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Seasonal Cooking with Watercress

July heralds salad season with a trumpet fanfare of flavour explosions and there is nothing quite as tangy on the tongue as fresh British watercress! Both Watercress and Rocket (or Arugula) are members of the cabbage or Cruciferae family. Their sharp, heady flavour comes from the mustard oils in their leaves, which sometimes can have an almost ‘hot’ flavour - excellent in cooking!

Image Credit: Rob Wicks

Wild watercress grows in streams in Britain, but it’s not advised to harvest it, because of liver flukes from sheep and cattle. The wild relatives of watercress include Hairy Bittercress and Bittercress that look like miniature watercress but grow all year in everybody’s gardens and supply tangy salad goodies rather like Mustard and Cress.

Tips

I love cooking with watercress, it is delicious, nutritious and distinctive in both hot and cold dishes and it is at the peak of its season this month - so grab some while you can! Try it in soups, salad, sauces and smoothies. Its taste goes particularly well with soft cheeses and feta. I prefer bunches of watercress, that have been grown in pure cool flowing water in Wiltshire, rather than vacuum packed, chlorine flushed packs of watercress in the supermarkets. Make sure you choose the crispest, greenest bunch and use it quickly before it loses its glorious vibrancy and turns yellow and limp.

Favourite Watercress Recipes

Image Credit: Rob Wicks

For more seasonal cooking inspiration check out our upcoming courses!

Have you got a favourite way for cooking with watercress? Comment here or share your watercress recipes with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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