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indian cress


Synonyms: garden nasturtium, monks cress: botanical name: Tropaeolum majus



The home of Indian cress is Peru, where it has been grown for 4000 years. In the 16th century it came to Europe with the Spanish conquerors. Its effect as a healing plant was recognized early on, particularly for disinfecting wounds. Today it is seen chiefly as an ornamental plant in gardens or parks. However, it is also edible as a vegetable.


There is practically no commercial cultivation of Indian cress; it is planted mostly for private use. It is in flower from July to October.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The flat, green, kidney-shaped leaves have a sharp, mustard-like, slightly sour taste. The flowers are funnel-shaped and brightly coloured: e.g., orange, yellow or red. The flowers were originally brown, and since their form resembled the hood of the Capuchin monks, the plant was given the name of monks cress.


Indian cress contains a great deal of vitamin C. It owes its slightly sharp taste to a mustard oil glycoside.

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

After Indian cress is picked it should be used quickly. Storing it is not recommended, as it wilts quickly.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

The fresh leaves of Indian cress can be prepared as a salad. For this they are best cut into strips. Indian cress is also good as one of several different ingredients in a mixed-leaf salad. It can also serve as a tasty sandwich filling. The buds can be marinated in vinegar and eaten as a substitute for capers. Even the flowers are edible; they make a nice decoration on cold platters or salads.





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