Watercress belongs to the mustard
family and is an aquatic salad green
that is also considered an herb
. It has a pleasantly strong bite and pairs well with lighter flavorings, especially in sauces. While originating in Asia and Europe
“cress” is found growing wild in clear waters throughout many
countries. Commercially grown plants are harvested from protected beds
that are free of contaminants.
While it is often used fresh and as a garnish, watercress can be pureed (à la cressionnière) with potatoes or chickpeas. Watercress sandwiches are a long-standing staple at teatime.
Watercress is among several varieties in the “cress” family, along
with garden cress, bittercress, upland cress, and Indian-cress. It is
considered the mildest species.
Watercress is typically sold in bunches, but smaller markets may
stock it loose in bins. Look for firm stalks and large, dark leaves
that are relatively clean.
Keep moist in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Do not wash. Watercress
will remain fresh for up to five days. For freezing, wash and chop or
• Just before using, dip in cold water to remove grit.
• Blanch, drain, and blend with a favorite salad oil or dressing.
• Remove the lower portion of the stalk, which can be tough. Upper bracts are edible.
• Use in combination with lettuce on sandwiches.
• Crush or coarsely process and add to rice dishes.
• Parsley (less flavor), mustard greens, cilantro.
Try one of our favorite watercress recipes:
Carrot and Watercress Terrine