Eating my way out of a pickle – Popping Cress

15 Jul

I’ve neglected the weeding over the winter. Normally I would take the opportunity to get on top of it while the growth slows in the cold weather, but having done almost nothing lately, I’ve noticed a new weed that I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately it has spread quite rapidly, so I’m finding it everywhere. I first noticed it when I brushed against it accidentally and it sprayed its seeds quite a distance – many times greater than the size of the plant, like it was spring-loaded. I knew at that point I was in trouble.

Popping cress – young, flowering, and with formed seed heads

I mentioned it to my Dad this weekend, and he managed to identify it for me. It is Cardamine Hirsuta, also known as Hairy Bittercress, Popping Cress, Hairy Woodcress and Flickweed. The bad news is that  it is such an efficient distributor of seed that once you have it it is generally too late to eradicate it.

There was good news however – it’s edible!

So for lunch today I went out and gathered myself a bowlful of weeds. My reading suggested that it is tastier before it flowers, but I pulled out all of the plants I could find and brought them inside along with some wild rocket (which is also growing wild in my front yard).

I trimmed the young plants of their roots and washed them along with the rocket and some coriander that I also harvested. I put it all into a salad of winter tomatoes, avocado and french eshallots and dressed with a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and chilli.

The verdict? It is very bitter. But if I keep eating it, (particularly before it flowers) then maybe I stand a chance of eradicating it.

Now can I bring myself to sample the creeping oxalis?…

8 Responses to “Eating my way out of a pickle – Popping Cress”

  1. Liz July 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    The salad sounds lovely, well a version with watercress sounds lovely. How annoying to have the weed in your garden.

  2. Frogdancer July 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Good on you! Making lemonade…

  3. Louise July 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Ah, so that’s what it is! It is a visitor to my garden as well. Thanks for the tip on eating it. I will give it a try!

  4. Barbara Good July 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    It’s better than the recent weed edition to my garden – deadly nightshade! Definitely not edible, in fact quite dangerously poisonous. I pulled them all out when Mum told me what it was (I had been a little neglectful on the weeding front) and have been out there frequently pulling anything that looks weed-like and haven’t seen any for a few months. Hopefully that will be the end of it.


  1. Harvest Monday – 16 July 2012 « 500m2 in Sydney - July 16, 2012

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