Watercress - Gross: 200g | Net: 125g
Watercress is small to medium in size with many leaflets that grow on thin stems connected to a cluster of roots. The green leaves are ovate to round in shape with scalloped edges, and each stem grows 20-25 centimeters in length and produces approximately 3-9 leaflets. The dark green stems are hollow, crisp, and can gradually creep across water and land. In addition to the leaves, Watercress will also produce small clusters of fragrant white flowers and small pods with edible seeds as it matures.
Watercress has a spicy scent and a slightly bitter, peppery, and tangy flavor when fresh. When cooked, the peppery flavor will slightly diminish.
Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin K and contains vitamins A, C, and E, iron, magnesium, nitrate, phosphorus, riboflavin, potassium, and calcium.
How to Use
Watercress is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as wilting and lightly sautéing. The leaves and stems can be used fresh as a garnish, torn and mixed into salads, tossed into pasta, cooked into omelets, ground into pesto, or blended into juices and smoothies. They can also be layered in wraps and sandwiches or sprinkled on top of pizza, casseroles, and mixed into sauces. When cooked, Watercress can be added into soups such as minestrone, sautéed with parmesan cheese and served on top of a baked potato, or lightly wilted and served with cooked meats and vegetables. Watercress pairs well with spinach, asparagus, avocado, beets, carrots, tomatoes, pears, kiwis, oranges, grapefruit, garlic, ginger, leeks, sesame seeds, pine nuts, white wine vinaigrette, orange marmalade, jasmine rice, pork tenderloin, fried eggs, ham, salmon, ricotta cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
How to Store
The leaves and stems are highly perishable and will only keep up to four days when stored in a perforated bag in the refrigerator. The greens can also be stored upright in a glass of water and covered with a bag in the refrigerator.
Watercress has been used in many different cultures throughout centuries for its nutritional properties and medicinal benefits. Served to the Roman and Persian army, many believed Watercress would help increase stamina, freshen breath, and prevent scurvy. In Greece around 400 BCE, Hippocrates also used the green to help reduce symptoms associated with blood disorders and grew the herb near the hospital. In the 19th century, Watercress was nicknamed the “poor man’s bread” as it was widely available in nature and workers would forage for the herb and create a free sandwich.