Saturday, 18 October 2008

Mustard and Cress - Child's Play

Mustard and Cress - Child's PlayThe first thing I ever grew indoors was mustard and cress. It was a school project that had to be carried out at home and i remember it was an exciting moment when the first seeds sprouted. If I remember rightly all I used was a damp bathroom flannel and a saucer. The greatest moment was the harvest and putting the produce into a sandwich, I'd been hooked on home growing herbs indoors every since.

Cress has properties that and stimulate the metabolism and kidney activity. It can also strengthen the stomach and gallbladder systems. It is widely believed in many medical circles that cress has a curative effect on joint disorders and gout. Alongside this, cress is also an important source of calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamins C and E. All necessary as part of your daily requirments for a healthy diet.

Mustard and cress are often grown together and are perfect providing a spicy vibrant green garnish a salad addition of used in sandwiches like my first ecperience. The beauty is mustard adn cress are are available all year round if growm indoors and only require the minimum of space on a windowsill.

Mustard and Cress - Child's PlayThe mustard seedlings germinate around 2-4 days before the cress and this should be takeninto account when starting them off. You can get mustard and cress in little plastic container to grow on at home nowadays but they are usually overpriced compared with your own homegorwn results and the cost of the seeds fo this is nominal if purchased through mail order companies.

Thousands of years has seen cress being grown orinially coming from Persia. The is a folklore that Persians before baking bread they always has eat cress before the work begun.

Mustard and cress go very well with avocado or cucumber. The mustard was added to the cress as cress on its own just didn't work as a salad but the mustard spiced up the flavour.

Although Mustard and cress grows best in sunlight so next to a window is and ideal position to get the best results.

Here is a guide to growing them:
  • Fold a few sheets of kitchen tissue to a suitable size to over a shallow dinner plate or tray and place it down flat.
  • Slowly pour some water onto the kitchen tissue until there's enough water is totally soaked in. There shouldn't be any standing water.
  • Sprinkle on some cress seeds over damp tissue covering the whole area and place the tray or plate here it will get the most sunlight.
  • After ensuring the tissue keeps damp by added more water when need on a daily basis you should sprinkle on some mustard seeds in the same way as the cress.
  • After around two weeks the mustard and cress should be fully grown and around 5 cm tall and ready to eat. The best method for harvesting is to use a pair of sharp scissors.
  • Once gathered, rinse the cress under a cold water shake off the excess water and use of store an air-tight container. You will find that the mustard and cress will deteriate after a day or so so harvest when it is needed, it is better than storing.

Again, get the children involved in this as I was at a young age. They can use fun things to grow them in such as cotton wool sztuffed egg shells stuffed with faces painted on, they will sit happily in an egg cup on a windowsill. What an adventure for the children watching the hair grow, giving the egg face a haircut and eating the hair!


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