Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Watercress Is Not A Weed

Watercress Is Not A WeedWatercress may look like a weed to most people, but brings back those memories of a crunchy salads with a bit of a peppery bite to it confirming that it is definitely a salad herb. This was something I enjoyed immensely when I was younger, but alas it seems to have gone out of fashion as an outright salad nowadays. I used to gather watercress for the side of small streams where it grew wild, even in the centre of London. The health benefits from this water dwelling herb are far reaching like many other herbs; it's not just the taste and texture that appeals.

Watercress can be cultivated quite easily in your garden. It is well-suited to water that is slightly alkaline which is why it thrives in chalk streams in the south of England. Cress leaves can't be dried and has to be consumed within a short period. Storage life is only 1 - 2 days in refrigerated condition.

Watercress can grow to over one metre in height. The foliage of turns bitter when the plants begin producing flowers. An interesting piece of trivia is that watercress is one of the main ingredients in the mass produced V8 Vegetable Juice and used in many commercially made sandwiches.

This distinctive herb has major benefits when eaten as it contains iron, calcium and folic acid as well as vitamins A and C. It can act as a stimulant an antioxidant, a diuretic, an expectorant and a digestive aid. Treatment for suppressing cancer has also been shown to be positive and specifically helps defend against lung cancer.

Watercress Is Not A WeedStrangely enough many regions consider watercress as a weed as mention earlier and are totally unaware of its potential as a food source. What a shame that education fails in some regions where it grows.

So if you are in a region where watercress grows, give it a try, or try growing it in your garden. It doesn’t take much maintenance grow very quickly and also acts as a great water filter in ponds. As long as you crop and eat it regularly it will be a great addition to the dinner table with health benefits written all over it.

Top Image from Wikipedia
Bottom Image from www.news.bbc.co.uk



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