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Cress is probably the easiest plant to grow and is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into gardening but is a little scared. It is great in particular for introducing children to gardening - a skill I think is so important to teach children from a young age. Children can easily do all the steps required to plant and successfully grow cress and can actually enjoy the cress they grow by eating it themselves (what better way!).
Cress can easily be grown by pouring the seeds on to a piece of moist paper towel or other similar material. You can get more creative with this by putting the moist paper towel inside another object such as an egg or another small hollowed out object and the cress will grow within this. The results are fast so it is great for inpatient children (or adults!) who want to see quick results from their work.
Once the cress has grown, it can be used in a number of dishes. It has quite a peppery taste so it goes well with a number of dishes such as soups and salads. My personal favourite is to add it to an egg mayonnaise sandwich. The little peppery crunch really makes the sandwich so much more enjoyable in my eyes and is a firm favourite in our household.
I would definitely recommend buying some cress seeds for yourself or for any children in the family - so easy to plant, quick to grow and versatile to use in cooking.
Cress is an absolute must to get any child interested in gardening, growing veg and being healthy. I remember being a little kid and growing cress at school. All you need is a bit of kitchen roll, cress seeds and water. It is super cheap and super easy. Literally all you do is poor some seeds on your damp kitchen roll and within a week your cress will grow. Of course monitor your cress and keep the kitchen roll moist. If you find this method a little tame and boring of course you can progress in to egg heads :)
After eating a delicious boild egg keep the egg shell with just the top bit missing. Put some kitchen roll inside, your seeds on top and then water. Draw a cool face on your egg and the cress will grow as the hair - there you have it cress egg heads!
As fun as cress is to grow I am not a super cress fan. During my time at university I worked part time in a bakery. This particular bakery wanted cress in pretty much all sandwiches and baguettes we sold. The cress ended up everywhere. Cress is small and wriggly making it really annoying and tricky to clean up in this environment. This is the reason for me only giving cress 3 DooYoo hearts. If I had not been required to try and pick up cress every Saturday and Sunday for three years it would have been higher as cress is fun, healthy and as the bakery I worked in thought it pretty much goes with everything!
My first growing experience of cress was when I was about 6 and my Grandad got some empty yoghurts pots, filled them with damp toilet paper and sprinkled some cress seeds onto them, he covered them with a bit of card and told me that when I came back to visit I would be able to eat them on my toast with egg and sure enough 2 weeks later we sat down to egg and cress on toast.
I grow cress all year round in the same way now on my windowsill with my two year old, who has yet to develop a love of egg and cress sandwiches (I'm sure it will not be too long before he does though). I find growing cress much easier on damp toilet roll or cotton wool, as opposed to soil as it less messy. I sometimes add it too salads for a peppery boost, but I have to say as adventurous a cook that I am I only tend to use it with egg and a tiny dollop of mayo.
Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a rather fast-growing, edible herb that is genetically related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as mustard and cress, garden pepper cress, pepper grass, pepperwort or poor person's pepper.
This annual plant can reach a height of 60 cm (24 inches), with many branches on the upper part. My plants never get too big as I cut and eat them as soon as possible. The white to pinkish flowers are only 2 mm (1/12 of an inch) across, clustered in branched racemes
Garden cress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its tangy flavor. It is also eaten as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning (haloon). In England, cut cress shoots are commonly used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.
Cress is a great herb, as it grows so quickly and it is a fab introduction to growing things for children because of this. I would definitely recommend giving it a go as the seeds are cheap and the result worthwhile, plus it tastes great with egg, if I had not already mentioned!
Cress is probably one of the first things most people ever grow. Most of us will probably remember the project at school where cress was grown on a damp piece of paper towel, as if by magic almost overnight. For some, the green fingered bug is caught at this time and returned to in adulthood when there is the privilege of having a house with a garden. For others, the only time they'll ever come across cress again is those flecks of slightly peppery green stuff mixed in to an egg sandwich bought for the office lunch break.
It couldn't be easier. You don't need a garden, or even soil. All you need is the seeds (which are as easy to buy as sticks of rock in Blackpool, and considerably cheaper too), some water, a tray or container that won't leak (yoghurt pots are ideal) and either some damp kitchen towel or damp cotton wool. Put the seeds on top of the medium (either the kitchen towel or cotton wool), spray with water then sit back and let nature surprise you. If your house is quite dry, you may need to re-apply some water the next day just to keep them damp. When the seedlings are about an inch and a half high, it's ready to start snipping off and using.
Thinking outside the box as a way to entertain them and get your kids interested in gardening, you could carefully cut the top off an egg, rinse it out, fill with damp cotton wool then place the seeds on top and grow as an "egg head". As a younger lad serving with the Army, we would break into people's rooms who had gone home for the weekend, wet the carpet then add the cress seeds. By the time they returned to camp in the small hours of Monday morning, there would be a lovely little jungle on the floor waiting for them. It's an old one, but the old ones are the best.
Types of cress
Surprisingly, there are a few different types. The typical sort of cress that springs to mind (as described above) is known as garden cress, but there is also watercress, winter, meadow, American, Australian and Brazilian cress. Something to remember about watercress though - you should be very careful where you pick it from in the wild - if the water contains harmful bacteria (for example from cattle poo) then this could make you poorly. It's safest to buy watercress that has been grown commercially rather than forage for your own in the wild.
The obvious choice would be to mix it in with egg mayonnaise and have as a sandwich filling. To be honest, I'd say that the only restriction on using cress is your own imagination - if you've got some cress growing on the kitchen windowsill, use it a topping on all sorts of stuff. I wouldn't recommend it as a topping for ice cream though! It works very well with cheese on toast and tossed into salads to give a little bit of spice to bland, watery lettuce. I nearly always eat it uncooked, it doesn't hold it's taste very well if cremated in a pan or oven. However, it does hold up quite well when I've added it into frittatas, and of course some gets sprinkled on the top after the frittata has been cooked. I'd be interested to read your comments if any of you have an interesting use for cress in certain recipes.
An edible small plant that doesn't even need soil to grow - even those with the most un-greenest of fingers can grow cress and enjoy the difference it brings to salads etc. For it's easiness to grow, cheapness to buy as seeds and versatility in the kitchen, it gets five out of five stars from me. Thanks for reading.
This review is about a variety of cress which is called American Cress or Land Cress. I asked Dooyoo to list this under its own category, but they preferred me to include it here, so I thought I would explain that this is a plant which although called cress is not the sort you buy in those little punnets in supermarkets. It has long dark leaves and is not mossy like the Dooyoo photo.
Land Cress has been grown in Europe since the 17th century, and is something that I have grown successfully in my garden over the last few years. Although it can be enjoyed all year round it really comes into its own in the winter, as it prefers the climate to be wetter and shadier. I have had great success with it in the winter, but it does less well in hot summers.
If you like watercress then this plant may be of interest to you as it is similar, and it has the advantage that you do not need to grow it in water, though it does enjoy damp compost, so you have to keep it well watered, and don't be afraid to be heavy handed with the watering can.
I purchase the seeds from my favourite on-line seed supplier Nikki's Seeds, but you can purchase this from most major seed suppliers. It only costs 75p for 500 seeds and £1.45 for 2000! Nikki's seeds come with a plant label inside the packet which is a lovely touch.
Land Cress is quite easy to grow, and after sowing you allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to handle, and then you thin to 4 inches apart. The main sowing time is from March to August, and if like me you want to enjoy some over the winter then sow later too in August and September and even into October. The books will tell you to avoid October, but in my experience where I live in the South of England, August is often too hot for these seedlings, and I have had success germinating seeds and growing them to a decent size right up to mid-October. After that the daylight hours are too short for germination, but I always think the idea is to have some sturdy plants ready for the depth of winter, as these plants will provide something for your sandwiches even in December.
The plants really dislike drought and heat, so really love much of the British weather, in fact the last week has seen so much rain here in the south that they have really grown well, and I am picking leaves daily to add to salads. The taste of the leaves is like mild watercress, and what I do is to snip off individual leaves as this encourages more to grow. Don't leave them till they are old and woody, as they will be tough and hard to digest.
In the summer you must water them in the morning, because they need moisture before the hot sun dries out the roots in the afternoon. A shady spot really helps here and they will happily sit there as long as you visit them regularly to give them a soak.
Nutritionally excellent these plants have iron, calcium and many vitamins in them, and so they make a lovely addition to winter lunches, without having to shop for them. This is what I adore about growing my own salad leaves- with the right planting you can be self sufficient all year round. You can do this with a tiny cold greenhouse which I have - it only cost £20, and has enough shelves to germinate all my salad leaves. During the summer the seeds germinate quite happily outside, but in the autumn and early spring you will need this, although of course you can use an indoor windowsill. I can't as my cats take up too many of the best sun-soaked spots in the house! In addition you may need some fleece to pop over the plants when the temperature falls below freezing at night.
As a rough guide I have found that the plants are ready to pick from about 8 weeks after sowing. I pick the outer leaves as this encourages more new growth from the inside. They are best grown in pots, as they do seem to be enjoyed by slugs if I put them in the beds. Pots are easy though, as I put mine near to the house so that I do not have to go far to pick leaves which in our house are picked, washed, and eaten in the space of half an hour so they are really fresh. You can also pick them and store in the fridge and they keep very well for up to a week.
You can make a lovely soup with the leaves and it resembles watercress soup, which is one of my favourite winter warmers.
The seeds are inexpensive, and represent great value for money, especially as the plants have the ability to survive and be cropped all through the winter.
If you are interested in growing Land Cress, and in salad leaves in particular, then I must suggest my favourite book- "Salads for All Seasons" by Charles Dowding. It is a fantastic book and explains everything you need to know. This book is available from Amazon at just over £6. Land Cress is not a commonly grown plant, and his book has a section devoted to these less common greens which really help to provide year round garden produce. You won't find Land Cress in greengrocers, but growing it is easy and cheap and it forms the cornerstone of a good winter salad. I combine it with leaves of a variety of green lettuce called Parella, lambs lettuce, and winter endive which have all cropped really well this year. I really love Land Cress in a sandwich as it goes fantastically well with cheese and some rustic granary bread.
It's a great alternative to watercress and is easy to grow - full of vitamins and minerals and perfect for winter.
www.nickys-nursery.co.uk for seeds which are also available at most of the major retailers.
I will be posting this review over on Ciao with some photograhs of the plants under my user name there Violet1278.
I'm sure many of us remember growing cress at school in yoghurt pots when we were younger . Some, like me, may have evn done various science experiments with Cress, to prove that plants need light and water to grow. I remember the cress that I shut in the cupboard growing tall and straggly, but being rather yellow and flavourless .
When my young daughter expressed an interest in growing things, I opted for Cress because it's so quick to grow - perfect for my impatient little one . A pack of seeds is very cheap, starting at about 60p, although you can buy complete growing kits complete with a mat an a container for about £1.50. I personally wouldn't waste the extra money on these kits, as you can make much more creative containers at home, and cress really doesn't require anything complicated.
Cress really only needs three things - some kind of 'bed', water, and a container to grow in . Yoghurt pots, egg cartons, even hollowed out egg shells can all be used as containers, and then you simply need to place inside some wet cotton wool, or tissue paper, and sprinkle the seeds on the top, leaving them somewhere nice and sunny to start their lives, and keeping the tissue moist.
The joy of growing cress with children is that overnight they will start to show signs of growing - the seeds will split, and tiny shoots will show. In a couple of days roots will begin developing, and in about a week, you'll have cress that has grown enough to be chucked into an egg sandwich. It really is that easy - there's nothing more to it, and that makes cress ideal for children to grow.
You can be creative with your pots - perhaps paint the bottom half of an egg carton, and give it eyes before planting cress inside to make a cress caterpiller . This is what my daughter and I did, having seen another class at her school making these . Hollowed out eggshells can have faces painted on them so that the cress becomes the hair.
I love growing cress - not only is it cheaper than buying the ready grown stuff from the supermarket, but it's just so easy and hassle free, and a great activity to do with a young child. There is a certain satisfaction in watching it spring up so quickly, and it's wonderful on a sandwich .
Please note this review refers to the edible garden plant land cress, and not to watercress, the spindly type of cress you get in an egg-and-cress sandwich, or any other type of cress.
I picked up a package of land cress seeds at the local nursery as an impulse buy - the blurb written on the packet made it sound great as an easy-to-grow crop for the garden as it's apparently an alternative to watercress (which I love eating in soup) but doesn't need to be immersed in water in order to grow properly. Land cress will also tolerate shade, which seemed quite an advantage given the aspect of our veg plot, it can be sown direct into the prepared beds, and when ours came up it also seemed relatively robust to garden pests. It only took approx two to three months from us sowing the seeds till we harvested the first of our land cress crop. Everything looked great until we started trying to eat it.
The problem is that the stuff is nigh-on inedible. The cress didn't take long to germinate, and massed together looks all nice and lush, but the individual plants are quite small, so that by the time ours had grown large enough to seem worth picking, the stems had become incredibly woody. Not realizing this I cooked some up in a batch of soup and wondered why the blender kept jamming - and later found this was on account of the stems! The soup tasted really good - I've no complaints there - but it was full of fibrous, splinter-like bits of tough stem, which the blender blade rather than pureeing, had simply shredded. It was like trying to eat soup that had little splinters of boiled wood in it.
On my next attempt I tried to get roud the woody stems problem by stripping the (surprisingly small) land-cress leaves off from the stems, which took a long time but produced very little edible material for a great deal of effort. The soup I made from that batch pureed up well and looked green all right, but I wasn't able in this - and bear in mind it was only my second cropping of the seemingly lush land cress land cress row we'd planted - to gather enough edible material, so the green soup didn't taste of cress at all.
On occasion in the past I've eaten quite a variety of 'food for free' wild plants and I can categorically state that if land cress grew in the wild here, I would definitely cross it off my list of potential free foods as being not worthwhile. It takes far too long to process, and you don't get much in return. In the garden it is a total waste of space.
Cress is a delicious, succulent, green plant that has a tendency to find its way into egg sandwiches. Whilst the leaves often get stuck in the back of the throat, the stalks are particularly moist and go down like a treat!
The taste is very mild, and extremely watery and refreshing...Mmm!
Now cress is the subject of many a colourful debate regarding just which kind of cress goes best in a sandwich when unaccompanied by any other form of vegetable or meat product. Well after much cogitation on the matter, I have reached the conclusion that watercress is by far the most delicious, but only if used in the correct proportion, too little can leave a very dry watercress sandwich which doesnt go down well, and too much can be just far too 'cressy' to eat! I'm not alone on this one, in fact to quote Oscar Wilde:
"When I ask for a watercress sandwich, I do not mean a loaf with a field in the middle of it"
Cress complements boiled eggs particularly well but can also be used effectively as an aesthetic accompaniment to soups, in the same way that parsley so frequently is. It makes a pleasant side-dish to potato-based meals and is possibly the least offensive of all edible plants, due to its mild flavour and (almost too) refreshing effect!
It has no nutritional value whatsoever.
Cress is possibly the easiest thing to grow in the entire world. No matter how ungreen your fingers are, the chances are high you can grow cress.
You can get a packet of seeds fairly cheaply - I think my last packet was 30p from Lidl. These then need to be sown. You can scatter them in a little pot of earth, or even on a damp flannel. If you're doing this as a project with kiddies, extra fun can be had by dropping them in a pattern - their name perhaps?
They do just fine growing on a windowsill - no garden required with these! Within a couple of days you should see sprouts, within 14 days they'll be ready to eat - no waiting months with these things! They look a bit like clover - snip off as much as you want and leave the pot in the sun - they'll regrow heads.
They taste... well. Green and mildly hot? You can use them in egg and cress sandwiches, though I personally like muching on it on its own.
The internet tells me it contains a lot of vitamins, including vitamin E, thiamin, vitamin A niacin, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium... the list goes on.
So go on. Grow some cress. It's good for you!
Cress, them bits of green that normally find their way into an egg-mayo-sandwich or lost in a salad somewhere...boring subject maybe but on having bought some for 28p (to make egg-mayo sandwich with as happens) The need to grow my own came upon me, it works out cheaper really - and it can be amusing...
We like to grow things but It's cold and horrible out there, little boy's sunflowers are long dead and gone, plus the pansys aren't too pretty anymore. Had a quick hunt around local shop that stocks some seeds in the back but no joy, sad person that I am I bought some off eBay - cheap deal cost me a pound which was good, plus the amount of seeds I got in a packet would easily equal 6 or 7 ' punnet ' things of shop-bought cress so good deal.
There's quite a few different types of cress - I'm no expert but they vary in size type and flavour, some being more bitter /peppery-hot than other milder types. I wanted 'normal' standard sandwich type cress -but I got some Curly Mustard Cress as well which has a very nice tasty pepper-type-hot-flavour to it not as mild as your usual Cress, and is a good tasty extra to shove in your sandwich or Salad or omelette or whatever you fancy.
All Cress needs to sprout is a reasonable (room) temperature, light and a damp surface to grow on. That and the fact it grows so fast - about 10 days -makes it a good project for bored kids !!
The fun bit is sowing and growing the stuff, you can simply sow onto damp kitchen roll in a plastic tub OR (particularly if you have young Kids) You could be inventive and make egg-cup-people with Cress for hair - Or even more inventive make a proper old style Cress-Head with some tights (like I did when I was small !!) Well we grew our Cress and Little boy doesn't like it, but nevermind all the more for me. Least it kept him amused watching it grow !!
For what Egg People look like See:
Is simple just stick cotton-wool into empty eggshell and decorate, add seed water and wait for hair !!
To make one out of tights first put your seed in then stuff with wood shavings (sawdust - easily found at pet shop) and squash into a 'head shape' twist a ball for a nose and tie it off with an elastic band, buttons / or some plastic googly eyes, maybe a pipe cleaner stuck on for a mouth / whatever you've got handy to make a face really and there you go.
Just put him on a saucer / plate add a sprinkling of water now and again and wait for his hair to grow...
then chop it off and eat it !!!!
Thanks for reading.
A strange plant which grows quickly and tastes very pleasant.
You don't have to grow it yourself, but it is cheaper, not that it could be much cheaper than the supermarkets. A pleasant sprouter which you can add to salads for a bit of umph, I find it has a slightly raddishy type taste. It is only faint. It also goes extremely well with egg mayo, nothing better than egg mayo on white bread with plenty of cress.
But better still you can stuff the end of a pair of tights with cotton wool or anything that soaks up water, so you have a ball shape, put your cress seeds in the top, then twist a face or stick a face onto the front. Leave to stand in water and hey presto it grows hair. You can grow cress so easily it is a good one to do for kids with the bonus that they may actually eat it.
You can buy it from the salad aisle in supermarkets for about 29p or you can buy seeds (probably from the same supermarket) for roughly the same price and grow your own.