Wild Flours Pt 1: Dock & Fat Hen


I’ve been having great fun this autumn and winter.

Squirrelling away wild seeds and nuts, then in some cases soaking them in 2 changes of water a day for weeks on end. I then put my small child to work grinding up the dried results in a coffee grinder expressly not meant for the purpose.

Does this count as modern slavery? Probably not when it’s your own family. And it gives him something else to do whilst Minecraft is charging up.

Marty making chestnut gnocchi with wild chestnut flour!

We’ve been using a Goldenwall hand grinder (£50 on Amazon – yes, hippies use Amazon!). The instructions did say ‘dry seeds and non oily’ stuff, but I have still got away with blitzing acorns with it and it still hasn’t broken. Despite my son’s best efforts to feed it his own fingers and various essential, fragile household items.

My hand mill/grinder with chestnut flour…hours and hours of entertainment value!

So what can you make into flour?

So far I’ve made flour out of : Dock (Rumex), Fat Hen (Chenopodium album), Acorns (Quercus sps) and Sweet Chestnuts.

DOCK – THE RED SCOURGE OF FARMERS!

For Dock I sashayed out with a trendy carrier bag from Aldi and grazed the dark red seeds from the top of the plants in the nearby cattle meadow. The dock I used was Curled Dock (Rumex crispus), but any dock seeds can be used.

Dock was known as a famine food in ye olden times, and yes, it does have a tendency to taste like bitter wood shavings. Don’t let this put you off, however. In this hard times, Dock seeds will give you the hit of iron and trace minerals you need. Dock flour also has a cool red colour!

Don’t bother trying to separate the papery husks from the seeds, which are very small. Just whack it all in a grinder or a pestle and mortar.

These babies were easy-level grinding.

I used the flour to make Dock & Fat Hen Crackers with equal thirds Dock flour (red), Fat Hen (green) and wholemeal stoneground flour from nearby historic Pitstone Watermill.

Fat Hen (Chenopodium album)

I also added the rest of my stored Jack by the Hedge (Allaria petiolata) seeds for extra mustardy cabbage flavour.

(Yes, I am showing off. A terrible display of middle-class hippy flour snobbery.)

Dock, Fat Hen, posh watermill flour.

Added a little warm water, 2 tbsp olive oil and half a tsp of salt, then rolled the result out using an empty Prosecco bottle. (You may use a rolling pin, if you like.) The recipe said 0.5cm thick.

Cut them into diamonds (or squares, depending on the angle, or how much Prosecco you have drunk).

Banged them in a low oven (Gas 4) for 10 minutes. then 15, then 20. Finally after 30 minutes they seemed to be cracker texture. Bad recipe. Bad!

Annoyingly, they still didn’t quite get quite hard enough. (Tch – no sordid jokes people)

My son, surprisingly, loved them. They had a slightly bitter taste, but he offset this by heaping cream cheese and wild crabapple jelly on them.

Inspired by my local IKEA, I chose to tastefully arrange the crackers with radish yoghurt, beetroot and mackerel with cucumber. Very Scandi. I even choked most of it down.

Scandi style dock crackers

The verdict – crackers must be bone dry! It’s tricky, because if you nuke them you will burn them. I think the funny bitter taste (which wasn’t that bad, and didn’t put Marty off) came from the saponins in the Fat Hen seeds too.

It’s possible to get these off by boiling them several times and chucking the water away. If you can be bothered!

Right, more on Wild Flours later. It’s impossible to fit this all in one post.

Look out for an issue of Backwoods Home (US bushcraft mag) with my full article on Wild Flours soon. If you miss it, I won’t be able to help humble bragging and sticking it up here anyway…

See ya soon!

xx Hedgewitch Kat xx


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