FR: Cresson de fontaine GER: Brunnenkresse IT: Crescione d’acqua SP: Berro de agua, Crenchas
BOT: Rorippa, nasturtium aquaticum, (Nasturtium officinale)
FAM: Cruciferae ILL: Plate 16, No. 1 watercress is a native of Europe naturalized all over North America. It grows wild in streams, but because of the danger of infection from contaminated water (it was a frequent cause of typhoid in the past), it is today usually grown in specially prepared beds and tanks fed from pure springs or boreholes. Although watercress grows wild in southern Europe, it is far more popular in the north, probably because there is less choice of outdoor salads in winter.
What is Watercress? How to Use Watercress Photo Gallery
The best watercress is dark green, bronzed or almost black, crisp looking and stems not overgrown with rootlets. It cannot, however, be judged only on appearance, and often the less fleshy looking cress has the better flavour. It should not be stored in the refrigerator, but put in cold water with the leaves just showing and kept in a cool larder. When needed, it should be washed quickly and not soaked for hours simply because it grows in water.
Watercress is used as a garnish in salads, with cheese and in sandwiches, but it can also be used to flavour soup, boiled to add flavour to ‘greens’, as a sauce for freshwater fish (made like parsley sauce) and in various chopped herb mixtures, e.g. with potatoes and in herb butters.