Watercress grows in streams and ditches, however, recently it is now grown commercially.

What to look for

Choose fresh looking bunches with healthy stems. The leaves should be green, showing no signs of yellowing or wilting.


All year; best supplies, May - December.


Refrigerate in plastic bags. Alternatively, if the roots are still attached, place in a jar of water and do not refrigerate. Use promptly.

How to prepare

Wash well. Remove woody stalks and discoloured leaves. Use the medium to thin stalks and the leaves. Discard only the very coarse stalks; add these to stocks and soups for extra flavour.

Ways to eat

The dark green leaves have a peppery flavour. It can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches, used as a garnish, added to soups and sauces, and used instead of spinach in omelettes, quiches and pancake fillings.

Suggested cooking methods

Boil, microwave, steam.


Watercress is a good source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin A (from beta-carotene). Glucosinolates are the phytonutrients plentiful in watercress.

Nutrition table

Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 cup chopped = 50g      
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 46/11 1% 92/22  
Protein (g) 1.4 3% 2.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0% 0.4  
 - saturated (g) 0.06 0% 0.13  
Available carbohydrate (g) 0.1 0% 0.2  
 - sugars (g) 0.1 0% 0.1  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.7   3.3  
Sodium (mg) 8 0% 16.6  
Folate (µg)  140 70% RDI* 280 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 413 55% RDI* 826 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin C (mg) 38 94% RDI* 75 A good source of vitamin C
Niacin (mg) 0.4 4% RDI* 0.8  
Thiamin (mg) 0.06 5% RDI* 0.12  
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.1 6% RDI* 0.19  
Calcium (mg) 26 3% RDI* 53  
Iron (mg) 1.1 9% RDI* 2.2  
Potassium (mg) 90   180  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2018        


Display on refrigerated shelving with herbs and salad items. Watercress is highly perishable so buy small quantities regularly and ensure good stock rotation. If loose, bunch and display. Customers may not know how to use watercress, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 0°C with a relative humidity of 90-100%.

Purchase watercress with the New Zealand GAP logo.


Boil up with doughboys
Boil up with doughboys

Serve this comforting meal on a winter evening. View Recipe

Kūmara and watercress salad
Kūmara and watercress salad

Two traditional Kiwi vegetables combine to make this delicious salad. Watch the video how to make this salad. View Recipe

Boil up
Boil up

Add watercress or puha just before the end of cooking to complete this great New Zealand dish. Watch the video on how to make it. View Recipe

View more Recipes


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