Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum)
Garden Cress has a delicious peppery flavour and aroma. This herb is commonly added to salads, sandwiches and soups to give them an extra freshness and peppery taste.
It is also considered a power food as it has a lot of nutritional benefits. These include vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E as well as other goodness.
You can buy this herb fresh in most super markets. It does not have a long shelf life and therefore needs to be consumed with in 1-2 days of purchase.
However it is also a very easy herb to grow. It can be grown outside depending on your climate and time of year, but it also grows just as well in the house. It is very simple to grow and will provide you with a tasty crop every time.
Boosts immunity system- Because cress is packed full of vitamins and minerals, consumption of the leaves, stems and seeds help to give the immune system a boost.
Anti diabetic- Cress is effective in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure which great for helping controlling diabetes.
Anti-inflammatory- This herb is rich in vitamin A, which is effective in fighting free radicals that can cause damage to cells and tissue in the body. The vitamin A content helps prevent the cells becoming over active and limiting the damage.
Vitamins- A, C, E, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, Folate, Choline.
Minerals- Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium.
You do not need any special equipment to grow them. I have always used a small tray and kitchen towel. Fold the towel to fit onto the tray making sure its around 3-4 layers thick. Then soak the kitchen towel in water making sure it is nice and wet. All that is needed then is to sprinkle your Cress seeds onto the kitchen towel and place onto a warm sunny window ledge.
It usually takes around 2-3 days for the shoots to appear. Do not forget to keep the kitchen towel nice and damp through the whole process, either lightly watering or using a light spray bottle. After about 2 weeks or when the cress is about 2 inches high, it is ready to be cut and eaten.
So what to do with all that lovely cress?
For me, making a lovely fresh salad and using the cress as a peppery condiment is delicious. It makes a fantastic garnish that tastes great.
But I think my favourite is to make a tasty egg mayonnaise with cress sandwich with some fresh Sesame Au Levain bread, or any bread of your choice.
Egg mayonnaise with cress sandwich
Serves 2-3 people.
1 x loaf of fresh bread of your choice.
3 x large free range eggs.
3 x tablespoons good quality mayonnaise.
1 large handful of cress.
A good grind of black pepper to taste
Add sea salt to taste
Half fill a medium to large pan with water adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar on the heat and bring to the boil. Add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes, once cool remove the eggs and place into a bowl of water with ice cubes. Remove, peel and cut them into chunks. Put into a mixing bowl.
Add the mayonnaise and mix and smash the eggs into it to make a rough mixture. Then add the salt and pepper, and mix in the garden cress.
Take a slice of your bread and butter it, then add the egg mixture making sure it is evenly spread over the bread, then add some more cress over it before placing another slice of bread on top.
Cut in half and serve.