Simon’s Simples: Wild Watercress Soup

Wild Watercress Soup

Wild Watercress

Wild Watercress soup is a delicious and nutritious recipe with the leaves available in spring and early summer. Watercress is rich in Vitamins A and C, iron, iodine and phosphorus. It has been used in the treatment of:

  • skin problems
  • bronchitis
  • winter colds or flu
  • liver or kidney fatigue
  • sinusitis

Watercress has been used as part of a holistic response to cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, prostate, bladder, uterus, stomach and intestines.

There are some dangers; watercress may cause cystitis in some people and its medicinal use is not advised for those who have a delicate stomach or suffer from acidosis or heartburn. Excessive or prolonged use can lead to kidney problems. Some doctors advise against its use during pregnancy.

Also, wild watercress often grows in streams inhabited by water snails that can carry liver fluke. There is also the possibility of bacterial infection in the water and make sure that the watercourse feeding the stream in which the wild watercress grows is free from industrial or agricultural pollution. Eating wild watercress in a raw state is not advised for these reasons. However, cooking the leaves for a short period removes the dangers. It is possible to grow watercress at home and Land Cress has a similar profile and is nutritionally dense.

Making Watercress soup

Ingredients: Pick the watercress from clean water areas by pinching out the tops of the plants. Uprooting them will destroy this resource for everyone. Gather a good handful for each person who will be sharing this delicious spring treat. Other ingredients for a soup for 4 people are:

  • large potatoes
  • generous knob of butter
  • dash of olive oil (to prevent butter burning)
  • stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • single cream
  1. Peel and cube the potatoes and cook them gently in the oil and butter until they are starting to soften.
  2. Add boiling water and dissolve the stock cube. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Coarsely chop the watercress and add to the mix for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Liquidise and add in some single cream to taste. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Use some purchased raw watercress leaves to garnish.

This nutritious soup makes a warming soup when hot and a refreshing summer soup when served cold. Watercress is part of the Nasturtium family whose peppery leaves are well known for their nutraceutical value.

In addition to containing high vitamin C content and antioxidant Beta-carotene, watercress contains vitamin E and is a natural antibiotic. It is sometimes used in complementary medicine to speed up the body’s detoxification processes.