You’ve probably seen the tall reddish-brown spires of the mature curly dock everywhere in fields, yards and lanes – but you probably didn’t know they are food. A member of the wild buckwheat family, each plant contains thousands of seeds which are very easy to harvest, and wild food websites abound with recipes for curly dock seed flour, bread and crackers.
Curly dock seeds have an amazing life span, they are said to be viable for 80 + years! So it’s not outlandish that all winter I’ve had a jar of rust coloured seeds sitting on my shelf earmarked for a cracker making project. This finally came to culmination last week when I decided I needed some wild canapés for our very first Community Supported Foraging meeting. That went okay so I decided to make them as a snack for our Wild Edible Culinary Tours at the Creatively United For The Planet Festival last week-end. And as you can see below, they went over quite well!
And so, due to requests, here is the recipe! If you don’t have any curly dock seeds on hand I bet you can still find them in a field somewhere near by. But you can always use buckwheat flour bought from the store.
Because I’d read that the flavor of curly dock seeds are not much on their own, I decided to add in some seasonal spices to these crackers. First, I chose the fresh tiny mustardy pods and blossoms of the Money Plant (a wild mustard) which I diced. It is pictured above and below.
To this I added a generous helping of tangy crunchy sheep sorrel seeds, and then the oniony flavour of minced crow garlic (allium vineale). And while that may sound a little pungent, these crackers were surprisingly mild.
I harvested my curly dock seeds on a sunny September day and lay the seed heads on paper-lined cookie trays to dry. After a week I simply winnowed the seeds and the husks from the stalks by hand, they came off very easily. Because (as I often apologize) I am a lazy cook I went the easy route and kept the chaff and husks together. (Many online recipes advise keeping the husks as they add fiber and don’t detract from taste.)
But if you want to use just the seeds, you can rub the seeds briskly between your palms to take the husks off, then use a sieve with holes large enough that will permit the seeds to go through but not the chaff. At any rate, whether you’ve got just seed or seeds and husk, just take it all and grind in a spice mill or coffee grinder, then store in an airtight container for future use.
Perhaps because of the abundance of seeds the plant produces, the magical uses of curly dock are said to attract success, commerce and prosperity. Add to this the magical monetary power of the money plant and you’ve got yourself some wealth attracting crackers! So if you’re looking for a little financial boost perhaps put some of the pretty purple blooms of the money plant in a vase, or some hang some dried curly dock stalks from a rafter somewhere. Or you could just eat them of course!
Curly Dock Seed Crackers w/ Wild Herbs
- 1 cup unbleached (preferably organic) white flour
- 1 cup ground curly dock seed flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons minced crow garlic stems
- 3 tablespoons minced money plant seed pods and blossoms
- 3 tablespoons sheep sorrel seeds
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 large farm egg
- 1/4 cup water
- Mix dry ingredients ( but reserve one tablespoon of sorrel seeds) together
- Add cold butter and cut into flour with pastry cutter until well mixed
- Add egg, vinegar and water and combine until dough forms a soft ball
- Let the dough rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Using a rolling-pin on a floured board, roll out until dough is 1/8 inch thick
- Sprinkle the rest of sheep sorrel seeds onto dough then using the roller lightly press them into the dough
- Cut out into squares with knife, or cut out shapes with cookie cutters ( I also used the cap of my oil olive container – I wanted them small)
- Using a fork prick the crackers to prevent air bubbles
- Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 F until lightly browned or about 15 minutes
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container
P.S. If you’re interested in the yogurt cheese that accompanied the crackers you’ll find the basic recipe here. I used garlic mustard, money plant pods and blossoms, sheep sorrel seeds and crow garlic for flavouring for the cheese instead of the herbs listed in the linked recipe. But you can use whatever you like!