Watercress can be grown in a wet part of the garden or in a polytunnel with very heavy watering. Also it does better if sown early in the year or in late summer. This strain of watercress is selected for slow bolting.
Sow in late winter on a heating bench or in late summer in a greenhouse. Sow 5 – 7 seeds per module about 1cm deep and then about 4 – 5 weeks later plant out.
Between rows: 25cm
Between plants: 20cm
Approx. seed count: 450
With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard so is one of the strongest-tasting salad leaves available. The leaves have a pungent, slightly bitter, peppery flavour and are highly nutritious. Also the leaves contain significant amounts of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and E and is delicious in a salad with milder leaves, an addition to sandwiches, quiches or made into soup.
Watercress is considered one of the oldest leaf vegetables consumed by humans and is a close cousin of mustard greens, cabbage and arugula. While considered an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant that is often found near slow-moving water, you can also grow watercress in containers indoors or anywhere outdoors, as long as they are shaded from the hot afternoon sun and have plenty of water.
Watercress is a storehouse of many natural phytonutrients like isothiocyanates that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
Cress is one of the very low-calorie green leafy vegetables. Because of this, watercress is often recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs due to it’s overall antioxidant, low-calorific and low-fat properties.
Watercress is highly perishable. Because of this it’s best to store it in a perforated bag in the fridge and eat it within a couple of days. Alternatively, treat it like a bunch of flowers and put in a glass of water in the fridge, covering the leaves with a plastic bag – it can last a little longer that way.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
500ml chicken stock
1/2 lb watercress
Dash of cream
1/2 cup of watercress leaves for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the potato and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium, cover and heat for 5 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and the milk, bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the leaves and simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until watercress is just cooked.
In small batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, season to taste, and ladle into individual bowls. (Note: Place in refrigerator if not serving at this point.)
Top each serving with a dash of cream, if desired and garnish with watercress leaves.