Cress, sometimes also known as garden cress is a fast growing edible herb, with many different culinary uses. When it’s consumed raw it’s a high nutrient food with plenty of beneficial vitamins. However, it loses most of its properties when it’s cooked.
It’s commercially grown in Europe with a much smaller production in the US, but it’s gaining popularity now when healthy dinning is much more important than it once was.
It’s mostly added to soups and salads, but it can also be a topic in sandwiches.
- Garden cress produces white or light pink flowers arranged in multi-branched terminal clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
- Garden cress is rarely mixed with other types of plants because it emits strong odor that negatively affects growth of the nearby plants.
- It should be consumed in moderation because it prevents absorption of iodine by thyroid gland and can induce hypothyroidism
Cress Buying Guide
It’s an easy plant to buy because you’re looking for a plant that looks green and fresh and it stays like that only couple of days after it was harvested. If you notice that it’s yellow or looks withered, it means that it’s older than a few days.
Since you only need a small amount of these vegetables, many decide to grow their own in small pots and have them available at all time, somewhere in the kitchen or at least nearby.
Cress Production & Farming in Texas
Herbs such as garden cress can be grown in a variety of ways. They could be grown in pots and kept indoors which means that they could be grown all year round if you have enough light. In some cases, they could be planted in the ground and thus grown the usual way.
Many also use raised beds in which the plants are transplanted after they survive the winter. The care for cress is the same as it would be for flowers. You should choose a sunny and well drained location. The soil preparation and fertilization are also the same as they would be for a home garden.
The main problem to deal with are the pests that will attack the cress during the season. The most common of these are aphids, flea beetles, leafhoppers, mites, thrips, weevils, and wireworms. The less common and more difficult problem may be the diseases attacking the plant directly.
These include: Alternaria, Cercospora, bacterial leaf blight, southern blight, powdery mildew, and aster yellows.
You’ll also need to take care of the garden cress by removing the weeds that will slow down and hinter its growth and take up space around it.
Since it’s the insects that are attacking this plant the most, it’s the insecticides that are used on it and that you should be concerned about. These include chemicals carbaryl, spinosad, bifenthrin and permethrin that may affect the health of an average user.
The cress comes from the Arabian Peninsula and it’s now grown across the world due to how easily it can adapt to any kind of climate and any kind of soil. It’s grown everywhere in the US as well and in most home gardens as well as in a commercial capacity.
There are as much as 200 different species of this plant grown all over the world and they have mostly adapted into individual species to adapt to the climate in which they are now found. It ranges from mountains to subtropical climates.
Cress has a short lifespan which means that it’s rarely packed in bags and sold ready to be used even though that is done sometimes. For the most part, the plant is sold in pots already planted in the ground and left for the consumer to harvest before use. These usually come with simple instructions as to how to take care of the plant and how to harvest it easily (it can mostly be done with a kitchen knife).
Garden cress seeds are the most commonly used part of the plant as a spice. It has a peppery flavor and aroma which makes it a great addition to many dishes. The leafy and green parts of the plant are used in salads and as a garnish to main courses.
The key to using the seeds is to water them and to make them tender and easier to swallow, grind and use in a variety of different ways as the recipes demand you to. That’s done by soaking the seeds in water for about 30 minutes before they are used.
The cress can be eaten as sprouts or added into sandwiches and pastas on their own without adding or changing anything about them.
The cress can last for about five days in a fridge. That’s accomplished by storing it in a plastic bag and keeping it in crisper parts of the fridge drawers. If you want to prolong their life somewhat, place the stem in a glass container with water and cover them, refrigerate the cress until it’s needed.
There are dozens of recipes using the seeds of garden cress. There are also countless others that you can garnish with the plant part of this vegetable. That includes salads, sandwiches, and pastas.
The seeds are prepared by soaking in water in which you’ve added a few lemon drops simply to add the flavor and make them more interesting and exciting. They are also a key ingredient to the traditional Indian dish called Ladoo.
Ladoo is a treat made out of cress after it was soaked and mixed with coconuts and almonds.
They also have many medical uses. The seeds are used as a remedy for minimizing asthma symptoms as well as improves lung function in people suffering from asthma.
The garden cress seeds contain phytochemicals that are similar to estrogen, therefore, consuming them helps to make irregular menstruation more regular.
Garden cress seeds can be chewed, blended or even mixed with honey, which is taken as an expectorant for treating cold, headache, asthma, sore throat and cough.
When Are Cress in Season in Texas?
To find out when Cress are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.