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
- 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
- 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