What is the difference between watercress, creasy, and dry land cress? Do you have any idea how to prepare watercress for consumption?

Gardens & Landscapes January 07, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF
Watercress is a hardy, perennial, European herb (Nasturtium officinale) that grows naturally in wet soil along and in spring brooks, ditches, and pond margins and is cultivated under such condition for use as a garnish and a piquant salad. It must be harvested before flower buds appear or the leaves become too rank in flavor to be edible. There are many types of cress: garden cress or peppergrass (Lepidium sativum); upland or winter cress (Barbarea vernapraecox); Bitter cress (Cardamine pratensis); Indian cress (another name for nasturtium) or Tropaeolum majus; penny cress or species of Thlaspi; rock cress or species of Arabis; stone cress or genus Aethionema; and wart cress or species of Coronopus. One of these might be also known as creasy and dry land cress. Store the cress in the refrigerator with its stems in water and the leaves loosely covered with a plastic bag. Most Westerners eat watercress raw. In the East it is blanched, the moisture wrung out, and then chopped and tossed with a light sesame oil dressing. People in China often stir-fry it with a little salt, sugar, and wine or use it in soups.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.