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garden Gleanings - First watercress of the year

Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 12:56 PM

Actually I could have had watercress much sooner, but it all fell into place today, so I got to enjoy a great egg salad and watercress sandwich for lunch. Deb's mother loves it in soup and all the articles you read out there says watercress is VERY nutritious.

Watercress grows wild down in our little valley, but that is about 400 yards away and down at least 75 feet so getting a handful for a sandwich is not an everyday thing.

We transplanted some up by the house where we have a small goldfish pond. We built the pond to have two waterfalls in what appears to be a natural stream and it is here that we planted the watercress, since it likes running water.

It has done well, and if anyone would like some transplants, I will carry them to the garden meeting this Friday at the Hong Kong restaurant in Shelbyville. They will need to go into fresh water as soon as you get home. Let me know by Thursday night.

If you are not ready for them, but still would like to get some, no problem. They get leggy and flower later in this spring so if we miss them now, maybe again in late fall.


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Many may not know what it looks like, but it likes to be in clear running water. Many of our streams are slow moving and muddy, so only small patches of watercress. It also bolts (quickly goes to flower) in our warmth, and turn woody and bitter quickly, so another reason it ay not be grown commercially here.

I have not checked on the wild patch since last summer's drought, but that would be interesting to see what has happened. When I get a chance, I will and let you know.

I have a recipe for Chinese Winter Melon or Fuzzy Melon soup I got from Hong Kong restaurant if anyone is interested. I grow those melons in my garden each year, so I thought it would be appropriate to use it.

We chow some (stir fry) but basically give it away most of the time.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 13, 2008, at 8:15 AM

Seriously I had no idea watercrest grew around here at all. I looked in a ton of grocery stores around here and never saw it for sale. In Wash DC, it is in all the stores and it was one of my favorite things to eat.

I guess because it grows wild you can get it for free.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 10:44 PM

We need a recipe blogger on it. Now that would be fun, I love to try out new recipes

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 7:59 PM

Try this, pumpernickel bread, with cream cheese and watercrest... to die for..

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 7:43 PM

I've had watercress in salads and really liked it - I just googled it to find out a bit how it grows - I always assumed it was like lettuce and grew that way.

-- Posted by cfrich on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 3:52 PM

There is a strain of cress that is similar and apparently grows in soil. I never saw it or tasted it to my knowledge.

This has a mild peppery flavor. If you eat any Japanese sushi, it is like a very tame wasabi.

I will carry some for you on Friday.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 3:12 PM

I just looked up watercress via my friend google, and I didn't realize that it could grow in water. I would love some transplants - if you let me know how to replant them.

Google also told me that our neighbors to the south, Huntsville, used to call themselves "the watercress capital of the world." If they held an annual watercress festival, that would be worth a trip down there.

-- Posted by cfrich on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 1:16 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.