How Do I Clean Water Cress?

by Jenny Harrington ; Updated November 20, 2017

The succulent leaves and stems of watercress provide a peppery green that you can use in sandwiches, salads and wraps. The small, bright green leaves also work well as a flavorful garnish on a breakfast or brunch platter. Watercress grows naturally in streams, although, sometimes you can find it in your grocery store. These delicate water plants bruise and wilt easily, so clean them carefully to avoid damage and to ensure the best flavor.

Fill the sink or a bowl with cold water. With a rubber band, secure the stems of the watercress bunch.

Hold the bunch by the stems and dip the leaves in the water. Swirl the leaves around to dislodge the dirt without bruising the tender leaves.

Shake the excess moisture from the leaves and then pat dry with a paper towel.

Cut the ends from the stems with a sharp knife, and then remove the rubber band. Trim the entire stem of older watercress, because the stems of older watercress tends to be tough. Cut or tear the leaves into the desired size before serving.


  • It is best to use watercress the day you buy it, but you can store it in the vegetable crisper drawer for up to two days, if you dry it thoroughly in a salad spinner after washing.

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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.