Seasonal Spotlight: Wild Watercress

Seasonal Spotlight: Wild Watercress

Regina Yunghans
May 17, 2010

Small bunches of this peppery green can be found in the aisles of your local market or grocer's. But did you know you can go straight to the source and find watercress in natural springs and streams, too?

Wild watercress (Nasturtium microphyllum) grows near natural water sources like springs and streams. The little green leaves are a highly nutritious food, with antioxidant properties and rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, calcium, fiber, iron and potassium. If you're interested in locating some to harvest yourself, keep in mind these tips:

  • The time to forage for wild watercress is spring to early summer.
  • Seek out colonies in locations that you know are clean. Avoid places that could be contaminated by industrial or agricultural runoff.
  • Break off below the leaf instead of pulling out by the roots, leaving the watercress to grow again as a future source for others.
  • Wash it well before use.
  • Use your wild finds in a cooked preparation to be perfectly safe.

We're more accustomed to watercress in its raw state in salads and as garnish on meat and the like. So, below are a few cooked watercress ideas we gathered together as incentive to get out and find some wild watercress of our own:

Related: What's the Deal with Watercress?

(Images: Six Burner Sue, Mark's Daily Apple, She's in the Kitchen)

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