what is watercress

What is watercress?

Written by Becky

At the beginning of this month I brought home a beautiful little bouquet of red watercress because it was on my list of seasonal produce to try in April. I’m not sure if I had ever tried watercress before but I am always game to try something new. So then, I just had to figure our what watercress is and what to make with it.

What is it?

First of all, I found out quickly that it is similar to a sprout in look and texture. After reading a bit about it, I learned that watercress is the most ancient of greens as it can be traced back to Greek and Roman time. Watercress is often called a cancer-fighting superfood as it has immense health benefits as it contains significant amount of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. In comparison with other vegetables, watercress has more calcium than a glass of milk, more vitamin C than an Orange, and more absorbable iron than spinach. Another claimed benefit of watercress is that it is a stimulant, being a digestive aid and diuretic. Due to its high iodine content, watercress has a strengthening effect on the thyroid gland, being a benefit for those who suffer from a hypothyroid. Lastly, a random fact for you… when mixed with vinegar, it is said that watercress stops bleeding. WOW… who knew this relatively undiscovered green would be so good for me?!

The red watercress variety, pictured above, has a peppery bite and even more antioxidants than the average watercress.

What to make with Watercress?

  • add to a sandwich or taco
  • stir into pasta or grains
  • puree in soup or use as a garnish in soup
  • add into a quiche or scrambled eggs

Have you cooked with watercress before? What recipes have you made with this rich leafy green?

Comments (10)

  1. Our family are the exclusive growers of the red watercress you so nicely show. This variety has antioxidant levels that are off the charts. There is also a new study released recently that studied the effects of watercress on DNA damage due to oxidative stress related exercise…astounding how much and how quickly watercress appears to actually repair damaged DNA…eat your watercress…both red and green. It is the most nutrient dense veg in the world…

    • Andy, thanks so much for your comment and more details on red watercress. I’ve enjoyed learning more about it and I’m excited to crete some interesting recipes with it. What is the best way to store watercress after you buy it if you don’t use it right away?

  2. Doesn’t watercress have sort of a peppery flavor quality, like arugula? I have not tasted it for years, but growing up we had a neighbor who harvested wild watercress and my mother would just sit there and eat it plain. Thank you for reminding all of us about it.

    • Yes it does have a peppery flavor to it, especially the red watercress. I love the story of your mom eating the wild watercress, such a fun memory!

  3. I used to pick watercress with my family when I was a kid, and my parents would make sandwiches with it. But I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with it. Need to get some!

  4. I am from Brazil and there we add watercress to salads and eat it raw. I’ve never had it cooked in any form but it would be interesting to try. Maybe saute in olive oil and garlic the same way as broccoli rabe… hmmm. Gotta try it.

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