We buy our fresh watercress from a local farmer in Wiltshire all year round. It is so-called as it grows in water and belongs to the cress family. The Latin name Nasturtium comes from the Latin nasus tortus, meaning ‘convulsed nose,’ due to its strong aroma.
Watercress belongs to the mustard family and although of Eurasian origin, it is now grown over the world. It is cultivated in England where the leaves can grow up to 7 inches across, much bigger than that of wild watercress. It contains volatile mustard oil, which gives the characteristic burning taste on the tongue. It is used to add a peppery flavour to salads and has many therapeutic properties.
The Victorians used to eat it for its vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and iron. It has been used in folk medicine for years to purify the body and soothe irritated skin, infections and other dry skin conditions.