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Teaching kids about herbs Empty Teaching kids about herbs

Post by Sonshine on Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:08 am

Introducing children, or anyone who is not familiar with herbs, to this wonderful, stimulating world of scent and flavor should be a pleasurable experience. Don’t overwhelm them; a subtle hint of flavor is enough to start, so begin with milder flavors and small amounts; you can always add more. I ask my girls to try new things but never force them. They still prefer the same foods that most children like—pizza, spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, and (to my chagrin) commercial macaroni and cheese—but their palates are slowly developing.

Most children’s favorite herbs are the sweeter ones such as anise hyssop, fennel, fruit-scented sage, lemon balm, and the mints. They also seem to prefer herbs that they have tasted in familiar foods, including basil, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Encourage children to pick the herbs, rub their leaves, and smell them. Talk about the fragrance: is it lemony or spicy, does it remind them of spaghetti sauce? Next, take bunny nibbles. Is it sweet, or does it taste green?

Children usually have no problem with the idea of eating flowers. Always be sure that you have properly identified the flowers and that they are safe to eat, and make sure that children understand that some flowers are poisonous and are not to be sampled. There is a definite preference at our home for violas, anise hyssop and fennel flowers, and daylilies. The violas—pansies, violets, and Johnny-jump-ups—are mild-tasting, rather like a lettuce with a hint of sweetness. Both anise hyssop and fennel have that clean, sweet, anise-licorice flavor, while daylilies are crunchy, fresh, and vegetablelike.

Gathering herbs and vegetables from the garden is a pleasure for people of all ages. Using them in the kitchen can be fun, challenging, and creative. Start simple. For instance, when making deviled eggs, try a little chopped dill to complement the creaminess of the egg yolks and the sweetness of the pickle. The next time you melt cheese in a quesadilla, add a few cilantro leaves or chopped chives. A teaspoon or two of chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or marjoram improves the flavor of any biscuit dough, and a wonderful aroma fills the house as the biscuits bake. Green beans, a vegetable that most children will eat, are delicious chilled and tossed with a vinaigrette that has a little chopped savory or dill added. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley or basil on scrambled eggs.

To read the entire article please go to the link.

He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]

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