Cress - intro, appearance and characteristics.
Common Cress (Alliaria petiolata) or simply Cress is a biennial herb that grows between 20-100 cm tall. Cress grows in loam in forests and fences throughout Denmark. The leaves have a strong smell of onions. The shell is 3-6 cm long, 2 mm wide and almost square. It sits on a short and thick, slightly protruding stem. Flowering in May-June. Cress belongs to the cruciferous family and is thus related to e.g. various types of cabbage and rapeseed, rocket, radish, mustard, watercress and horseradish.
The leaves are heart-shaped with large serrations and each flower has 4 white petals. They sit two by two opposite each other so that they form a small cross.
The popularity of the cress has gone up and down, from being a horrible weed to a delicious delicacy.
It reproduces very quickly, each plant producing hundreds of seeds. So from being annoyed at having to remove this weed, we can now be happy that it is easy to find and in large quantities.
Cress has the botanical name Alliaria petiolata , and it is in the cabbage family like all our cabbages as well as rape, currants, radishes, radishes, mustard, watercress, horseradish and many, many more.
Common Cress (Alliaria petiolata) is native to Denmark, where it is actually attached to the forest floor, but it also thrives well in fences and thickets, forest edges and in gardens. The seeds germinate quite quickly after ripening and in autumn grow up with a rosette that overwinters with an above-ground part. Next spring it develops a stem and inflorescence. Often stands are seen where young first-year plants stand between flowering second-year plants. Both first and second year plants can be eaten as long as the leaves and stems are soft and inviting. In mild winters you may be lucky to find overwintering plants with fresh shoots in January and February.
The flowers and the soft shells are also edible, the leaves can be harvested already from April. Cress is picked carefully or harvested with scissors so the plant can continue to grow.
Cress has a flavor with notes of both garlic and mustard. You can use leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. It can be used raw in salads, for the green sprinkle, or it can be boiled, steamed, fried and grilled. Like so many other herbs, it is most delicious as a young plant. Leaves can be harvested already from April.
Cress was formerly considered a fine medicinal plant, which was used against everything between heaven and earth. Against itching, bronchitis, stomach ulcers, colic and much more, and the seeds have been used for sneezing and snuff.
Cress - active ingredients and their effects
Cress is ideal as a herb and is used as an alternative to onions, chives or watercress - both the flower, leaves and seeds are edible.
The whole plant can be blended into pesto, mixed into the meatball stuffing, in spiced butter and the flowers are beautiful as a decoration on rye bread dishes and in salads.
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