Spring Foraging – Watercress

by admin on April 14, 2014

watercress

Spring-fed watercress in mid-summer

Early springtime is a great time to forage for wild food.  One of our favorite foods to gather is watercress, because it is so healthy and culinary!  We are fortunate to have watercress growing at our natural spring, so when it is in season, we always gather some along with the water.  Oftentimes, watercress has been brought in from Europe long ago and planted in the runoff of springs.  It is a great cruciferous vegetable and because it is fed by a natural spring, it makes it all the better.  Watercress and brassica in general are great to help cleanse the body of BPA, which are chemicals in plastic that our body absorb.  BPA are estrogenic endocrine-disruptors, and have been linked to many diseases including breast cancer.  Try to gather local foods whenever possible, because local plants have to process the same local toxins that you are exposed to.  This means that the compounds that the plants have produced to deal with these toxins will help you deal with those toxins as well.

When the watercress is in season, we always eat a bit straight from the stream when we collect our spring water.  It has a

Watercress

Early spring watercress

culinary, peppery flavor.  Also, we will gather a substantial amount when it is in peak season to last throughout the year.  Fresh watercress can be used in salads.  Dried watercress can be used in teas.   And if you are really serious, you can make an extract out of it.  Be sure to pinch off the watercress at their stems and keep the roots intact in the water, so that they will regrow and keep producing more for next time!

 

Watercress extraction

Watercress extraction

Last year, we were ambitious and made a big extraction of our gathered watercress.  We started with about 20 pounds of wet watercress.  We then ran it all through a masticating juicer.  We then took this juicy extraction and simmered it down under low heat.   We then scraped it onto a pan and dehydrated in the oven.  Finally, we took this and ground it down with a coffee grinder.  By juicing it, we hoped to capture more of the fat-soluble nutrients than through just a basic water extraction.  What we ended up with was about a half pound of watercress extraction.  It was a lot of work, but it was a very high quality extraction and a very satisfying process to do it ourselves!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment