Commonly used salad green with small, dark green, oval leaves that have a strong, peppery flavor. Watercress is often used as a garnish, but also makes for an excellent addition to salads. The thick stems should be removed before adding to salads.


Other names: Cress, Water Cress
Translations: Krese, Rėžiukai, Năsturel, Potočarka, Cải xoong, Rukiew wodna, Waterkers, Brønnkarse, Agrião, Кресс водяной, Κάρδαμο, نبات البقلة, 물냉이, Řeřicha, Seladri air, 沃特克雷斯, Berro, Vodna kreša, Žerucha, Crescione, גרגיר הנחלים, Vattenkrasse, Поточарка, クレソン, Cresson, Brunnenkresse, Brøndkarse, Berro, Кресс водяний, Vesikrassi, Крес

Physical Description

Watercress has deep green leaves and crisp, paler stems.

Colors: deep green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: pungent, slightly bitter, peppery
Mouthfeel: Sharp, Pungent, Peppery, Crisp
Food complements: Meats, Vegetables, Cheeses, Game, Eggs, Oranges
Wine complements: Chenin blanc, Reisling
Beverage complements: Carrot juice
Substitutes: Arugula

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Peak: april, may, june, july, august, september
Choosing: Check the leaves for bruising and holes.
Buying: Watercress is readily available at supermarkets.
Procuring: Watercress can be started with seeds indoors then transferred outdoors to stream beds. Watercress is a semi-aquatic plant, perfect for hydrophonic cultivation.

Preparation and Use

Wash and pat dry prior to using watercress. The leaves and the stems are edible, except for the roots.

Cleaning: Wash the leaves and the stems thoroughly.

Conserving and Storing

Watercress only lasts within a couple of days, so it must be eaten immediately.


One of the oldest known leaf vegetables eaten by man. Watercress is considered a super food. It contains essential nutrients and can act as a detoxifier and body cleanser.

History: Watercress was used to treat scurvy. In Ireland, it is called "St. Patrick's Cabbage," and is considered the plant called shamrock. In the 4th century BC, the Green general Xenophon made his soldiers eat watercress, while the Romans used it to prevent baldness.
Watercress is known for its medicinal properties. The Greeks and Romans thought it improved the brain, and later, in medieval Europe, it became an ingredient in a salve for sword wounds. Early settlers brought the plant to America chiefly because of its effectiveness in preventing scurvy, because it is rich in vitamin C. The Indians adopted watercress as a food and also used it to treat liver and kidney problems.



Related Cooking Videos