I have to mention watercress simply because it did me the favor this late winter of being the first wild plant to present itself for my edible enjoyment. I often enjoy watercress but don’t consider it one of my top ten, but apparently it wants to be included on this list, so I’ll oblige.
Watercress is a cress, a member of the mustard family, which is why it exhibits that familiar sharp, mustardy taste. All cresses are edible, but they vary in how bitter they are; some are so bitter that even with multiple boilings and changings-of-water, they still cannot be eaten. But watercress graces us with sharp tanginess without much bitterness, and it’s a joy to snip off the new growth, rinse away the slugs and snails, and munch that bright crispness in the earliest days of spring. Look for watercress where the water stands on the ground: marshes, wide creeks, and shallow ponds. It likes to keep not only its feet wet, like elderberry, but its whole body wet.
Use watercress in fresh salads or as a munch pick-me-up during the day, straight from the colander you washed it in.
To Your Whole Life,