One creation the children made was pickled vegetables. The children worked diligently slicing radishes and white turnips with plastic knives for pickling.
We talked about root vegetables and the children were able to identify and name beets, onions and carrots as other veggies that grow underground. Discussing the ingredients while cooking deepens the children’s understanding of where our food comes from, while connecting to it with hands-on experience. We added orange and yellow nasturtiums, cilantro and basil to the pickling solution for spice, flavor and color. The children were excited to learn that even some flowers are edible.
We made homemade ranch dressing, a popular dip that helps to encourage many children to try a new veggie. Our recipe called for fresh herbs from the garden and maple syrup, a healthy alternative to sugar, for a bit of sweetness.
We encourage children to try new foods, and one way is our “Pearls of Wisdom.” Children get to put a pearl into the container when they have tried something new. Many happy and surprised smiles have crossed the children’s faces, “I didn’t know that I liked that food!!”
For two other garden-to-table delicacies, we cooked down or bounty of garden tomatoes for applesauce ketchup and pizza sauce for cauliflower crust pizza! This was a new idea that was warmly received.
We also introduced babaganoush, a dip made with roasted eggplant for veggies and as a filling for cracker sandwiches. While eating the eggplant, we talked about how eggplant is made up of two words (compound word) and the children guessed it was named that since it looked like an egg. These discussions integrate literacy into everyday life.
Snack time is a wonderful time for the children and the teachers to connect, share, learn about where our food comes from, and what children are eating at home, which entwines science, geography as well as cultural and home-school connections in a natural way.
Stayed tuned for our next culinary adventure!