Disclaimer: I received these herbs as a gift from the company. The thoughts and opinions below are my own.
I met a lot of great produce companies when I went to the PMA expo as part of #TeamFreshSummit (KitchenPLAY). One of those companies, Gourmet Garden, surprised me with this set of lightly dried herbs which was perfect for a Little Chef lesson!
Introducing preschool age kids to herbs is a really good idea because it gives them courage to explore new foods. I especially want Eva to try new flavors because her food allergies tend to make her scared of unfamiliar tastes. To be fair, if you knew you had a terrible allergy to nuts but didn’t actually know what nuts tasted like, I guess it would be hard to not be on red alert every time something new showed up.
These little herb pods were perfect because she was excited about opening them up and we were able to turn it into a little tasting game. I thought she might be intimidated at how intense dried herbs can be, but these were the perfect amount of flavor for this activity.
First, I let her smell them all and we talked about how they were made. (This is a root, this is a pepper, these are leaves, etc.)
Then, I grabbed some water crackers and some ricotta cheese (nut-allergy safe, of course) and we made ourselves some little taste bites. I chose ricotta because it has such a nice blank flavor that tends to compliment anything it’s paired with. Also, I was a little worried about the chili pepper tasting and I figured pairing it with a nice cool base might help.
Eva started with a cracker that only had cheese on it so she could get a base flavor and then she sprinkled a bit of each herb onto a loaded cracker. I definitely had to monitor the sprinkling because she was trying to pour it on, but she got the hang of it!
Then, she went down the line and tasted them all. I really wasn’t sure how her reactions would be, but I was pleasantly surprised. She didn’t like all of them (not a fan of chili pepper and uncertain about cilantro) but she did finish all of the tasting crackers and she was very focused on determining how she felt about each flavor.
I wasn’t surprised about which ended up being her favorite. I cook with ginger fairly often because it’s one of my favorite flavors and I really like that little heat tickle that happens in your nose when you get a good gingery bite. Apparently that’s genetic.
Thanks for the herbs, Gourmet Garden!