay in a salad if you want some interest from otherwise bland greens.

Just like spinach and sorrel (which dock is related to), the leaves have oxalic acid which makes it bitter or sour to some. Some like to boil it twice after changing the water once and draining it well the second time. This to me is unnecessary and wasteful of water-soluable nutrients, but I do like to simmer it until it is tender, then stir fry them a few minutes in butter and seasoning, by itself or with other ingredients. I also cream the greens sometimes or melt cream cheese with them, just like I do with spinach. Another good use is in a cream soup. It is a better spinach than spinach any day! It also is a nutritional powerhouse that spinach and most other greens can't match.

Anything with oxalic acid, even Popeye's spinach, as well as rhubarb and beet greens, can be too much of a good thing if eaten in excess. It can interfere with calcium absorption. The sourness or bitterness is from the oxalic acid, so if it isn't bitter, the oxalic acid isn't strong. Moderation in all things is the key, in any case...even an excess of plain good water can be bad for your health, lol.
 
Darren Landry
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Location: Baton Rouge & Lettsworth, Louisiana
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I cut off the seed heads and give them a quick bath. When dried enough I strip them off the stems. Put the seeds in the oven at about 140 with the door cracked open and stir occasionally to dry them out and let the bugs escape. I then grind them up good in a blender...husk and all.

So far I've only made crackers with them which are not too good on there own. When you put goat cheese on top something magical happens and they get outright addictive.
 
Lana White
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That's interesting...thanks, Darren! The dairy product might neutralize the sourness.

I imagine something that is strongly flavored, like a molasses bread for instance, could also have the husks with it without it being noticeable.
 
Melany Vorass
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Location: Seattle, WA
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I know this string is ancient, BUT... I've tried every which way under the sun to remove those pesky husks. Finally, I used my flour mill to grind the whole shitncaboodle. I use it cup for cup as replacement flour, but I only replace 1/3 of whatever recipe's flour requirement. I detail this in my forthcoming book (available on amazon for pre-order), The Front Yard Forager.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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Lana White
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Still have not tried it, but burning the husks off in a pan and winnowing them out might be the easiest way to get rid of them.
 
Mark Mcgoldrick
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I read somewhere (can't remember where) that you can crush/blend them, then put them in water and the seeds will sink and the husks will float......worth a try
 
Melany Vorass
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Mark, I tried that and it did not work for me. At all. I also tried sprouting them. Nope.

I'm not sure about this, but I'm thinking (as with amaranth and quinoa) the slightly bitter taste is from saponins. There are many different kinds of saponins (digitalis is one of the poisonous ones used medicinally for heart medication), but I'm guessing this saponin falls into the good category of cholesterol reducers. Leaving the husks on, eating it as a whole food, probably adds nutritional benefit (which makes it easier for me to get past my taste buds ; )
 
Mark Mcgoldrick
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Hi Melany,

I've actually never eaten dock seeds because I didn't have the patience to separate them. They grow everywhere here in Ireland, so its easy to collect a lot of it in a short period of time. I'll have a go this year with the husks on because they ripen earlier than pine, hazel and chestnut, and they aren't taken by the wildlife as quickly either.
There's gotta be a way to separate them without spending an hour for one handful, I'll try a few experiments when they get here.....thanks
 
Mark Mcgoldrick
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What about harvesting them before they ripen fully so that the shells are soft, but the protein and fats will still be there.....then just put them through a few changes of water?
 
John Zeron
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Location: Delaware, USA
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Having just harvested a gallon or so of dock seeds today I was hoping to find an answer to removing the papery hull here. In a way, you guys had that answer for me.

While the papery hull is not inedible, it really has little nutritive value. I've eaten dock seed as a sort of wild trail side granola. If one likes munching on newspaper or cardboard, this might be for you. It has never been for me. I will be testing making a porridge with the hulls on just for completeness sake. However my main goal is to make a flour. In my research I found that at some point during the colonial period, dock was grown as a staple grain. I can't imagine that a staple with hulls on would have been widely accepted. In addition the little nutritive value in the hulls is dietary fiber.

Since I am interested in this grain as a survival food the fiber content is quite pertinent. A body that is not used to a high fiber content will find itself moving its bowels quickly and easily. Dietary fiber sort of uncoils in the bowel, providing bulk and lubrication. While it may provide a sense of fullness, it soon turns to diarrhea. That in turn leads to dehydration. One simply needs an efficient way to get the papery hulls off.

I took a sample of the grain and ran it through a Weston seed mill (cast metal burr type, cheap and maybe not even worth the trip to get it more on that later) set loosely, ie coarse grind. This came from a suggestion from a fellow at The Country Living mill. The result was marginal. The hulls seemed to be separated to some degree but not at all satisfactory. I arrived at the answer by way of the suggestion to burn them off. Couple that with the knowledge that all grain is harvested at a point when it has a certain moisture content. Mix in some thoughts about moisture content in wood pellet combustion. The answer lay in the moisture content.

I tried two methods. Both worked admirably and can be replicated in the field.

Method one: Microwave the seeds on high for about 2 minutes. 1 minute was not quite enough. This leaves the hulls bone dry.

Method two: Oven broiler (electric) - Using a cast iron skillet (I am certain a cake pan or a cookie sheet will work fine also) spread the grain in a single layer and place under the broiler on the highest rack. Every minute or so pull the skillet out and stir the grain. After about 5 minute (sorry I didn't time it) the hulls should be very dry.

Final steps, both methods: take a tablespoon full of grain into the palm of one hand. Use the other to "grind" the grain in your palms. The hulls disintegrate to a powder! From there it is simple winnowing. It took 3 passes in front of a weak fan (about as strong as a computer muffin fan). I pal ground the grain one more time and gave it a final pass in front of the fan.

I next intend to try drying the hulls in the oven on very low heat, perhaps 175°F. [Edit: 2 hours at 170°F proved enough drying tie for excellent results] I don't want to liberate oils, just dry the hulls. Another idea I want to try is making a dehulling mill using rubber sheeting such as gasket material found in the plumbing department. Thus replacing and saving my palms.

I hope this helps everyone.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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very helpful information john please do let us know how your experiments go, i too have harvested dock but have not found a way to de-hull it either

does everyone else find spiders that blend in beautifully with the seed when harvesting? they were plentiful last year when i harvested, i woudn't mind a more effecient method of separating the grain from the stalk so as to avoid having these crawl up my arm lol
 
Mike Fitzugh
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I found this thread searching for the very same answer. This thread was so helpful in giving me ideas I thought I'd share what worked for me on separating dock seeds from the chaff:

Get some aluminum window screen from the hardware store. (Fiberglass screen is what most modern window screens are made of and I think it's too flimsy for this project, but maybe you can get it to work). Staple TWO LAYERS of this screen very tightly across a rectangular wooden frame. You want the screen taught enough so that the two screen layers are lying right next to each other. Note the point of doubling the screen thickness is to make the gap or holes in the screen effectively smaller (when layered) so, make sure the holes in the two layers are offset from each other when stapling.

Place this frame over a pan, cookie sheet, the ground--or wherever you want to catch the chaff. Now take 1/4 cup of VERY DRY dock seeds and put them in the middle of the screen frame. Rub the seeds back and forth across the screen with your fingers. Very quickly the chaff will fall through the gaps in the screen leaving the seeds on top. Brush the seeds off the top of the frame into a dish or bag. Voila! Separated seeds!

You might need to experiment with the dock seeds from your particular part of the world (or the screen size from your particular hardware store). In my climate (mountain, high desert) the dock seeds are quite small and fall through the gaps in the screen along with the chaff unless I double-layer the screen. ...But even in that case (a single layer screen), the seeds that fall through are easily recovered by winnowing as described by Jon above. The rubbing of the seeds on the screen turns the chaff into a very fine dust which is easily blown away.

Good luck!
 
Darren Landry
Posts: 12
Location: Baton Rouge & Lettsworth, Louisiana
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You don't need to separate the husk from the seeds. All I do is strip them from the stems, wash them off a bit, dry them and grind them in a blender. This is some of the finished product I found hiding in my pantry.

 
Devon Olsen
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thanks for sharing, ill have to do this with one of the jars i have saved up from a couple years back, see how it turns out for me
 
Darren Landry
Posts: 12
Location: Baton Rouge & Lettsworth, Louisiana
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My pleasure. I'm betting a Nutribullet or a Vita-Mix would do a better job of it but a blender was all I had available. I've also heard of using a coffee grinder...but I don't have one of those either.

WooHoo! Just found Emoticons button. It was hidden in plain site. I'm going to make some crackers again or try my hand at the bread soon. I'll let you know how that turns out.
 
Devon Olsen
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do you happen to have a simple cracker recipe?
if you dont mind me asking anyway, wouldnt ask you to share a family secret recipe on the world wide webs
 
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