Tag Archives: Greens

Vegetable of the Week, Watercress

Watercress growing on our balcony

We have been growing watercress on our balcony without any problems as it is a quick-growing semi-aquatic plant that flourishes in a little alkaline water just look at the photo the pot you can see is watercress you just need to keep it damp.

And I will always remember when we were at the Willow Tree Restaurant going out everyday to the stream which ran through the property to pick watercress for that day’s service.

Watercress beats other salad leaves hands down, give all your salads a boost with the lively punch of watercress, you know what? Whizz it into a soup or add it to some parsley, tarragon, basil, and chives and make a chilled green sauce (Sauce Verte).
Watercress is a very fast growing semi-aquatic plant that thrives in a slightly alkaline water, with deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is connected to mustard and is one of the strongest tasting salad leaves to be had, Landcress is almost as strong.
It has a spicy, somewhat bitter, peppery taste and is very nutritious, containing large amounts of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and E.

Uncooked watercress imparts a peppery yet silky tone to dishes and is also very good for you it is very rich in vitamins C, calcium, iron, and folic acid, it is also a cruciferous plant containing anti-cancer phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and flavonoids (See Cruciferous Vegetables List – Cancer Prevention and Cancer Fighting Veggies for more information.

The scientific name for watercress is “Nasturtium Officinale” and did you know that “Nasturtium” is Latin for “nose twister”, which is a reference to the plant’s pungency.

Ever since the Romans graced our beautiful British isles watercress has been cultivated, it was mentioned in Irish poetry since the 12th century and has been cultivated in southern England since the early 1800s.

Watercress was once trendy as a tea, freshly made with lemon and sugar, and it has been used all over Europe and Asia as a tonic for a variety of ills.

Buying Watercress, 

  • Watercress is available all year round but is at its best from April until September.
  • It’s sold in either bunches or in bags, and is so good combined in a salad with milder salad leaves.
  • Look for fresh crisp, dark vibrant green leaves, with no sign of yellowing or wilting.

Storing Watercress,

Watercress is awfully delicate but can be kept in first-rate condition for a 2 or 3 of days by refrigerating it stems-down in a glass or bowl of water, covered with a plastic bag.

Preparing and Cooking Watercress,

  • Use it in salads in place of the universal rocket, or try watercress and smoked salmon sandwich.
  • It is a timeless soup ingredient and when cooked has a much milder flavour, did I say that when we were at the Willow Tree Restaurant at Bolton-le-Sands we had all the watercress we needed as it grew wild in the stream that ran through the grounds.
  • Wash, shake or spin dry just before you’re about to use it, don’t forget that both the leaves and stems are suitable for eating, just trim off any tough roots.
  • We like a roast duck served with a salad of watercress, rocket, and orange segments.
  • Combine with potatoes in a soup, or use in tarts and omelette’s, use to make white bread sandwiches or as a garnish for cooked foods such as game.

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