In my never-ending dual mission to (1.) find new greens for me to try and (2.) discover a green that both my kids will accept, I brought home a box of edible flowers from the farmers’ market this week. I really thought I hit pay dirt: my younger (and pickier one) loves flowers, she’ll surely want to eat them! And since my older one will eat pretty much anything that doesn’t involve zucchini or cornmeal, I was feeling pretty confident.
They both came to the table curious about what I was offering and they both cooed at the prettiness of the flowers. And then the familiar pattern re-emerged. My older daughter tried every flower, even happily eating the ones I warned might be a bit spicy. But my four-year-old refused to let a single petal touch her lips.
Undeterred, I decided to put the flowers on something that
might entice her a little more: mini pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing. I realize that a single flower does not provide any significant nutritional benefit, but I was determined to expose her to new foods, new tastes. (Besides, homemade muffins made with whole wheat flower and decorated with a real flower is still a more healthy option than, say, a cupcake mix, ready-made icing, and candy decoration.)
Not a total victory, but I came away with plenty of flowers for me to enjoy, plus a few lessons learned.
- Flowers such as nasturtium, sweet pea (not the ornamental variety), mustard, chive, borage, pansy, and impatiens add a pretty edible flourish to salads and other dishes that can use a colorful garnish.
- Some flowers can contribute a distinctive flavor to a dish. Nasturtium flowers and leaves add a peppery kick, to boot. Chive blossoms pack a garlicky punch.
- The novelty of eating a flower might be enough to help kids temporarily overcome their resistance to trying new foods, especially if that flower is on top of a pile of frosting.