Did you know that watercress is highly rich in nutrition yet low in calories? Have you tried its sharp zingy taste?
Watercress is grown in various regions around the world as a medicinal herb or a water vegetable. However, they are considered as a weed in some parts of the world. Nonetheless, recent scientific discoveries have been able to prove their potential health benefits.
This article will walk you through the various benefits of this microgreen and a method to harvest it.
What Are Watercress Microgreens?
Watercress is an edible aquatic plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is also naturalized in places like southern Canada and the USA.
All the parts of these plants are edible. This includes the fruit, roots, and flowers. However, the roots have an unpleasant flavor, and hence, they are often discarded.
This species of plant is botanically named Nasturtium officinale and belongs to the family Brassicaceae. This includes greens like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, arugula, kale, mustard, and turnip. Similar to the other greens, watercress also has a zingy, peppery, and spicy flavor.
Watercress forms thick colonies and roots loosely from the stems. The leaves are mid-green in color and oval in shape.
The texture of the leaves appears soft, while the stems are pale and appear crisp. These pinnately structured plants also produce tiny beautiful white and green flowers.
Benefits And Nutrition Of Cress Microgreens
Watercress, like most microgreens, is high in terms of nutrient density. It can prove to be significantly beneficial to your health if you consume them habitually.
Also, watercress is ranked number one with a nutrient score of 100 by the CDC in powerhouse fruits and vegetables. These are a list of food that is strongly linked with decreased chronic diseases risk.
1. It Is Rich In Vitamin K
Watercress microgreens are known for their high vitamin K content and vitamin C. These greens can improve body metabolism and regulate calcium levels in the blood. They also contain other vitamins such a vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
2. High Mineral Content
Watercress is as rich in mineral content as it is in vitamins. It includes magnesium, potassium, copper, sodium, and phosphorus. They can be beneficial in fighting depression, regulating fluid balance, and blood regulation.
3. High Antioxidant Content
Watercress leaves contain a high level of antioxidants that can aid in fighting chronic diseases. This includes diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and various types of cancer. Antioxidants can fight against damages in the tissues caused by harmful molecules that enter your body.
4. Fitness Benefits
Watercress can be beneficial in cases of weight management since it contains low calories and high nutrients. The nitrate content in these microgreens can enhance your exercise performance. These nutrients can improve your athletic performance by enhancing stamina.
How To Grow Watercress Microgreens Non-GMO Method
You can buy non-GMO watercress seeds from any store that sells them. These cress seeds look like chia seeds. They are small and viscid.
It is not necessary to pre-soak these non-GMO seeds. However, they should be moist while planting. You do not need a field for this purpose. You can plant it in a planter or a tray filled with soil.
You will have to water them twice a day. The germination period for this plant is only about two days. After the germination, you can see the results as tiny leaves in about five to ten days.
How To Harvest Them?
These are soil or hydroponic plants that will take less than two weeks before they are mature enough to harvest them. This herb can be harvested within ten to twelve days after planting the seeds.
The first set of leaves are cotyledons that are supposed to be untouched. Whereas, when the full leaves grow, you can cut them with a pair of sharp scissors.
You have to ensure you do not pull the plant off the soil since it will disturb the roots.
What To Use It For?
Watercress microgreens are best if it is eaten raw or lightly steamed. It can be used in many types of dishes.
It can be a delicious addition to your salads, sandwiches, or your soup. Here are some versatile ways to add flavor to your meals with watercress microgreens.
Cress Microgreens- Culinary Tips
- You can replace lettuce with watercress microgreens, sometimes in your salads or sandwiches.
- You can mix this herb in your soup dish when it is boiling to give it a tangy taste.
- Watercress microgreens can add a zingy flavor to your morning eggs.
- The leaves can be used to add an extra flavor to your dishes if you use them as a garnish.
- You can also make a watercress sauce by mixing it with olive oil and garlic.
You can store microgreens in an enclosed resealable bag or a container in a cool and dry place.
You can store them in a damp microfiber cloth or a simple paper towel if plastic resealable bags are unavailable. This will ensure the microgreens do not dry or wilt out. The dampness will also help in locking the nutrition.
How long can you store them?
If you buy the sprouts from a seller, they can be stored in your refrigerator for about ten to twelve days. However, if you grow them on your own and harvest them, they can be stored for two weeks.
People are increasingly realizing the benefits of the rich nutrients in watercress. Watercress can be a flavorsome addition to your meals that can be an alternative for mustard greens, spinach, or lettuce.
So, go ahead and add this herb to your dietary wishlist!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.