Watercress is a leafy green you might not be familiar with. It’s small, eco friendly (it does not require a lot of pesticide and never needs chemical fertilizers), grows along brooks and other running waters and contains more iron that spinach!
Watercress is light and peppery, and loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants. This small but powerful leafy green is cousins with Mustard and Radish.
It can be found in the produce section, near the heads of lettuce in a protective bag and with its’ roots intact, as you can see in the photo.
To use, simply cut stems and add to your dishes. You may opt to remove the stems, but there really is no need to. My favorite fact about watercress is that Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) built the first hospital along side a river where he’d plant watercress so that he’d have access to this powerful green to treat blood disorders. Isn’t that cool?
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.—Hippocrates
FUN WATERCRESS FACTS:
- Victorians thought the plant was a cure for toothache, hiccups and even freckles!
- Lord Byron was quoted as saying that watercress “doth restore the bloom to the cheeks of a young maiden.” He also called it the “Herb that while young is friendly to life.”
- In England, watercress used to be a staple part of the working class diet, most often eaten for breakfast in a sandwich. If the family was too poor to buy bread they ate it by itself and so watercress became known as the “poor man’s bread.”
- Watercress has more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and three times as much Vitamin E as lettuce. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, and is low in calories
- Watercress tea has also been used to alleviate the pain of migraine headaches.
- Watercress has a long-standing reputation as a hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair when rubbed on the head.