Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 98 of 365 days in the lofe of our small family farm

Well today I though I would share with you about one of the plants the grows wild here on our farm and is quite tasty and useful, the best part is this plant grows in most of the world, so who knows it might be lurking in your yard right at this very moment.
Curly Dock or Yellow dock

A little about curly dock:
Common Name: Curly Dock
Scientific Name: Rumex crispus
Family: Buckwheat/Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)
Other Common Names: Curled Dock, Yellow Dock, Yaller Dock, Sour Dock, Bitter Dock, Bloodwort, Coffee-weed, Garden-patience, Narrowdock, Out-sting, Winter Dock
Flower Color: Green
Habitat: Fields, highway ditches, waste grounds, disturbed soils, riverbanks, found coast to coast in North America
General Bloom Dates: June - September

General Characteristics:
The tiny green flowers grow in dense heads up a spire. Each flower has six sepals that are light green/white/pink in color. Curly dock is a biennial plant, which means it takes two years to reach the flowering stage.
Alternate. The leaves have a coarse texture and wavy leaf margins with noticeably curled edges. Small veins curve out towards the edge of the leaf and then back in towards the central vein. Older leaves have a red primary vein. At the base of the stalk there is a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves grow in a circular pattern and are long (up to 2 ft) and narrow (3 1/2 in wide). There is a papery sheath that covers the seed and the leaf axil, a common characteristic of the Buckwheat family.
The winged seeds are dark brown. Seed wings are described as triangular shaped or heart shaped. There are up to 40,000 seeds per plant!
The plant grows 3-5 feet tall. New growth can be observed in the spring alongside last year's brown stalks. The new plant is green, 12 - 18 inches high with wavy green leaves.
Taproots are long, stout, and yellow. A plant can regenerate from only the roots.
                          HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
 The presence of anthraquinones in yellow dock enables the herb to function as a laxative. In fact, yellow dock is mainly prescribed by herbal medicine practitioners for its laxative and cleansing properties. The anthraquinones invigorate the colon which in the process helps to throw out the waste and toxins from the body. It may be noted here that any substance that has laxative property also helps in cleansing the system when taken in small proportions. However, when they are taken in large doses they act as purgatives leading to peristalsis (causing a rippling motion of muscles in the intestine) and gripping pain. Nevertheless, when yellow dock is taken in the right doses, it acts gently and helps to alleviate constipation. In addition, the yellow dock is also beneficial for the digestive system. When mixed with other herbs, yellow dock is also useful in assisting the liver, removing toxins from the skin as well as healing ailments like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Yellow dock also acts as a cleansing agent in the musculoskeletal system where there is regular accumulation of toxins owing to constipation.

                 Things you can so with it...

Fermented Curly Dock Leaves
2 large handfuls of young curly dock leaves
1 T salt(5ml)
1 clean quart-sized Mason jar
Wash your curly dock leaves well. Take a clean quart sized canning jar and place rolled leaves into jar.
Add salt to roughly 3 cups of water and pour over curly dock leaves, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace in the jar.
Push leaves down to the bottom of the jar, and if they float to the top you will need to weight them down.
All leaves need to be submerged below liquids, otherwise mold will form! Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days, then transfer to cold storage (refrigerator or root cellar).

  • 4 cups (1 liter) water
  • 2 lb (300 g) fresh yellow dock roots
  • 2 cups (500 g) wildflower honey
Slowly boil the roots until half the water has evaporated. Strain and melt the honey in the liquid, heating slowly. Keep this syrup cool: it's ideal in the fall for treating respiratory ailments. Take 1 t (5 ml), 3 times daily, as a pectoral, and laxative syrup.

                       Homemade Root Beer Syrup

Now I know this is not a traditional root beer. Traditional root beer is brewed with yeast, is mildly alcoholic — and can be tricky to make. This recipe will give you a root beer flavored syrup that tastes amazing, is stable in the fridge for a year, and needs only seltzer water or club soda to become a wonderful homemade root beer.

When you make your root beer, start with a tablespoon of this syrup to a pint of seltzer water.
You can adjust the strength of your drink from there.
Makes 2 quarts.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 ounces of sassafras roots
  • 1 ounce of curly or yellow burdock root
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 drops wintergreen extract or peppermint extract
  • 6 cups sugar
  1. Run the sassafras and burdock roots in a food processor until they become small pieces into small pieces, about ½ inch or smaller.
  2. Put the roots in a medium-sized heavy pot with the clove, star anise and coriander seeds and cover with the water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer this for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the molasses and simmer another 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the wintergreen or peppermint extract. 1. Put the cover back on the tea.
  5. When the mixture cools, strain it though cheesecloth to remove any debris.
  6. Return it to the pot with an equal amount of sugar. Stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer and cook it for 5 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Pour into sterile quart mason jars and seal. Keeps a year in the fridge.

Be Blessed Dears ones and enjoy....

Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

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