The health benefits of watercress are well-documented, so it’s an important green to include on your children’s plates.
But even cooks admit that the leafy veg doesn’t always appeal to kids’ palates and encouraging them to eat this superfood is far from easy.
‘I think it’s one of those flavours you have to get used to,’ says Barbara Crick, mum and founder of Emsworth Cookery School.
‘It can be a bit bitter at first and is one of those things you enjoy as you get older.
‘If I put it on my children’s plates it would be a definite no. But there are things you can do to make it easier for them to eat.’
Barbara suggests using the health-boosting ingredient in a pesto and serving with pasta.
‘They would eat it without really noticing and there are so many health benefits, a small amount is worth including.
‘If you blend it down to very small flakes, they don’t really notice.’
Of course, many adults love the distinctive peppery taste of watercress.
And the nutritional benefits makes it an extremely popular ingredient.
Watercress has been classed as a ‘superfood’ because it’s especially rich in health-promoting nutrients.
The salad favourite can boast more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin E than broccoli, more calcium than whole milk and more iron than spinach.
It also has high levels of beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body and is needed for growth and development, immunity and healthy vision, hair, skin, nails, bones and teeth.
And numerous scientific studies have shown that watercress is an important player in the field of cancer prevention.
It’s no wonder the crop is being celebrated at the Watercress Festival in Alresford near Winchester on May 19.
There will be family attractions and plenty of tasty and unusual treats, including watercress ice cream, cakes, beer and soup.
Charles Barter, of promotional organisation the Watercress Alliance, says: ‘The festival plays a very important role in helping to revitalise the industry which is concentrated in Hampshire and Dorset. The area provides the perfect growing conditions for watercress due to the local chalk downs which provide the spring water in which the crop is grown.’
Visit watercress.co.uk for information and recipes.