What kind of plant is cress?
Cress is considered one of crucifers. Lepidium sativum is its proper scientific name. Garden cress is a well-known and often grown plant originating in Asia and Africa. In Europe, it appeared first during the rule of the Roman Empire.
The plant itself is easy to plant and grow. Thanks to its rich properties, it’s a common ingredient used in the kitchen. Interestingly enough, cress is a traditional plant to grow in Poland for Easter - garden cress seeds are grown in almost every Polish household before the celebrations.
What are the benefits of garden cress?
Garden cress is valued for its interesting, slightly spicy and not that obvious taste, but also for the valuable elements it holds. It has been confirmed by nutritionists that the plant is a source of many beneficial vitamins and minerals. Thanks to cress, you can supply your body with the following nutrients:
- vitamins C, B, A, K and E,
Eating cress also affects blood sugar level - in the positive meaning. The plant decreases its level, and the chromium contained within the plant improve pancreas functioning. Regular consumption of this plant aids metabolism, resulting in improved digestion. You can go ahead and add it to everyday meals to take care of your health and get rid of extra kilograms.
It has been scientifically proven that garden cress consumed every day, even in small quantities, has a positive influence on skin, nails and hair.
How to use garden cress in the kitchen?
Garden cress can be used all year round, not just in spring. Consider adding it to your everyday diet. Are you wondering how to use it? It’s a perfect addition to various salads. Because of its characteristic tangy taste, it’s a perfect addition to fish and meat pastes. Cress also makes good seasoning to cottage cheese, soups and bread.
Cress for Easter - what kind of tradition is it?
Garden cress and Easter are two inseparable elements in Poland. An average Pole finds it hard to imagine this celebration without the plant. The tradition has its origins in the 17th century - cress sprouts grown in a dish make a perfect base for a lamb figurine, another important symbol of Easter. Depending on preferences, the lamb is made of sugar or bread.
Cress sprouts form a “meadow,” which symbolizes greenery, spring and the nature rising back to life after gloomy winter time. It fits perfectly into the ideology connected with Easter celebration.
How long do garden cress seeds sprout and when to plant them?
Given the right conditions, cress grows incredibly fast. Cress seeds need a damp surface, enough sunlight and a warm spot - in such conditions, they start sprouting in just three days.
The full growth can be achieved after a week. If growing cress inside, the season doesn’t really matter. You can grow cress seeds all year round - enjoying the plant’s beautiful color and the mentioned benefits.
Growing cress seeds on cotton wool
Planting cress seeds on cotton wool is a very popular method. It’s a simple and easy way. You only need the following items:
- a container filled with cotton wool,
- garden cress seeds.
Water the container filled with cotton wool - but don’t pour too much, otherwise the seeds might rot. You can spread the cress seeds close to each other, but make sure they don’t lie on top of each other - they will stick together, which might hinder the growth process.
Growing cress on gauze
Growing cress on a gauze pad looks pretty much the same as when using cotton wool. Fill a container with gauze pads and dampen them with water. Just like with cotton wool, the cress seeds can be planted densely, but they shouldn’t overlap.
How to make garden cress grow faster?
Two parameters affect cress sprouting process - sunlight and warmth. There is a way to make it faster. You can use plastic foil. Make a few holes in the foil, so the excess moisture can evaporate from the container.
How to grow garden cress?
Garden cress is a common name of the plant known as Lepidium sativum. It’s typically grown on cotton wool or gauze pads. Soil is rarely used for growing cress - although it’s not impossible. Note that in this case, garden cress has certain requirements.
If you want to plant cress in the garden, you have to stick to certain dates. For moderate zones, the period from the beginning of May to the end of August is the best time for growing cress. That’s when temperatures are relatively high. Pick a place in half sun and half shade, making sure the soil is damp.
As an alternative to growing cress in the garden or on a windowsill, you can plant the seeds in a pot and put it on the balcony or the patio. This way, if the weather suddenly changes, you can quickly take the plant inside.
📍 Where to buy cress seeds?
Garden cress seeds can be purchased practically in every gardening store. You can find them in some supermarkets as well. Alternatively, many online stores offer cress seeds.
📍 How long does cress take to grow?
Cress seeds are popularly grown on cotton wool. If planted on a wet surface, the seeds grow in 5-6 days. After this time, you can cut the sprouts sand add them to your meals and sandwiches. You can also leave the plant as a decoration.
📍 How to grow cress?
Cress seeds should be planted in a wet surface, and placed in a sunny and warm place. You can use this plant to make an easy decoration, e.g. a cress egg. Just plant the seeds in an eggshell. Draw a face on the shell to make a cress head - it's a fun activity for children.
📍 How and why should you eat cress?
Garden cress sprouts are nutritional microgreens. You can simply cut them using scissors and spread on a sandwich. You can also chop it and mix with cottage cheese, add to a salad or a soup. Garden cress has a characteristic spicy taste which improves appetite.