Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The other week, I was taken back.  A friend gave us a stuffed gallon-sized bag of watercress.  As soon as I laid eyes on it (and later sunk teeth into it) it transported me back to when my mother would glean watercress when I was a child.  I remember my mom substituting it for lettuce in Lettuce and Egg Salad and my grandmother making a warm bacon dressing to drizzle over the top of it. Crisp and bite-y, watercress has it's own unique flavor that gives a punch and crunch to whatever it's added to.

If you aren't familiar with watercress, let my Food Lover's Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst give you a more proper definition...

"Cool running water is the growing ground for this member of the mustard family which can often be found in the wild in and around streams and brooks.  Watercress has small, crisp, dark green leaves.  It's pungent flavor is slightly bitter and has a peppery snap.  Watercress is available year round and is customarily sold in small bouquets.  Choose crisp leaves with deep, vibrant color.  There should be no sign of yellowing or wilting.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag (or stems-down in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag) for up to five days.  Wash and shake dry just before using.  Watercress may be used in salads, sandwiches, and soups and a variety of cooked dishes.  It's also a popular garnish fast replacing the ubiquitous parsley."

Lettuce and watercress topped with local feta, chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

We've been combining it with lettuce and eating it in big salads and on sandwiches.  If you can glean some from a neighbor or pick up a bag from a vendor at your local farmer's market, go ahead and do so.  Better yet, if you have a creek or spring on your property, you might be sitting on a gold green mine.

Local spinach and sun-dried tomato bagel with cheese, humus and watercress.

How do you eat watercress?
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  1. Oh, funny - your salad is exactly how we ate it, except we used local walnuts. I love it with a simple mustard vinegar dressing. The bacon dressing sounds fabulous too.

  2. This reminds me of when I was little and I would go pick dandelion greens with my grandma. For the life of me, I never remember to go picking until it's too late and the flowers are already out...argh! She would also scope out elderberries and made the best jelly ever....thankfully I have been organized enough to do that!

    Never had watercress before...been trying to work more kale into our diets as I understand it's a superfood :)

    Thank you for a great, informative blog! Janet

  3. I lean toward the ignorant side when it comes to watercress so I appreciated this informative post of yours.

    I was very tempted to try to take a bite out of that LUSCIOUS looking sandwich on my screen, but was able to stop myself just in time.

  4. We love water cress! We are lucky enough to have neighbors who bring it to our doorstep. It usually arrives before any of our garden greens are up so we make salads solely out of the cress. Our favorite is cress, hard boiled eggs, a few green onions, and a homemade mayo/vinegar dressing.

  5. I've been thinking about watercress all spring! I wish I knew where to find some, lucky you!

  6. Yum! We mix it with salad greens or eat it on sandwiches. . . or sometimes, just plain by its peppery self.

  7. That looks delicious! My father grows watercress in his stream that flows into his pond. At this point, he probably has a few hundred square feet of it! We often eat it Chinese style - steamed or blanched with a few shakes of oyster sauce and tons of fried garlic on top.

  8. Is it OK if I bought them A little wilted at next to nothing ,planted them in a pot on the deck and cut off to the soil to start anew? hopefully I have cress soon!

  9. I have tried to grow cress many times, and I just haven't been successful yet. One of these days I'll get some going.


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