Why it’s CRIT­I­CAL to wa­ter your cit­rus

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

Your cit­rus tree may be sit­ting there and not do­ing much right now but look­ing green, but it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that cit­rus will pro­duce dry-fleshed fruit if wa­ter is sparse in the heat of the sea­son. It’s not only win­ter frosts

that cause that dry­ness.

WA­TER­CRESS was once a sta­ple of the poor man’s diet, but it seems to have fallen off the menu in re­cent years.

It’s a pity be­cause this mem­ber of the mus­tard fam­ily is a highly ver­sa­tile and ex­tremely healthy green to add to your cook­ing reper­toire. Even bet­ter, it’s con­sid­ered the most nu­tri­ent-dense nat­u­rally-oc­cur­ring veg­etable you can eat.

Wa­ter­cress is ex­cep­tion­ally high in an­tiox­i­dant vi­ta­mins A and C, and vi­ta­min K, and was greatly val­ued as a treat­ment for scurvy. As a per­cent­age of daily al­lowance, two cups of wa­ter­cress pro­vides a whop­ping 212% of vi­ta­min K, 48% of vi­ta­min C and 44% of vi­ta­min A. In ad­di­tion it pro­vides smaller but sig­nif­i­cant amounts of cal­cium, man­ganese, potas­sium, vi­ta­min E, thi­amine, ri­boflavin, vi­ta­min B6, mag­ne­sium and phos­pho­rus.

The zesty, pep­pery taste of wa­ter­cress will en­liven any salad. Wa­ter­cress is more ten­der than kale and col­lard greens and will sauté faster, giv­ing a mild, pep­pery flavour to any dish. Chi­nese cooks stir-fry it or sim­mer it in soup.

Since ear­li­est times wa­ter­cress has been highly val­ued as a medicine. The Ro­mans thought of cress as a vig­or­ous stim­u­lant and would ad­vise slug­gish peo­ple to ‘eat some cress!’

The so-called fa­ther of medicine, Hip­pocrates, used wa­ter­cress to treat his pa­tients and he so val­ued it that he built his first hos­pi­tal close to a stream where the herb grew so he would have a con­stant source.

Wa­ter­cress was also used as an ap­petite stim­u­lant and tonic herb for anaemia, weak heart and eye­sight and to in­crease milk flow. To­day, stud­ies on wa­ter­cress are show­ing prom­ise for its po­ten­tial in pre­vent­ing and man­ag­ing

can­cer.

Ar­range the cress and or­ange seg­ments on a small plat­ter. Top with shal­lots and nuts. Com­bine dress­ing in­gre­di­ents and pour over salad. Serve im­me­di­ately. This is great with roast chicken or hearty casseroles.

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