Ingredient Name: Watercress

Traditional Chinese Name: 西洋菜 (xīyáng cài)
A very popular vegetable used to remove excess heatiness in the body.  It’s a versitile plant with uses in a variety of cultures.  The one thing that I hate about this plant is the high level of bugs you can find in them.  When boiled in soup, the bugs usually float to the top of the soup – which makes it easy for extraction, but even then, as a kid, it was the grossest thing to see in your soup.  As a mother now, I just wave it off and think “more nutrients” but caution prevails because many of the bugs are actually parasites.

What is this?

  • A fast-growing aquatic plant that is part of the cabbage family
  • It can be eaten cooked or raw and is often found in salads, sandwiches and soups
  • The plant is cultivated before flower buds appear or else the leaves become too rank in flavour for consumption
  • Watercress is not normally found in dried form and therefore can only be stored for a short period of time – ideally, it is consumed fresh
  • This plant is available all year round

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash in cold salted water at least twice to remove potential pesticides and parasites

Where can I buy this?

  • You are able to purchase fresh watercress from most supermarkets
  • It is a highly perishable food and needs to be consumed within a few days of purchase

What is the cost?

  • Watercress is very affordable and costs around $1.00 – $2.00 per bundle

Any benefits?

  • Watercress is high in iron, calcium, folic acid, and Vitamins A & C
  • When boiled in soup, it assists in removing heatiness and relieves coughs
  • Western studies have found that watercress may reduce the risk of cancer

Any precautions?

  • Watercress tends to grow in areas of high animal waste and is good breeding grounds for parasites and bacteria, therefore it is highly recommended to thoroughly wash watercress before consumption
  • Be sure to add watercress to BOILING water, else it will make the watercress bitter
  • Flowering watercress is also bitter, so buy young and flowerless watercress to reduce the chance of bitterness in the soup