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Cress Curled – Lepedium sativum
FULL SUN Native to Europe, this cold hardy (14-18 in.) plant has been cultivated for thousands of years. It was brought to the US in the 1600s by early colonists. The peppery flavor of the leaves makes it a welcome contrast in salads. Plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring and in mid to late summer for a fall crop. Rows should be 18 in. apart. When seedlings are 2 in. high, thin, leaving 12 in. between plants. Harvest throughout the season by cutting leaves off the plants, aggressively or cutting the entire rosette.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Perenniall||12 in.||1/2 in.||14-21||75|
There are many cresses and many ways to confuse which cress is which. Cress Curled which is also known as Pepper Cress or Peppergrass is an ancient herb/salad green/condiment which is believed to have originated in Persia and then quickly made its way throughout the civilized world. A curious fact about the plant is that it is called by wildly different names in Bengali, Arab, Persian, Hindustani, Albanian etc. suggesting that each culture independently knew of and used the herb. It is a member of the Mustard Family and possesses some of the same peppery flavor as many mustard varieties.
Pepper Cress was a staple of the kitchen garden. It was primarily used as a fresh herb, but was sometimes added to soups and stews as a fresh condiment. It appeared in many of the seed catalogs of the early 1800s. One of the curious applications of pepper cress was as an ingredient in a hair tonic when combined with sage, henna and Chincona bark.
Today it is popular as a sprout, because its tangy flavor is intensified in the young plants.
Recommended Companion Plants