Wild Watercress Soupt (Nasturtium officinale)

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

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

However there are 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 may lead to kidney problems. Some doctors advise against its use during pregnancy. Wild watercress often grows in streams inhabited by water snails which carry liver fluke. There is also the possibility of bacterial infection. Eating wild watercress in a raw state is not advised for this reason. Cooking the leaves for a short period removes the dangers. Also make sure that the watercourse feeding the stream in which the watercress grows is free from industrial or agricultural pollution.

Ingredients for watercress soup: 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:

2 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

Instructions:
1. 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. Add Salt and pepper to taste
5. Use some purchased raw watercress leaves and pepper to garnish

This nutritious soup is warming 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 contents and antioxidant Beta-carotene, it contains vitamin E and is a natural antibiotic. It is sometimes used in complementary medicine to speed up the body's detoxification processes.

Thanks to Dr A. Dracea, J. Lust, R. Phillips

From an ebook called 'Wild Food' underway at simonthescribe. If you wish to republish this article (with this resource box intact) you will find excellent quality pictures to accompany it at http://www.simonthescribe.co.uk/wildw atercresssoup.html

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