This peppery salad leaf is grown in mineral-rich water, hence its name. The peppery flavour comes from mustard oils in the plant that are released when chewed. Read our article on why watercress a great superfood.
All year. British watercress comes into season from May to October.
Buy fresh perky leaves, avoiding any that are wilted or yellowing.
Both the stalks and leaves of watercress can be eaten, though you may prefer to remove the larger, tougher stalks. Wash gently in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. The pepperiness of watercress livens up any salad recipe, but it can also be pureed to make soups or add to mayonnaise, and it can also be juiced.
Keep watercress in a paper bag in the fridge for 2–3 days. Alternatively, place the stalks in a glass of water, cover the heads with a plastic bag and store in the fridge to help keep them fresh for 3-4 days.