Barbarea vulgaris – Wintercress

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Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris) is a non-native plant in the mustard family.
Wintercress, also known as Yellow Rocket, can be found in fields, gardens, and disturbed soil in full sun.

Wintercress produces a basal rosette of deeply lobed emerald green leaves. The leaves resemble arugula with larger, rounder lobes. The plant produces a hairless flower stem with smaller toothed leaves. The bright yellow flowers have four petals arranged in a cross.
Wintercress leaves are edible raw or cooked. They are best consumed in late fall or early spring. The leaves taste like spicier arugula. They develop some bitterness after the plant flowers.

Stalks with immature flower heads can be treated similarly to broccoli rabe. They can be blanched a minute to reduce bitterness.
Flowers can be eaten raw or added to stir fries.
Wintercress is high in vitamins A and C. It also has anti cancer properties.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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