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Plant of Week 1: Bittercress
Go out and find Bittercress this week! Bittercress is also called Peppercress, Hairy Bittercress, and Little Western Bitter-Cress. It is a member of the mustard family. It is edible and has a refreshing, peppery flavor.
Species: Cardamine hirsuta
HABITAT: Bittercress is a weed that loves cool weather and dies off in late spring or summer as temperatures warm up. It grows in wet soil that is prone to disturbances, like the soil in our yards and gardens.
IS IT EDIBLE?: Yes! Like other plants in the Mustard or "Brassica" family, bittercress is an excellent source of vitamin C. The flavor is similar to broccoli rabe, but milder. Eat the leaves and flowers raw or cooked. The root can be grated and used as flavoring. Add to salads or use it as a garnish on top of soups, toast, sandwiches, and more for a peppery punch. You also can use pureed bittercress as a pesto base.
CAUTION: Avoid harvesting Bittercress to eat from areas where the water may be contaminated with toxic chemicals or pathogens.
IS IT MEDICINAL?: Like other plants in the Mustard Family, Bittercress contains glucosinolates which are known to help remove carcinogens from the body. It also contains vitamin C, beta-carotine, and lutein which can help reduce vision problems. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Recipes with Bittercress: