Watercress, a plant that is excellent for flavoring dishes. What else should you know about her?

Watercress is a very nutritious plant.

It contains high amounts of vitamin C and K, potassium and calcium.

How is it grown and processed? You will learn all this in the following article!

Watercress, a nutritious food

Watercress, Latin Lepidium sativum, sometimes referred to as garden cress or curly cress. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family, like cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Historically, this plant has been used to treat coughs, diarrhea, vitamin C deficiency, low immunity, and constipation.

Edible shoots are usually harvested one to two weeks after planting when they are 5–13 cm tall. They have a peppery taste and smell.

Watercress is grown commercially in England, France and Scandinavia. It is suitable for hydroponic cultivation and thrives in slightly alkaline water.

Watercress sprouts in a box
Source: pixabay.com

Why consume watercress?

When eaten raw, watercress is a highly nutritious food that contains high amounts of vitamins C and K and several other important minerals.

Vitamin K, which is soluble in fats, is involved in bone formation, breakdown and absorption of nutrients. It serves as protection against osteoporosis. Vitamin C supports immune health by reducing the risk of infection and disease.

Watercress can promote weight loss because it is low in calories and carbohydrates, which helps you feel full.

The seeds are also excellent. These can improve heart health by increasing your intake of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA.

Nutritional values

Watercress is particularly rich in vitamin C and K. It is low in calories, carbohydrates and contains a number of other vitamins and minerals, which you can see in the table below:

Nutritional values Raw watercress 100 g
Calorie 32 kcal
Proteins 2.6 g
Carbohydrates 5.5 g
Fats 0.7 g
Fiber 1.1 g
Calcium 81 mg
Sodium 14 mg
Potassium 606 mg
Iron 1.3 mg
Vitamin B5 0.242 mg
Vitamin B6 0.247 mg
Vitamin C 69 mg
Vitamin E 0.70 mg
Vitamin K 541.9 mcg

Types of watercress

Now let’s introduce the individual types of watercress.

Garden cress

Latin Lepidium sativum, grows to a height of 15-30 cm and is harvested in spring and autumn.

The leaves of this watercress are deeply cut and resemble parsley in appearance. They have a spicy, horseradish flavor.

You can eat watercress in salads, sandwiches, soups, omelets.

Watercress plant sown in the field
Source: researchgate.net

Mountain cress

Called winter cress, American, in Latin Barbarea verna. It is often used as a flavoring or garnish. It is added to salads or boiled vegetables.

Its leaves are small, dark green, reminiscent of dandelion leaves. This plant grows to a height of 3 to 6 centimeters.

Watercress leaves
Source: gardentags.com


Latin Nasturtium officinale. This is a frost-resistant plant that you can harvest all year round. It grows to a height of 20 to 51 cm. The leaves of this variety are small, lily-shaped.

The leaves and stems are eaten in salads and used in soups, omelets or canapés. The seeds can be made into mustard.

Leaves and flowers of watercress
Source: colplanta.org

Growing watercress

Watercress requires soil rich in organic matter and full sun to thrive. Seeds should be planted 1 to 1.5 cm deep, rows should be spaced 7.5 to 10 cm apart apart.

Watercress care is relatively easy as long as the soil is kept evenly moist. It is necessary to fertilize it regularly with a soluble liquid fertilizer. Use organic mulch, straw, shredded newspaper or grass clippings to protect plants and retain moisture.

Re-sowing every two weeks will ensure a continuous supply of these fresh vegetables. When the shoots reach a length of 5 cm you can harvest them.

Watercress processing

Watercress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its spicy taste. Next, in butter, mashed potatoes, with fried chips. In the UK, cut watercress sprouts are commonly used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.

A bowl of chickpea salad garnished with watercress
Source: pixabay.com

How should you store watercress? It will last in a plastic bag in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Place the stems in a container of cold water and cover the tops with a plastic bag.

Before use, wash it under cold running water, cut off the roots with scissors, dry with paper towels or place in a salad spinner. Tired leaves can be revived by rinsing in cold water.

Watercress is cooked similarly to spinach. Simmer it in butter for about 10 minutes, serve as a vegetable. Or serve under roast beef or roast chicken to absorb the juices. And if you want to expand your gastronomic knowledge, read recipes for poultry lovers .

In what other recipes can you include watercress? In sauces, salads, sandwiches, pesto, sushi or soups.

Watercress soup

For this soup, which has a fresh taste, you will need :

  • 85 g of watercress
  • 15 ml of olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small stalk of celery stalks
  • 350 g of potatoes
  • 600 ml of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 150 ml of milk
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • grinded pepper

Procedure :

  1. Peel the onion and potatoes.
  2. Dice the onion, potatoes and celeriac.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion, celery and fry until the onion is golden.
  4. Add the potatoes and pour the broth over everything.
  5. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  6. When the potatoes are soft, stir in the watercress. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Blend the soup, add milk, nutmeg, lemon juice and spices to taste.
  8. Boil everything for a few minutes.
  9. Enjoy your meal!

Watercress products

Castor beans – are rich in protein, carbohydrates and some essential minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. They can be used to prepare healthy drinks, for example with milk.

Haloon – dried seed pods that can be used as a pepper spice.

Watercress oil – cold pressed oil from watercress seeds. It is added to salads as a dressing or to various recipes as a natural flavoring.

Why include watercress in the menu? It is literally loaded with nutrition! It has a high content of vitamin C, K, potassium, calcium and fiber. If you are losing weight, watercress is an ideal food that will make you feel full.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)