Did you know that watercress (nasturtium officinale), gram for gram, contains more vitamin C than oranges? Watercress also has more iron than spinach and more calcium than whole milk. Not only is it really good for you but its delicious too.
How many of us have pushed this garnish to the side of the plate without realising how beneficial it is to health? Just one serving (3oz or 80g) provides your daily recommended requirement of provitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Watercress also has very high levels of other cartenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin and the flavanol quercetin.
Research suggests that watercress may lower the development of lung cancer due to the prescence of gluconasturtiin (which gives watercress its peppery taste) which breaks down in the human body to form phenethyl isothiocyanate. Click here to view our Healthy Eating Guide for more nutritional information.
Why not grow your own watercress? Although usually grown commercially, you can grow watercress at home provided the soil is given plenty of water. Watercress will crop from early summer until around Christmas if protected with cloches. Watercress can also be grown in a container placed in a saucer of water. For more details on how to grow watercress click here.
A quick, tasty and easy to make salad at any time of the year.
4 Oranges, peeled and divided into segments
Good handful of watercress
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To make the salad dressing, mix the olive oil, honey, mustard, white wine vinegar and season to taste. Finely grate the zest of one orange into your salad dressing and stir. In your salad bowl add the watercress and toss the watercress . Scatter the orange segments amongst the salad.
Freshly picked peas and watercress from the garden make a perfect early summer peppery combination.Although this recipe can be adapted all year round using frozen peas and supermarket watercress.
Enough olive oil to fry the onion and garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic, crushed
1 medium sized potato peeled and cubed
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
300g peas, (frozen if out of season)
1 large bunch watercress
A few mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion until soft, then add the garlic and gently fry for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped potato peeled and cubed and the stock. Simmer until the potatoes are soft. Add seasoning and then add the peas, watercress and mint. Remove from heat then either blend with a stick blender or blend in a food processor. Serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche. If you make too much simply freeze for another day.
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