My first memories of watercress are at my grandma’s house. I was spending the evening with her after elementary school and she gave me a sandwich with a stringy, small-leaf herb packed between the sandwich meat and bread. I didn’t know my herbs back then and thought she had packed it full of sprouts. It was quite a shock when I took a hefty bite full of fresh watercress and its vibrant flavor filled my mouth.
(Photo: “Watercress” by HealthAliciousNess)
Watercress is an excellent herb you can use in salads (watercress salad), salad dressings, herb butters, soups, hamburgers, sandwiches, brussels spreads, etc. I’m not quite sure how to explain the flavor, it’s a little different than other herbs, but I’d say it has a zippy, peppery, fresh, maybe pungent taste (as if that description helps). Additional from a unique flavor, it’s also high in vitamins and minerals and is often recognized as a super food.
When you prepare watercress, thoroughly rinse it in cold water and then cut off the stems. once the stems are cut off, you can chop the rest of it up and mix it in with your spreads or add it to your soups. If you’re using it fresh in sandwiches or salads, consider adding it to the dish without cutting it up. Also, if you want the original flavor, you can eat it fresh; cooking the watercress diminishes the flavor substantially and also eliminates some if it’s health benefits.
As a word of caution, if you’re new to watercress, I’d recommend taking it in easy doses first, or you might find the flavor overwhelming.