Watercress is a member of the Brassicaceae botanical family. This botanical family consists of many nutritious vegetables including cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi to name a few.
Watercress is an aquatic flowering plant that grows rapidly and can be found growing near water throughout much of the U.S.
Though watercress can be harvested from the wild, it is advised to purchase watercress from a trusted source. Wild harvested watercress runs the risk of being contaminated with parasites if the water source is not pure.
Raw watercress has a peppery taste which diminishes once cooked.
Purchasing, Selecting, Storing, and Preparing
- Purchase watercress with crisp, dark green leaves.
- Avoid or remove wilted or yellowing leaves from the bunch.
- Store watercress by placing the stems in a jar full of water, loosely cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate. Or, store watercress with a wet paper towel wrapped around the stems then placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Watercress has a short shelf life, so use within 1-2 days.
- Prepare watercress by rinsing thoroughly and removing the thick stems. Dry in a salad spinner.
- Use watercress raw in salads, smoothies and as a topping for sandwiches. Cook watercress in soups, stir fries, casseroles, sauces, or as a pizza topping.
Watercress is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A:
- Vitamin K supports strong bones and blood clotting.
- Vitamin C assists with immune function, wound healing and formation of collagen and connective tissue.
- Vitamin A aids in growth and development, immune function, reproduction and vision.
Watercress, 1 cup, raw
- Calories: 3.74
- Protein: 0.78 g
- Fat: 0.03 g
- Carbohydrate: 0.43 g
- Fiber: 0.17 g
- Calcium: 40.8 mg
- <Iron: 0.06 mg
- Magnesium: 7.14 mg
- Phosphorus: 20.4 mg
- Folate: 3.06 µg
- Vitamin A: 54.4 µg
Watercress, 1/2 cup, cooked
- Calories: 25.55
- Protein: 1.7 g
- Fat: 2.01 g
- Carbohydrate: 0.96 g
- Fiber: 0.35 g
- Calcium: 89 mg
- Iron: 0.14 mg
- Magnesium: 15.6 mg
- Phosphorus: 44.75 mg
- Folate: 4.97 µg
- Vitamin A: 120.5 µg