Al-Rashad Garden Cress Seed

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

بذور الرشاد

Garden cress is an herbaceous annual plant from the cruciferous family. It has an average height of 9 centimeters with light green, thin leaves. Its seeds are small, oval-shaped, flattened, reddish-brown, and slightly smaller in size than sesame seeds. They have a smooth texture and a slightly pungent and tangy flavor when chewed. Garden cress is primarily cultivated for its edible seeds, which are widely consumed in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. Garden cress leaves are also used to add a flavor similar to spicy radish in salads.

Garden cress seeds are commonly mixed with other seeds like fenugreek and black seed, and this combination is consumed daily by new mothers during their postpartum period. It is believed that this mixture is important for strengthening the bones, boosting immunity, relieving abdominal pain, and promoting milk production in breastfeeding women. For this reason, garden cress seeds are added whole to hot milk or incorporated into salona (meat and vegetable broth) or salads. Garden cress seeds are also used in traditional medicine as a treatment for nerves, joint and back pain, and menstrual pain by consuming a small teaspoon of seeds with lukewarm water. Scientific research has highlighted the nutritional importance of garden cress seeds and leaves, as they contain essential fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, and active bioactive compounds that contribute to maintaining health and preventing chronic and infectious diseases. Due to its high nutritional and therapeutic value, it has been classified as a superfood, and ongoing scientific research aims to enhance the nutritional and preventive aspects of some dishes by incorporating garden cress seeds.

Garden cress is known for its ability to grow in diverse environments and adapt to different temperature ranges throughout the year. However, the fertile clay soil and abundant groundwater in the Al-Ahsa Oasis (in the Eastern Region) enhance the productivity of garden cress. The seeds are used for cultivating garden cress, and its cultivation method is easy, with rapid growth as the leaves appear within approximately three days after sowing the seeds. The best season for cultivation is late winter and early spring, from February to April.

Many scientific studies indicate that the original habitat of garden cress is Ethiopia, from where it spread to many countries around the world due to its ability to grow in diverse environments and adapt to various temperature conditions.

In Saudi Arabia, the seeds are commonly used in preparing popular dishes such as salona (meat and vegetable broth), Haili rice dish, and some traditional pastries and sweets like luqaimat and qursan (Haili pancakes). These dishes are typically served to new mothers, emphasizing the therapeutic and health value of garden cress.

Garden cress is grown primarily for its versatile seeds, which are considered a home pharmacy due to their therapeutic and health benefits. However, one of the threats to its use is the presence of competitive alternatives from imported products, such as chia seeds. It is important to note that garden cress contains compounds that inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients, such as phytates and oxalates. Therefore, it is advisable to consume it under medical supervision for individuals who have certain health problems related to nutrient deficiencies, kidney issues, or kidney stones. One of the important steps to ensure the continuity of its popular uses is nutritional education about its nutritional and therapeutic value and raising awareness among the youth about the importance of preserving the local treasures of healing and medicinal practices inherited from ancestors.

The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia.
In collaboration with Azka Farms, Saudi Arabia.

Back to the archive >

Territory

StateSaudi Arabia
Region

Eastern

Production area:Al-Ahsa and Al-Baha

Other info

Categories

Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Nominated by:Dr. Munira bint Qasim Al-Muslim