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Try some recipes using watercress.


Hampshire is known for the production of watercress. Budding entrepreneur, Darcy Fitzwilliam, is eager to use local ingredients in her gelato so she eagerly searches out possible recipes.


Turns out that watercress has a very interesting history. Popularly known as “poor man’s bread” in Victorian England, one source claimed it was introduced into England in 1808. However, John Gerard, who published his herbal in 1636, had already lauded it as a remedy for scurvy and Captain Cook was thought to use it as part of the diet for his sailors during his voyages.


Here are some other interesting facts about watercress:

  • Watercress is believed by many to be an aphrodisiac. In Crete, islanders swear by its powers and ancient recipes are handed down from one generation to the next.

  • Lewis and Clark regularly found watercress on their trek across the Louisiana Purchase.

  • Eating a bag of watercress is said to be a good cure for a hangover.

  • The U.S. Army planted watercress in the gardens of forts along the western trails, as food for their soldiers.

  • According to British vegetarian writer Colin Spencer, the Romans treated insanity with vinegar and watercress.

  • Roman emperors ate watercress to help them make “bold decisions”.

  • The Persian King Xerxes ordered his soldiers to eat watercress to keep them healthy during their long marches. It was also used by soldiers to both prevent and cure scurvy.

  • Watercress is a member of the mustard family and is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece. It remains an integral part of Mediterranean diets.

  • One of Britain’s best-known dishes, watercress soup, became very popular in the 17th century when it was claimed that it cleansed the blood.

Hearty Watercress Soup

  • 25g (1oz) butter

  • 1 onion, peeled

  • 2 stalks of celery, peeled

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 litre (approx. 2 pints) of light chicken or vegetable stock

  • 2 large bunches of watercress

  • salt and pepper

  • 2-3 tablespoons of double cream (optional)

How to Make Hearty Watercress Soup

Wash the watercress, pick and reserve the leaves, and chop the stalks.

Chop the onion and celery and soften in the butter over a low heat with the watercress stalks.

Add the diced potatoes, stock or water and a little salt.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender. This can take 15-20 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat, add the watercress leaves and blend until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper, stir in the cream (if using) and serve immediately.

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