Over all my winter dreamin‘ I sometimes neglect to appreciate the fact that we live in USDA Hardiness Zone 7b!! What does that mean? It means many crops grow year-round. My kale weathered the recent sub-zero temperatures beautifully, the spinach is looking a little rough but recovering nicely and I just got my hands on some locally grown watercress (exhibit A below).
Water cress (“well cress” in German) is a pretty little plant that grows close to wells and streams and serves both as food and medicine.
Watercress is exceptionally healthy and one of the most nutrient dense foods with high amounts of vitamin A, C and most notably, vitamin K which more than covers our daily recommended value (over 200% in 100g of watercress – impressive!).
Watercress is very effective and powerful preventative medicine and, in my opinion, under-appreciated. This aquatic plant is said to prevent osteoporosis, anemia and cancer – and I’m only scratching the surface of what watercress can do for your health!
To me, watercress tastes hardy. More accurately, though, it’s often described to have a peppery and tangy flavor. I like it best in soups and sauces but if you have some of the younger plants, definitely try a watercress salad!
Or, if you’re feeling lazy and want to indulge just a little, make this creamy dip! It is so incredibly versatile; dip fresh veggie sticks or fries in it, smear it on your burger or sandwich or eat it by the spoonful. Your choice 🙂
One of the main ingredients of this dip is tahini – also a key ingredient in hummus. For a long time, I wasn’t a fan; tahini is a little bitter and has to be balanced out to be enjoyable. As long as you counter with some sweetness, though, you’re golden!
- 1 cup fresh watercress leaves, firmly packed
- ½ cup tahini
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 teaspoon raw honey
- ½ cup kefir or non-dairy, unsweetened yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- pinch of ground black pepper
- Thoroughly rinse the watercress with warm water and drain.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. If the dip is too thick, add a tad more lemon juice or filtered water to adjust the consistency. Serve with crackers, fries or raw veggies - enjoy!