Cress, also known as ‘garden cress’ or latin: ‘Lepidium sativum’, is one of the most common sprouting plants available.
Did you know garden cress:
- Can grow nearly everywhere and is therefore the easiest micro vegetable to grow
- Has a low environment load, making it a durable vegetable, especially in winter
- Originates is Asia and can still be found in nature
- Is used in traditional health teachings of India for centuries
- Is consumed by it’s leaves, as opposed to sprouting seeds where the roots are also eaten.
- Comes in various varieties (cultivars):
Curly garden cress
More varieties can be found in specialized cuisine niches.
The plant contains many vitamins (especially A and C) and minerals (iron, calcium) and is therefore very easy to embed in a healthy lifestyle. With a bag of cress seeds you can eat it for weeks on end when gradually sowing and harvesting. In ancient times, the leaves have said to be used in Indian medicine as anti-inflammatory drugs for the care of wounds and respiratory diseases. For more info on these potential health benefits see this study: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/596524/
Growing garden cress
It is very easy to grow cress itself. It is also ideal for those who still have little experience with sowing and harvesting plants. The seeds germinate on almost anything that can hold a little moisture. Think of kitchen paper, earth, empty egg shells, empty egg cartons, plastic trays, germ bowls, sprouting towers.
The plant has little needs to grow and therefore has a low CO2 output. This is certainly true when you grow it yourself in winter because other vegetables will have a much higher environmental load. This is caused by the added effort that is needed with getting fresh vegetables in winter, thus saving on energy and transportation costs.
Even tough cress grows very quickly, is it possible to harvest seeds yourself? If you let it grow in summer, and do not cut it, eventually flowers will start to appear. After a few months you can collect seeds from these flowers.
Buying cress seeds
Cress seeds are readily available and are usually very cheap. You can find a pack for under 1$.
If you don’t want to wait check out if your local grocery has them fully grown available.