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!