Air, light and water are all that cress needs to grow. Read on to discover why this is, and to find out about the health benefits of cress and other interesting facts.
- There are three types of cress: watercress, garden cress and nasturtium.
- Cress is an extremely undemanding plant. It does not need soil and can actually germinate on cotton wool! The cotton wool’s only role is to hold the roots, and because cress doesn’t get very big, it doesn’t need many nutrients; in fact, it gets all the nutrients it needs from water and the rest is done by light via photosynthesis. The cress seeds themselves also contain a small supply of nutrients, and so the plant is pretty much self-sufficient and can grow and flourish under very basic conditions… even without soil!
- When the days turn cold, cress is a great ingredient to add to your meals to help combat flu. It contains high levels of vitamins C, B1, B2 and E, as well as carotene. Many benefits from eating it are claimed, such as that it is a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant and a digestive aid.
- Since garden cress becomes bitter when heated, it is ideally eaten raw. Cress should only be used as a garnish for salads as its wilts when it comes into contact with dressing. In recipes that use watercress, it is always best to use it raw as the leaves lose their flavour when cooked or dried.
- The tiny, peppery leaves are mainly used in salads, cream cheese and egg dishes, and also in fish and meat dishes.
Naturally, cress tastes best in sandwiches or salads when freshly cut. However, if you want to store cut cress for longer, you can do so in the BioFresh compartment for up to 13 days.
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