Category Archives: flour and dough

Amaranth the Immortal Green and Grain!

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Story of a plant and how it helped me find its name.

Amaranth. I found you. You let me find you.
I remember. Looking intently at plants growing near a field of corn in the plains area just west of Denver, Colorado.

You were in the ditches near the field.
Alongside the road that tractors drive on.
Where we walked our dog.

Pigweed is the name that threw me off from you. Hard to latch onto, although pigs have good taste!

I thought the green, spikey cluster of flowers at the top could tip me off that it was, indeed, you.

But the leaves, the stem… the overall characteristics of you, Amaranth.
Wild, green leaved Amaranth.
Was something.
I still was not sure.
Like mistaken identity.
Or a case of amnesia where all I have is a picture to go by
with no name.

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It took me over a year of meanderings.
And leavetakings. Learning other plants which made my acquaintance before…

I found you on the upper banks along the foot and bicycle path of the Santa Fe river where I was walking.
A frequent walk which helped me notice you enough to wake up my sleeping vision and actually see you!

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(Patch of Amaranth in foreground on bank of river)

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(Just a week ago water was rushing through this riverbed. It was bone dry when I took the photo only to rush with water, just a few hours later. Rain from the mountain top making its way down. Perhaps over a course of days…)

The fertile banks of the river.
That is where you greeted me and lead me to understand your introduction. Where I finally learned to meet you. To see you for what you are. Amaranth the immortal green and grain.

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(In this location grows near the yellow flowered plant. Looks similar but only one is the edible, healing Amaranth!)

Grateful Harvest
near the riverbed

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(Can you see the top Amaranth leaf pointing to a patch of Mullein across the Riverbed?)

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This green, (as it is called in Nigeria. Green!)…
made its patient and hearty introduction to me again.

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As silly as this may sound?… plants have a way of helping me find them.

To understand, admire and observe them.
In essence, teaching me by name.

Thankyou Amaranth!

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Amaranthus retroflexus
Green Amaranth
Nicknames: Red root pigweed, red-root amaranth, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, and common tumbleweed.

plant info

Amaranth word origins are from the Greek Amarantos which means unfading.
It is believed to have derived from Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word Amar means eternal…unfading.

More word origin here:
“”Amaranth” derives from Greek μάραντος [3] (amarantos), “unfading,” with the Greek word for “flower,” νθος (anthos), factoring into the word’s development as “amaranth.” The more accurate “amarant” is an archaic variant. Also, it has to be mentioned the Greek word amarantos is in fact derived from ancient Indian language Sanskrit and the meaning of the word is immortal immortal.”

word origin source

Amaranth, given its Sanskrit roots, in India today; Amaranth greens and grain are still a popular food source.

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Red root

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Stems can be green, tannish green, red, pinkish green

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Aztec Use of Amaranth

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Aztec art and sculpture

Image source and Aztec Culture

“In ancient Mesoamerica, amaranth seeds were commonly used. The Aztec/Mexica cultivated large quantities of amaranth and it was also used as form of tribute payment.

Amaranth’s name in Nahuatl was huauhtli.

Among the Aztecs, amaranth flour was used to make baked images of their patron deity, Huitzilopochtli, especially during the festival called Panquetzaliztli, which means “raising banners”. During these ceremonies, amaranth dough figurines of Huitzilopochtli were carried around in processions and then divided up among the population…

Cultivation of amaranth decreased and almost disappeared in Colonial times, under the Spanish rule. The Spanish banished the crop because of its religious importance and use in ceremonies.”

Aztec use of Amaranth and quoted source.

But Amaranth survived on the outskirts of Aztec civilization. Thanks to the Aztec people who, perhaps at great risk, saved Amaranth seeds!

Manataka American Indian Council Articles on Amaranth

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AMARANTH Some characteristics of identification:

For Amaranthus retroflexus

*Be certain for each type of Amaranth plant as there are 60 – 70 species out there! Although some(not all) characteristics for plant species are consistent.

As always, be certain of what plant you are foraging! Bring an expert. Seek expert advice!

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This is a general guide for identifying
Amaranthus retroflexus
* (see above)

.Red root
.Alternating leaves
.Long petiole (leaf stem)
.Leaves can be diamond shaped, lanceolate, oval and often pointed,
.Leaves may be notched when young
.Smaller leaves, higher up on stem
.Leaves can have a slightly wavy edge
.Leaf like growth at stem joints
.Shiny underside of leaf also is white veined.
.These veins are prominent
.Green bristly flower spikes
.Stems can be red, green or pinkish green
.Flower spikes can also form at joints of stems as well
and can surround central, top flower spike.
.Can be branched plant
.Grows in roadsides, disturbed areas, fields, gardens… .Even in arroyos… see end of post 🙂
.Grows to 3 feet on average

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illustration credit. Info about plant

amaranth memory course

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photo credit

Amaranth Traditional Day of the Dead Skulls

comprehensive plant info

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Nutrition of Amaranth Leaves per 1 Cup Serving.

Vitamin K 267%, Vitamin C 21%, Manganese 13%, Calcium 7%, Magnesium 5%, Folate 6%… and other nutrients.

wow that’s a lot of Vitamin K!

nutrition chart

Medicinal Uses:

“Astringent.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[222]. It is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation, intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea etc[222, 238, 257]. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness[257].”

Source

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Prominent veins on underside of leaf appear white.

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http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/redroot-pigweed

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How to make Cheera Thoran.

I foraged a nice bunch of Amaranth leaves and made a simple dish of greens with them along with some community garden greens. (Amaranth was also growing in the garden!)

I was inspired by the cheera Thoran recipes but the process was more of a whimsical concoction.

The recipes I saw said to use oil and heat up mustard seeds until they pop.
I used 3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp black mustard seed
Then added one half chopped red onion
2tbsp ground coriander, stir
Sauteé
Then add chopped amaranth leaves
Chopped swiss chard
And a little chopped kale
Also quite nice is a couple of sprigs mint chopped and sauteéd.
Sautee all for a few minutes
All recipes suggest… Do not add water

We loved our vegetable dish and ate it as an antipasta first course.

Veggies including Amaranth leaves and black mustard seed.

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Chopped Amaranth leaves

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Our yummy antipasta dish! Similar to Cheera Thoran.

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Terri holds in sunlight for view!

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I just found a wonderful site about Amaranth!

Amaranth grows in Nigeria. In the site link below, I am sure you can recognize an Amaranth leaf in a yummy pan of greens!

I learned from this site that… “It is known in Yoruba as efo tete or arowo jeja… (meaning ‘we have money left over for fish.’ “)

These yummy greens certainly compliment fish and can be foraged or available in markets in Nigeria!

efo tete or arowo jeja greens recipe!

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Amaranth Seed

I am very excited by this product by Bob’s Red Mill.
Amaranth seed! Can’t wait to pop it and make popped Amaranth and honey Day of the Dead skulls!

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Also on the back is a recipe for Alegría that I will share with you here! Alegría mean Happiness in Spanish! And, is a celebration food during the Day of the Dead.

Alegría

pop it!

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Also I made Chocolate Atolé from the following recipe and I will show you how!

Chocolate Amaranth Atole!

Inspired and basic recipe from Versagrain
Chocolate Atolé recipe posted above!

Option: dry roast flour in pan for a few minutes on low to medium heat. Careful not to burn.
Amaranth flour has a green almost grassy taste but tones down a bit when dry roasted. Also the cacao/chocolate adds to the overall blend of flavors!
…note… I did not dry roast the Amaranth flour and really enjoyed the Chocolate Atolé flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 C Amaranth Flour
5 C milk or water. (I used 4 C almond milk and 1 C water
3 ounces chopped Unsweetened Cacao
(or unsweetened chocolate)
1/4 C coconut sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Heat milk until warm/hot not simmering yet.
Add Amaranth flour teaspoon by teaspoon
Whisk constantly to incorporate
When flour all whisked in…
Let thicken a bit
Add sugar…whisk to blend completely
Add one stick cinammon
2 tsp vanilla

For cacao or chocolate chop 3 oz add to mixture when pulled off the heat. Stir until dissolved

We added some raspberries to garnish. A sprig of mint would be nice and I think mint herb water would be nice for the liquid!

Here are some pictures of our Amaranth Atolé fun!

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Chop the cacao or chocolate (unsweetened)

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Heat milk until warm/hot

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Add flour bit by bit whisk whole time. It helped to have someone else to whisk!

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Add cinnamon stick

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Add sugar whisk to incorporate fully

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Add 2 tsp vanilla and whisk in

***Take mixture off heat before adding chocolate!***

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Add chocolate bit by bit

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Whisk

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Keep melting by whisking…

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Enjoy!

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Atolé maker!

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and me too!

Atolé what a treat and everyday a celebration!

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Amaranth can be difficult to distinguish exactly what species of Amaranth it is… even for more seasoned plant observers… Factors such as hybridization, juvenile plant, cotyledon (beginning growth from seedling,) male/female plant all factor in. Also, what stage of growth you are acquainted with identifying can make other factors stand out with an opportunity for learning or doubt.

Accurate foraging takes time and I did not forage from this last group of observed plants.

I am not exactly sure what type of Amaranth plants these set of pictures are (including the one just above) although these plants closely resemble the Amaranthus retroflexus…

Hmmm more studying to do!

🙂

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Nonetheless, I want to show you these beautiful plants which match the criteria for Amaranth species as a whole. In this case… alternating leaves, growth at joints, white veins underneath, bristly green flower spike, long petiole…

Left side of picture… Amaranth from a view in the arroyo

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A small grouping of Amaranth in a 100 foot area

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In the beautiful arroyo

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botany glossary

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Flour Power! Make Your Own Oat Flour Flatbreads or Tortillas!


~This post dedicated to my Dear Friend Nils!~

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A quickie post! How fun! Thankyou for joining me!

What you Need:

1. Steel cut oats or rolled oats
2. Coffee grinder
3. Butter or veggie butter or coconut oil
4. Salt
5. Warm water
6. Rolling surface/rolling pin (optional)
Can press out and flatten by hand.
7. Frying pan/flat griddle such as a tawa

Flour seems to be all the rage right now. Or maybe it’s me. Flour is on the horizon and certainly is a staple all over the world.

One of these days I am going to make nopales flour for tortillas! Woo hoo! Living in the desert gets you thinking about foodways and what can be made into flour. Nopales flour has a longstanding history of use in New Mexico, Mexico and other Countries of the Americas.

Nopalés? For those who may be unfamiliar check out
my Homepage.

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Another reason oat flour appeals is that I suspect I have a gluten allergy. I have sometimes severe and/or annoying/unhealthy symptoms after eating wheat.

Also I have read some people with celiac disease, for instance, cannot tolerate some of the protein in oats and some oats are contaminated when stored with wheat. So look for non-gluten oats if that is an issue.

*If phytic acid is an issue soak the oats with 10 % of a ground up grain/flour that contains phytase. An example of a non gluten grain that contains phytase is buckwheat flour. Phytase breaks down phytic acid. I have just learned that too much consumption of phytic acid in foods can lead to nutrient and mineral loss.

If gluten is not a problem but you want to reduce the phytic acid in oats… add a grain flour high in phytase such as wheat flour or rye flour, etc.

Look for certified gluten free buckwheat not because it contains gluten. Buckwheat does not contain gluten. It can, however, be contaminated with wheat because it is often used as a cover crop in wheat fields, stored with wheat, etc.

http://www.celiac.com/articles/23441/1/Is-Buckwheat-Flour-Really-Gluten-Free/Page1.html

I haven’t tried soaking oats yet with buckwheat but do feel inspired by the health complements this could provide. Here is a link about phytic acids in grains, etc.

http://www.phyticacid.org/oatmeal-phytic-acid/

I will experiment with this and let you know. I will try grinding the soaked oatmeal/buckwheat flour mixture in a coffee grinder. Add water (perhaps less it would seem) and make the dough for tortillas.

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Meanwhile… back to the steel cut oats…

What I appreciate also is that it takes less fuel to cook a tortilla made with oat flour than it does to cook oatmeal on the stove. I know solar ovens exist and I want to build one. But, even in a solar oven, tortillas wouldn’t take as long to cook as a dish of oatmeal cereal. And the tortillas with butter and cinnamon… or veggie butter/coconut oil, etc. really have a yummy breakfast taste. They make a good snack this way too! I even used the tortillas for dinner! More about that in a moment! 🙂

And, given that this can of steel cut oats was tempting me as I sipped my coffee this morning and that my friend has a coffee grinder (electric) … (which made said coffee very yummy)…I thought I would give the fun activity of making oat flour a go!

I started with this:
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And poured the steel cut oats into the coffee grinder. After first, unplugging it and cleaning it out and drying it…

I filled the bottom cup of the grinder about 2/3 full. Put the lid back on and did this step twice.

-Just 15 seconds in pulses and you get a soft powdery flour.

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-I made a 1 cup batch of flour.

Reserve some of the oat flour for rolling dough/pressing dough into a tortilla!

-And, then I added enough warm/hot water to make it sticky but not too wet. But, if it’s not wet enough it will be too dry to work with. Better to go slow on the water, until you reach consistency you want. Especially, for 1 cup of flour.

-I added about 5 or 6 Tbsp of warm/hot water from the kettle. It hadn’t started whistling yet but the water was just getting hot. Whirring…

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I am holding the kettle in the kitchen, in a lovely cabin of a friend; where, I am staying in the mountains of New Mexico.
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Off the Mountain Crest Road a pretty view.
And Tall Trees!

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Oh Yeah, where was I? 😉 and back to …
Oat Flour

-Mix the cup of flour and add small splashes of warm/hot water to the flour. I added a tablespoon of butter.
1 pinch of salt.

(I imagine vegan butter or coconut oil would work well if avoiding dairy or wanting to use what you have)

Tip: Use refrigerated coconut oil

-Mix and incorporate ingredients with a fork.

-Knead well and shape into a ball.

-Cover with damp cloth for 10 minutes.

This recipe made 4 tortillas about 5 or 6 inches wide.
So separate dough into 4 balls.

-Keep balls of dough covered with damp cloth while you are working on each tortilla.

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-Take the ball of dough and flatten it out on a floured surface. I used some of the oat flour to dust the surface.

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I used a cutting board as a surface to roll on.
*(and just to be safe, although most people know this…and for the kids helping, It would be better to use a cutting board for slicing bread…and not one from cutting meat or vegetables because of bacteria.
Or use other clean rolling surface 🙂 )

You can press it out with palm of hand and fingers. That is o’kay and makes a hearty tortilla/flatbread.

I have done it that way and it is a nice option. It’s tactile and fun and kids can do it as well as big kids.

I also love the way a rolling pin feels and the way you can roll the dough in rays. Rolling in increments, to and from the center out, all around its flattening rounded shape, to spread the dough in a circle. I sometimes flip it over and go at it from that side too. Also, just because it is so fun!

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Or you can make a larger batch and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Have a fun or holiday breakfast that way!

Here is the uncooked tortilla ready for the ungreased pan!

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-Heat up each side for 1 or 2 minutes. Less time makes them more pliable but you want to cook for at least 30 seconds. More time creates a flatbread type consistency.

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My favorite way to eat these is as a light meal, fresh and hot, with butter and cinnamon. Thinly sliced apples would be nice or sliced banana.

They would be good with a chutney or beans and rice. Experiment and have fun serving these!

I improvised and made a quesadilla with cheddar cheese and dried tomato basil pesto! Yum. A little bit delicate but does hold together and I love the the texture of the oat flour. I had put some butter on top of these tortillas earlier after first making them.
Later that day, I just assembled the quesadilla and put it in a dry, ungreased frying pan to heat it up and melt the cheese. I liked the result.

*The one thing I might do differently next time is leave out the pesto and put it on top of the quesadilla or dip into it. The tortillas absorbed a lot of the flavor/moisture from the pesto. But, it was yummy and the oat flour tortillas have great texture!

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This has become a favorite breakfast and now lunch or dinner with quesadilla in tow!

I really like this recipe and find the consistency is less of a rolled tortilla and more of a flatbread.
Warm water when making the dough is the key.

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I found this great oat cracker recipe!

What about Apple Chutney to go with your tortillas?

Also, I am staying with a friend, for a few days, and she just took out this past season’s frozen apricots from the freezer. I have made an oat flour crust for an apple tart before. And, that friend and I had a great time making it. But my friend’s solar oven was not able to generate enough heat on a semi cloudy day and we didn’t time it right. (Too busy sipping tea and gabbing!) So, I hiked back through the arroyo that day without a chance to try it. I don’t think it ever fully cooked that day. Which can be unusual with the sunny skies of New Mexico…although winter dawns. But, the view through the arroyo was great!

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Now I really want to taste a yummy apricot pie with oat flour crust. Stay tuned! 🙂 And found a great site using oat flour as well as nut flour for the crust! mmmm!

http://www.rodalenews.com/gluten-free-pie-crust-recipes

And I have been having a great time baking with oat flour! Check out my fun post on Apricot Pie with Oat Flour Pie Crust!

I want to Thank You for taking this Journey with me!

And Happy Foodways to You!

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Rumex crispus a.k.a. Curly Dock or Yellow Dock. It’s all Wild Buckwheat!

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Yellow dock/Curly dock
with green leaves, new green seeds and rust/red colored mature seeds.

Rumex crispus
Plant Family:
Polygonaceae
Common names: Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Yaller Dock, Sour Dock, Narrowleaf Dock, Curled Dock
Many species of Rumex exist.

Grows throughout U.S.
Originally from Europe and North Africa and West Asia. Has naturalized in many places of the world.

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Caution: The word dock is a nickname for two Very Different Plants.
Here is my post about Burdock
The roots have much different effects.
Both have medicinal effects. Whereas burdock can be used as a vegetable and yellow dock/curly dock cannot be eaten in large quantities due to undesired/dangerous gastronomical effects!

*I am not an expert. A happy enthusiast for sure! Please seek expert advice when foraging foods!*

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Back to Rumex crispusCurly dock/Yellow dock

See USDA database:
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RUCR

And throughout the world:
from source:
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1652&lang=EN

Geographical range Native range: Africa; temperate and tropical Asia, India and Europe (USDA-ARS, 2010). Known introduced range: Continental Asia, Japan, North and South America, North and South Africa,Australia and New Zealand (USDA-ARS, 2010).

Additional Sources:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_crispus

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+crispus

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rumex leaves early fall/late summer

field of red/rust seed heads:

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Perennial Plant
Grows to 2 to 5 feet tall
Seeds are viable in soil for 80+/- years
Can produce 29,000 seeds per plant
Habitat: Sides of Roads, Ditches, Fields, Meadows, Gardens, Woodlands, Grassy areas, Agricultural areas, Pastures

Can grow in sandy, loamy or heavy clay soils

Edible Parts: Leaves, Seeds

***Toxic to horses, cattle, sheep and poultry***
*caution needed for animals

Medicinal parts: Roots and to varying degrees leaves and seeds

Look alikes:
Red Sorrel in the Buckwheat family.

I definitely want to look for and forage this lovely plant in the same family as Curly Dock!

Common Name: Sheeps Sorrel
*Is Edible
Has characteristic arrow head shaped leaves
See links below for more information:

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=250

Image from above site.

Red Sorrel Leaf:

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http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+acetosella

Leaves are important identifiers. In this case, Rumex crispus leaves have a curly wavy edge.

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(Although Red Sorrel and Curly Dock are both edible…leaves are good distinguishers. Seeds are both shiny and brown. Getting sure with identification is essential and can save you from harm!)

With other Rumex species it may be better to distinguish between the fruit/seeds pattern of clumps of seeds too.

*Here is an informative site with leaf patterns of other docks:

http://returntonature.us/stalking-the-curly-dock-rumex-crispus/

Try learning one plant at a time really well. This may mean you will be learning about a lot of other plants that way…by comparing and distinguishing.

This is how I got acquainted with Red Sorrel!

Here is a picture of the Rumex crispus/Curly Dock leaves with newly mature rust brown seeds in mid July Wyoming.

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IDENTIFICATION:
See Plant Photos
Confirm with Field Guide/expert

-Grows from a basal set of leaves
-Leaves are smooth with a distinctive wavy and curly edge
-Lanceolate leaves are long and taper off

-It flowers June through October
southern hemisphere: (summer through mid fall)

-***Seeds ripen July through October.
Southern hemisphere: (Mid summer through mid fall)

-Seeds are rust colored, large long clusters of seeds.Triangulate and small. Become crimson rust colored when drying/dried out.

-Reproduces most by seed.

Foraging Tips:And Some Good Basics about Rumex crispus.

-Avoid areas near agricultural areas because of fertilizer and/or herbicide run-off.
-Avoid areas that look brown or dead compared to other green areas. This can indicate use of toxic herbicide
-Avoid areas with too much exhaust or pollutants

-*Mullein (see my post on Mullein) is a good soil indicator. When its long stalk is crooked or bent it often indicates soil pollution.
-Check on what Mullein looks like if it is nearby where you are foraging. Straight stalk is a good sign.
Still check for other signs of pollutants.

-When composting/discarding remnants consider volunteers that may grow
Toxic to horses, cattle, sheep, poultry and perhaps other animals.

-do not completely strip stalk it propagates mainly by seed unless you need to rid it of your land,
(might as well harvest.)
-*Also flowers and seeds/plant is habitat to many butterfly species and other wildlife.

-harvest spring leaves
-learn to identify leaves and fruit/seeds of plant you wish to harvest
-new leaves in spring often emerge at base of previous year’s stalks
-Be sure to harvest that year’s seeds.
Older stalks and seeds can stand for a year or more. May be moldy, too weathered, ridden with insects, etc.

-It is an oxalate food so consume in moderation

-New leaves have mucilaginous and slimy surface underneath leaf in spring. This can help with identification.

-The root is a yellow, large taproot which can fork off.
-Seeds are surrounded by calyx of flower and green when new and reddish brown when mature.

-Has many medicinal uses. Seek professional assistance with use.

-Please see medicinal use and cautionary notes at end of post:

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Getting to Know You

After a number of months researching and asking questions to myself and others…I finally wild harvested some Curly Dock!

Here is a fun art query I made about curly dock. Reaching out to any friends on facebook who might know what this plant was that had me so intrigued. A friend of mine thought it might be sorghum. It is unclear to tell from the picture. But, Rumex crispus it is! 🙂

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STORY OF PLACE.

EACH PLACE HAS A STORY. AND THE STORIES ARE INNUMERABLE DEPENDING ON THE TELLER AND THE TOLD. HERE IS ONE STORY OF CURLY DOCK
AND WHERE IT FOUND ITS PLACE.

Finally, after a lot of researching I discovered the mystery plant was Curly Dock or Yellow Dock as it is also known. I had heard of Yellow Dock’s medicinal uses. Funny how powerful it can be to recognize a plant and then realize you knew of healing uses of the plant all along. But, what good would that use be when foraging wild foods/medicinal herbs if one could not properly identify it?

Well, my time finally came.

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Rumex crispus…where to begin?
I have been fascinated with the rust-red seeds on dried stalks as we dash down the highway for quite a few months now, if not years!

Often by ditches, sides of roads or fields. Growing together wild. Often as if sown in a row.

The color of Rumex crispus changes. When the seed first emerges it is green.

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Then it matures to a red-rust color.

***The following picture was taken in early spring and from a plant that already matured previously. Not suitable for foraging at this stage.

From previous year’s growth.
They are beautiful and easy to identify at this stage.

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It gave me the frequent impression of being a grain.
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Greener seeds earlier in the season

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The idea of foraging a grain felt so satisfying.  Like a precursor to the advent of domestic agriculture. 
Foraging in favorite spots or telling areas that often yield curly dock.

Curly dock seeds
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Save some for sowing along trails you frequent year to year.  Make flour from the seeds.  Grow some in your garden! Even eat raw when hiking along.

Rumex crispus a.k.a. Curly dock or Yellow dock is a perennial.  A welcome friend to see.  It is a rich food source and healing herb.

It is buckwheat! Wild buckwheat, in fact!

After a lot of research and hunches and taking photos of the curly dock I came across…it was when I was in Wyoming at Elk Mountain in the Medicine Bow Range where I first foraged the Curly dock.

Unfortunately, or maybe appropriately, my camera was acting up that day so I do not have pictures of the stone circle/tipi ring that was nearby the stand of Curly dock.
*Scratch that! Several weeks later, I got a second time through. The sun was bright and I had trouble seeing but I got some images of the stone circle tipi ring!

Here is the curve of the ring:
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And, here is the stone circle tipi ring.

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(More info on stone circles North America)

http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/AAMonth/Poster.aspx?ID=8

It felt like a special place. Wyoming has spectacular views and a stone circle reminds me of people who lived thousands of years before. Waking up and living next to and admiring the same view of mountains that I was enjoying that one beautiful July day.

With Curly dock nearby…I wondered. I am not a botanist but, still… my imagination can be far reaching and without knowing for sure, my curiosity and imagination still wandered.

Curly dock is a perennial. It comes back year after year. Could I be harvesting from the same stands/offsprings of curly dock that grew all those thousands of years ago. I know this sounds hokey.

But, the simplest most plain of things can be the most profound. A perennial returns from the same source. Year after year. Perennial plants fascinate me and provide that link through time. Just as we are all connected to our ancestors from times past.
And stone circles and perennial plants reflect to us a continuance!

Annual plants are connected to predecessors over time as are perennials. It just seems more hit or miss. Or is it? Some annual plants have a quarter million seeds or more per plant like purslane does. So the purslane carries on just fine. Nevermind that the seeds can last decades! Time traveler! 🙂 Like plants we are all connected to our ancestors from times past.

At this stone circle site, did the people here also forage curly dock? It is likely because it has a longstanding history of use by original peoples of North America.

Also, I had a hunch that stone circles remain from dwellings not just in North America. Stone circles have also been found all over the world. Some being connected to portable dwellings, while others are significant as religious or ceremonial sites. Signifying respect. A stone left unturned could be the next story to come along.

(Here is some interesting information on the history of architecture and stone rings worldwide plus other use of stone:)
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=ab27

Here is info on annuals, perennials, biennials and frost tender perennials.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/growing/annual.html

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NUTRITION of Rumex crispus
a.k.a. Curly Dock/Yellow Dock

*Minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron
*Vitamins: A, C, Thiamine, Riboflavin,

*Contains Protein

Additionally from this source:

http://eattheinvaders.org/blue-plate-special-curly-dock/
(Excellent site)

Among its nutritional components, John Kallas (2010) explains, “Curly dock leaves are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and zinc” and the seeds are “rich in calcium and fiber while low in protein and fat.”

FOOD USES of CURLY DOCK and HULLING SEEDS:

When to Harvest Curly Dock:

*Something I have observed is that Curly Dock is a perennial so its beautiful crimson/rust seed heads can last well into the next growing seasons.

They are usually missing leaves (identifiers) at this stage. In some regions this stalk could be a few years old. The stalk will look brown and dried out and hollow. The seeds can still be attached…but will not be as fresh and more prone to mold, insects, etc.

So look for stalks/seeds that have just matured in the summer to early fall.

The basal leaves are usually gone but you will notice leaves will still remain on stalk and if early enough in the mature season for harvesting seeds…leaves will still remain near the base.

The pictures I have posted of the rust colored seeds also still have live leaves visible. See pictures below:

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The leaves are best young in the spring time.
They can be used in salads or boiled/prepared as a green.

Eat in moderation. The leaves and perhaps other parts of the plant are high in oxalic acid.

Boiling leaves in multiple changes of water may help to reduce oxalic acid.

*Oxalic acid is common in many foods such as: beets, swiss chard, broccoli, etc.
But,anyone with kidney problems/stones or urinary tract problems should be careful with eating oxalate foods.

Some sources such as livestrong.com mention that adding citrus to oxalate foods may decrease oxalic acid effects but it is not conclusive.

Eat in moderation or avoid oxalate foods if a health condition indicates so.
Seek medical advice if concern exists.

The seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground into a flour, hulled and ground into a flour, boiled and also prepared/eaten with outer husks. Just consider there will be extra fiber in your meal!

The seeds are small and may be difficult to hull.

Some people suggest dry roasting mature seeds in a pan and rubbing away the heat dried husk. Between your hands or with a rolling pin…and then blow or use a light fan or breeze to whisk the husk chaff away from the seed.

I found this post on a comment thread that looked like a helpful way to remove the husk from the seed.

TIPS ON HULLING SEEDS:

Post by: Mike Fitzugh, on Jun 26, 2013 17:08:41

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.

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Recipe ideas and Recipes!

DO YOU LIKE GALLETE?

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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galette

🙂

Personally, I want to make Curly Dock flour and make Gallete. (I am looking to find a suribachi to use for grinding the dock seeds.) Gallete is a French crepe traditionally made with buckwheat.

And Curly Dock is wild buckwheat. I look forward to this culinary adventure. And, will keep you posted!

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Here is an interesting recipe for
Curly dock/Yellow dock Seed Crackers.

Use a blender/spice mill or mortar and pestle/suribachi to grind seeds too!

(Store extra dry dock seed flour in a jar, and whole seeds in a paper bag.)

Mix together :

one cup of dock seed flour

one teaspoon of salt

and one cup flour of your choice. (My favorites are whole-wheat pastry flour and rye flour.)

Mix in enough water to make pliable, but not sticky dough.

On a well-floured surface, roll dough as thin as possible. Cut into desired shapes or transfer it whole to a well-oiled cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 375 O or until crisp.

From this great site:

http://www.natureskills.com/wild-foods/yellow-dock-recipe/

What about Curly Dock Pancakes? Folks from this site have a great recipe! Some of the recipe is measured out in grams. (Site for gram:ounce conversion below pancake recipe site)

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/mobile.php?rid=misc-curly-dock-seed-flour-pancakes

http://www.chefdecuisine.com/chef/converscal.php
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Have You Ever Thought of Making Your Own Bitters for Club Soda or Alcoholic Drinks?

Check this out!

Yellow dock a.k.a. Curly dock is listed as well as other roots and herbs.

Bartenders and Enthusiasts alike are creating their own bitters.

Here is a recipe!

http://herbidea.com/begin-with-bitters/

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MEDICINAL USES:

Source:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+crispus

***(Please Consult a Health/Herbal Professional When Using Curly Dock medicinally.)

Alterative; Antiscorbutic; Astringent; Cancer; Cholagogue; Depurative; Homeopathy; Laxative; Poultice; Salve; Tonic.

Curly dock has a long history of domestic herbal use. It is a gentle and safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation[254]. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems[254]. All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally. The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic[4, 21, 46, 94, 165]. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative[212]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[222]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[4, 238, 257]. Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems[257]. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[4]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[222, 238]. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant[232]. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough[232]. Other Uses Compost; Dye.

For Dyes:

Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots. They do not need a mordant[168]. An alternative ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator[32]. (is it the flowers?) This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K].

*Here is a comprehensive site about healing uses of Curly/Yellow Dock. Also information on when to harvest the root and what year plant to harvest roots from. (Harvest in fall…)
See following site for more info on medicinal uses of root and the plant.

http://www.indianmirror.com/ayurveda/yellow-dock.html

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Thankyou for joining me on an exploration.
From stone circle tipi rings…near where I first harvested Curly Dock…a circular path like the perennial nature of Rumex crispus. Knowledge is best layered with experience and I am still learning. In this way knowledge is like a branch that reaches back and forth. Now between me and you and I am grateful!

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