Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is what’s for dinner. Today is March 12. Many a March 12 is still under a fairly large carpet of white, but not this year. Even if it were, the tasty little plant would still be under the snow ready to munch on if you really wanted to put some effort in to find it. Which isn’t really all that hard if you know where it was last year. It’s still there. Unless you did something foolish, like poison it.
So why go through the effort? Why do you go through the effort for any of the food you eat? None of it comes without effort, but here are a few reasons you might consider. Superior Nutrition, Superior Flavor, Chemical Free and Zero cost.
So what is this early bloomer? Simply put…Mustard. Very similar to Watercress, which is the oldest known plant to be consumed by humans, Bittercress grows on land rather than in the water as does Watercress. Similar in leaf pattern and flavor profile, both are crazy nutritious.
Bittercress is extremely high in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, beta carotene, antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds which helps boost immunity and helps in cancer prevention.
The cool thing about this little dynamo is that if you pull 4 or 5 up from the roots and place it in some water, it will keep on growing in your kitchen. Trim it like any herb and it comes right back. So add it to salads for a nice mustardy bite or drop a hand full into the soup or stew. I like it on sandwiches or on a taco as well. It is awesome in scrambled eggs.
Even though this is a fairly easy plant to recognize in its various stages of life, it is still crucial that you know 100% of the time what you are eating. Of course, the only real way to do that is to learn wild edibles and harvest for yourself. Otherwise, are you 100% sure what is in that food you are buying?
So, it has begun. It is time to start off the year exploring, learning, studying and eating wild edible foods. There are others out there, but Bittercress is my favorite to start off the foraging season with. Unless you like nutritionally inferior, expensive and possibly contaminated food, consider joining me.