Tuesday, 22 October 2013 21:35

Oh the fun of growing garden cress

Garden cress, also called pepper grass or curled cress, is a fast growing edible herb that you can easily grow at home. It adds a wonderful peppery-radishy twist to soups salads and sandwiches.

Childhood memories of picking cress in creeks

There are also other kinds of cress and I have wonderful childhood memories of water cress picked from the little creek near our house. Even though those times - of childhood and those when cress was growing there - are long gone, I still clearly remember the bright orange of the plastic bowl used for collecting it. The pride when me and my sister would come back to the kitchen with our harvest, the way it looked in mother’s potato salad, the spicy flavor that we so respected through our young taste buds….

It seems back then cress grew readily. We also collected it during our summer holidays at my grandmother’s house. There is was more of a competition though on who could find more among the many cousins who were dropped of at grandma’s for the summer.

Rediscovering cress

And even though those summer holidays are now long gone I was recently reminded of them when I saw a packet of garden cress at the local health food store. The leaves would be much smaller than that of water cress but cress none the less. Sprouting them on your kitchen counter is not quite the same as taking off your shoes to wade in a cold stream to get to them, but watching them grow over several days also has something fascinating.

Have a look at a garden cress time lapse here to see what to expect 

How to grow garden cress

All you need is a plate or dish covered in several layers of paper towel soaked in water and a few spoonfuls of cress seeds. I’ll take 6 - 8 days to have your sprouts fully grown to about 5 cm. Here some great step-by-step instructions with pictures.

How to use garden cress

Garden cress tastes great with anything needing ‘a little kick’ - sandwiches, salads – especially potato or pastas salads or milder flavored lettuces… It also looks lovely as a garnish on soups and adds ‘a little something’. Obviously you can decorate pretty much any dish with them. Once you start growing it, you’ll never want to run out of garden cress again.

For an insightful and pretty glimpse into the world of micro greens, see Microgreens: A Guide to Nutrient-Packed Greens

Photos: Grant Cochrane, freedigitalphotos.net,  Amazon.com

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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