Bloody Dock (Rumex sanguineus)

I kept Bloody Dock in my Texas garden for years. I had high dappled shade and only occasional hard frosts, so it graced my garden with its flashy red-veined leaves all year. I kept it in a shady corner of my herb garden and it is a beautiful and stately perennial. In spring I ate the delicate leaves, which have a lemony bite.

Bloody Dock meets all my criteria for edibility, beauty, and utility.

One utility that all sorrel and docks have is that they are a plant rennet for cheese making.  Juice the leaves and add about 6 teaspoons juice per quart of milk.  Leave in a warm place overnight.  Strain the curds with cheesecloth and process.  The leftover liquid is called whey and is nutricious so I used it to make bread.  My cheese came out soft and was good mixed with chopped Garden Sorrel and chives on crackers.

I regret that I haven’t experimented more with cheesemaking.  It is quite easy.  Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar both make simple cheeses as well.

I have not experimented with standard rennet because I like experimenting from my garden.  One of these days I will.

Sorrel and dock grow wild everywhere I have lived and I nibble on them all.  I collected dock seed last year and added it to my Food Forest. If they come up here, I will be pleased.  I didn’t try to identify the dock plants when I collected the seeds, they cross readily and they are easy to confuse.  I will take a closer look if they show up in my garden.  All make a tart, lemony addition to a salad or sandwich, and soup greens.

That lemon tartness comes from oxalic acid and don’t overeat them.

Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is accounted the best for eating, and I may order seeds some day.  It has naturalized around the United States and I may have eaten some of its offspring.

Still, I ordered Bloody Dock seed for its perennial beauty and beautiful red veined leaves.  Edible too!


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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2 Responses to Bloody Dock (Rumex sanguineus)

  1. jgeerlings says:

    The sorrel in my yard is just to the point where I can pick some for a salad and maybe pesto. After a month or so it gets so sour I don’t care for it. I never knew about possibly getting too much oxalic acid.

  2. Jgeerlings
    not sure it matters, our bodies produce it and a few people get stones. Recent research indicates it doesn’t matter, that some malfunction causes kidney stones. In any event, some doctors warn patients away from it in the diet. Spinach is also high in oxalates as are some berries. I eat bloody dock in early spring only but eat oxalis and wild dock later. Since these aren’t going to be on standard doctor food lists, it is best to mention it. I have a quite varied diet which protects me from excesses of one food and the problems caused by it. Most allergies are supposed to be caused by over consumption of one food… but I haven’t seen research reports yet.

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