Watercress

Watercress is a plant that grows on water and it can be found in various parts of the globe ranging from Europe to several parts of Asia. One of the first leafy plants consumed by man, it is closely related to cabbage, and mustard all of which have a flavor akin to pepper. Watercress recipes and watercress dishes are becoming increasingly popular as this plant has been found to have cancer inhibiting properties.

Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (Nasturtium officinale)

History of Watercress

Watercress has been used since ancient times and is even mentioned by Hippocrates, who is said to have founded a hospital next to stream with this plant, so that he could use it to treat his patients.  This plant was often considered to be a poor man’s food during the Victorian period as it could be eaten plain. During this period those with money often ate it for breakfast in a sandwich by placing it between slices of bread.

Culinary Uses of Watercress

Watercress can be used in a variety of watercress dishes such quiches and curries. It can be included in sauces and yogurt as it blends well them and lends its unique flavor to all these food.  This plant can also be eaten raw so it is often included as a garnish on meat or used in salads.

watercress & baby tomatoes

Popular Watercress Recipes

Watercress is featured in many a recipe, some popular watercress recipes include a quiche which is made by combining it with artichoke.  When it is cooked along with meat and fish like halibut with lemon oil it either fried or sautéed and placed on the side. This plant tastes great when it is combined with egg and can be used to create a tasty omelet.

Watercress is also often used to flavor beef and one among the many beef and watercress recipes is beef carpaccio, where it is used along with capers to provide added flavor. Among other popular watercress dishes is one featuring milk braised pork tenderloin served along with watercress and strawberries.

Sunday Lunch

Preferred Methods for Cooking Watercress Dishes

Watercress when used in various watercress dishes or watercress recipes can be deep fried, sautéed, poached, used as a raw garnish or baked.  This plant is versatile as it easily cooked and can be digested even when it is raw. Among these dishes, readymade pesto and watercress soup are very often available in supermarkets.

Nutritive Value of Watercress

Watercress is renowned for its nutritive value, and records show it being praised since the time of the Roman Empire when it was eaten by soldiers. Recently the nutritive value of this plant has been backed by studies, which have shown that it can suppress the breast cancer gene, and therefore delay the development of breast cancer.  Watercress recipes are also known to aid digestion, and help build the immune system.  When compared to broccoli and apple this plant provides a better source of vitamins such as B1 and B6. In addition to this, watercress dishes are a good source of iron, calcium and folic acid which are very often lacking in pregnant women.

Watercress , Smoked Mackerel and Celeriac Salad

Tips to Follow when Buying Watercress

Watercress is best when fresh. Several supermarkets and grocers stock it in pre-packed form or as a fresh bunch.

Image sources:
Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/5002421537/
Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/eannieb/5041406348/
Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/alui0000/3959822282/
Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckayork/5546464026/

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