Creasy Green

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Barbarea verna, or commonly referred to as mountain cress, is one of the first plants to break winter in the Appalachian landscape and is considered a tonic to revitalise the liver and kidneys after a long winter diet of dry starches (such as beans and squash) and meat, in fact it is harvested in early winter or after the late winter/early spring thaw.
The young, tender leaves grow in rosettes with a diameter of 8-12 inches and a height of 4-6 inches. The flavour of mountain cress is similar to that of mustard or watercress, but it does not grow in swamps like traditional cress. The mild heat intensifies as the plant matures, and it is cultivated in some southern areas as a garden plant.
Over the centuries, watercress has been used as a main side dish for beans and meat or as a leaf green to make a sandwich tastier, a salad more invigorating or a pasta tastier.
Creamy greens may be an unusual choice for nomination, as they are little known, yet they are present in Southern culture as a readily available food source for all people, regardless of wealth or social status.
There are no physical or environmental threats that prevent this food from remaining in our ecosystems. The danger stems from the historical importance of the use of this vegetable and the cultural narrative that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Back to the archive >

Other info

Categories

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Angie Lavezzo