Winter-cress , winter rocket ,yellow rocket ,herb Barbara

Barbarea vulgaris

Another early foraged plant winter-cress is a medium sized biannual plant growing to 30-60cm in height . Coming from the same family as jack by the hedge ( Brassicaceae ) and although edible some knowledge about them is defiantly needed if you intend to use this in your diet , the plant is edible either cooked or uncooked and has a high quantity of both vitamins C and A and was used in scurvy prevention before modern alternatives were found .

The plant itself has quite a strong flavour and is tart / bitter in taste if intended for a salad then only use the very young leaves and from a plant that has not flowered yet as after the flowering they don’t taste nice at all .
If cooking the leaves then this has to be done with sympathy either a flash cook in a pan or steamed I find best boiling ends up with a mush when it comes to the leaves cooking the leaves turns the flavour somewhat like mild broccoli and the unopened flower heads can be cooked just as broccoli and tastes remarkably similar .
One very important factor to take into account is the plants ability to process and store heavy metals which if eaten will pass into our system causing kidney toxicity and other symptoms related to heavy metal poisoning and the most common place this plant is found is wasteland and on verges so thought and consideration is needed when collecting this edible .
An older common name for this plant was wound rocket as it was used to ease and treat wounds , The herb is also very good at helping with kidney problems as it is known to help if you are having trouble urinating .
My favourite way to eat this plant is either ripped young leaves in a salad with ransom and lime leaves one third ransom and cress per two thirds lime ,with some goats cheese and apple ,
Or flash fried in a small amount of butter then mixed with a mash of cattail root and then fried into patties .

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