Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is one of the most widely consumed wild plants in the world. In the Brassica family, it has a mildly spicy flavor that intensifies throughout the season similar to mustard greens.
If you're new to watercress, make sure to take a look at The Forager's Guide to Watercress first.
Tried and True
Cress makes a great side dish. Here's a few favorites.
Watercress is only one of many plants whose common name includes
"cress". There's upland cress, bittercress, penny cress, and so on. All of these plants are in the same family, but many are bitter and not interchangeable in recipes with the real deal.
As it grows in the water, cress require more caution than plants you harvest from the garden.
Mostly that means not eating the plant raw to avoid liver fluke, and only harvesting from above the waterline from areas you know are clean.
The good news is that, for most purposes, you can make watercress safe to eat by simply cooking it.
Most people think of the plant as a garnish but foragers have access to incredible quantities of the plant. Use it as a cooked green anywhere you'd use spinach.
It's great as a cooked vegetable. One of my favorite things is stir-fried with garlic and ginger.
One of the easiest ways to cook it is simply steamed until tender, with a little butter and salt and the table. As you'll see, there's lots of delicious things you can do with it.
Fave e Cicoria (Fava Bean Purée with Wild Chicory)
Stinging Nettle Pudding
Erbazzone (Italian Wild Greens Pie)
South African Creamed Spinach: Steakhouse Style
Georgian Walnut Spread / Phkali
Raw Porcini Salad with Greens and Parmesan
Grouse Scaloppini with Bacon Vinaigrette
Hedgehog Mushroom Soup with Beans, Watercress and Tomato
Watercress Soup With Carrots and Ramp Leaves
Glazed Carrots with Watercress
Watercress Green Omelette
Spring Sochan and Watercress with Venison Ham
Breaded Breast of Lamb Recipe with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Watercress: Harvesting, Cooking and Recipes