Vegetables : Standard groups


Garden cress


Synonym: land cress

botanical name: Lepidium sativum



Garden cress originated in North and East Africa and in Asia. The Romans spread cress north of the Alps. Today cress is sold growing on rock-wool beds in small cardboard or plastic boxes. A distinguishing feature is its short growing time, equalled by no other vegetable; it can be harvested in only 5 days. Try it yourself, letting the cress seeds germinate on moist cotton wool.



Garden cress is sold all year round.


Appearance, taste, characteristics

Garden cress plants can grow to 60 cm. They develop white blossoms and leaves, which the consumer does not get to see because it is the cotyledons that are harvested. These small, fine, green three-part digitated leaves sit on a thin, white stem. Garden cress tastes slightly pungent.



Garden cress contains a great deal of vitamin C. It is also of interest with regard to other vitamins and minerals. The amounts consumed should be taken into consideration, however, which frequently are no more than 15 g; this means that the amount of vitamins and minerals ingested with cress is generally quite small.


The content of secondary plant substances, in this case the glucosinolates, is especially high, at more than 100 mg per 100 g in fresh garden cress.


100 g contain:


Garden cress, fresh

Energy (kcal)


Water (g)


Prottein (g)


Fat (g)


Carbohydrates (g)


Fibre (g)


Vitamin C (mg)


Vitamin A (RE) (µg)


Vitamin B6 (mg)


Folic acid (µg)


Potassium (mg)


Sodium (mg)


Calcium (mg)


Magnesium (mg)


Iron (mg)




Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Cut cress does not keep. It is meant to be used immediately. Cress that has been planted in cardboard or plastic containers will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.


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

Before cress is used it should be washed in the container under running water. Then it can be cut off with a scissors.


Something as simple as a piece of bread with butter or cheese, strewn with the finely cut herb and a little lemon juice is something delicious. Cress is usually eaten as salad, however, namely as a component of a mixed salad and not alone, as the taste is quite strong and pungent, and cress is not normally bought in sufficiently large amounts. Cress is well-suited for enhancing the flavour of soups, home fries (roast potatoes) and other potato dishes, curd cheese with herbs, sauces and dressings and to decorate roast or broiled meat, egg dishes and cold platters. The finely cut cress is always added to the dish at the very last.


Cress is used industrially to make dried soups, and cress juice can be found in shops.





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