Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is a member of the mustard family. Why does it deserve a post on my blog? Well to me it is an incredible edible. The little leaves are quite peppery, just the right amount of bite to add some taste to the salad bowl or a garnish with an edge. Best of all it is freely available now!
When I used to work in a herb nursery hairy bittercress was the bane of my bosses life as they have spring loaded seed, which when ripe and brushed against trigger; dispersing the seed very efficiently across the full 360 degrees. I, as a keen gardener, really don’t mind them. They provide an edible, self seeding ground cover. Growing as a rosette with one central cluster of very fine roots they are particularly easy to clear when you need the land for something else.
Hairy bittercress is also medicinal, like the majority of wild greens, because although they don’t taste so they are termed as a bitter herb. Bitters when added regularly to the diet improve the digestion. They, in a sense, act as a kind of preventative medicine by activating your bodys natural detoxification mechanisms. In essence bitters stimulate the release of digestive juices, aid in liver detoxification, and help regulate blood sugars.
So little hairy bittercress is a friend, not a remedy as such, yet it remains medicinal, and quite deliciously edible.
Through eating “weeds”, which hairy bittercress is considered to be by most; you will find the green fingers of natures wilder edges, like tendrils, silently reaching through your insides reminding your body that you are part of the Earth.
If you are intersted in letting those wilder edges in deeper, you may be interested in my workshops