Cress

Cress

Cress
© Denzil Green


There are two types of Cress: Garden Cress, also known as Land Cress, or just "Cress", and Watercress. Garden Cress is a member of the cabbage family and is more popular elsewhere. Watercress is a member of the nasturtium family and is more popular in the UK; see separate entry on Watercress.

Garden Cress has the same pungent nip as Watercress does, with medium to dark green leaves. Garden Cress is easier to grow as it can be grown in soil and doesn't require the constant flow of water that Watercress does. However, if grown in dry soil and very hot weather, its refreshing nip becomes unpleasant and bitter. Most Cress will be ready for harvesting 3 to 4 weeks after planting seed. The more you clip it for use, the more it will grow.

Good in salads, sandwiches and soups.

There are many varieties of Garden Cress: for instance Broadleaf Cress, which is good for salads and Curly Cress whose leaves are shaped like parsley.

Substitutes

Rocket, endive, young spinach leaves, radish sprouts, Watercress

History Notes

Cress is native to the Middle East. It was being grown in Persia as early as 400 BC. It was brought to North America by European settlers.