I will not be the first to acknowledge that spring is painfully slow this year.
And with the contrast of last year's (frighteningly) early and hot spring I'm confused as to what April is really supposed to feel like around here.
Fortunately I carry forty-years of reference, and having grown up in Wisconsin I'm pretty sure that snow is supposed to be as rare in April as heatwaves.
We just can't seem to get spring right.
And spring is arguably my favorite season of all.
Each day in spring I find myself outside measuring the growth of the buds on the trees, watching for migrant birds returning, and looking for new signs of life bursting forth in the woods and the gardens.
So this season is an exercise in patience to say the least.
This weekend Lupine and I set off across the pasture in search of spring. The snow is gone on our hillsides, and while it seems to continue to fall each morning, by afternoon it has melted away again. There had to be spring out there somewhere, if we just looked.
We hiked through the marsh (now a chorus of peepers each night) to the creek. We waded across and headed into the woods. When we came to the spring our foraging excursion was rewarded. While the woods are still brown and leafless, the cold water spring was choked with watercress.
Sure, watercress is green and can be harvested through the winter, but our little spring didn't have much in the fall. So we let it be through the winter.
Coming upon this treasure trove this cold spring day was a gift from Mother Earth indeed.
And so we sat in the sunshine, laughing and gathering and nibbling the peppery green leaves, then brought some home for a spicy-sweet salad with our dinner. (Lupine is our self-appointed salad maker and nothing gets her more excited to work alongside me in the kitchen than harvesting salad fixings.)
Oh, yes. The season is turning.
Soon ramps and nettle will also return, and then the soil will warm enough to welcome a few seeds.
Oh, spring. We're ready for you. So ready.
8 thoughts on “Watercress.”
Just yesterday I was looking for watercress seeds, because I love eating them so I though I should grow them.
She will arrive, eventually.
So watercress really does grow in water! 🙂 Here in the south of France there was a flood of lambs lettuce at the farmers market. I thought I see it during our daily walks in forest but I wasn’t sure so I didn’t pick it. Now I know and will have to go back for some.
How do you harvest watercress?
Seeing watercress always reminds me of salamanders. Here in East Tennessee (where I lived as a child and returned eventually with my children) we have springs choked with watercress. I used to spend hours as a child searching among the leaves for salamanders, it was always one of the most reliable spots to find them. Your pictures brought those memories flooding back.:-)
Let me know if you have success!
I’ve not heard of “lambs lettuce”. But I love the name! If you are foraging in water be sure your water source is free of cattle. (Live flukes are found in watercress that has farm runoff in the water.)
Just pull it by hand, rinse and eat. We twist the leaves off of the stems and compost the stems. You just have to be sure your water source is clean (see comment above.)
Such sweet memories!