There are so many herbs and spices out there that it’s hard to know where to start! In the past, I’ve had my students pick an herb or spice to research and present to the rest of the class. While that was okay, I wanted something a little more “spicy” (pardon my pun) and interactive. After wracking my brain for how I was going to do this, I put it aside for a while. Finally, after months of mulling this over in my head, the following activities and labs came to fruition and were worth the wait! I hope your students like them as much as mine did!
- In Simon & Garfunkel’s song “Are you Going to Scarborough Fair?” There is a line “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” that is repeated throughout. What is that line referring to? Listen here.
- The song is referring to herbs. What are herbs? We often hear the phrase “herbs and spices”. What are spices? Are herbs and spices nutritional? Are herbs and spices used beyond culinary reasons? Let’s find out.
- Electronic Devices for QR Codes or Laptops for Links
- Variety of Herbs & Spices
- Baby Food Jars or Ziploc Baggies
- Note: I made QR Codes for students to access the articles, clips and charts for the activities listed below, but I’ve also included the links just in case you need them.
- Activity #1: Students read this article about herbs and spices and answer questions (see attachments).
- Activity #2: Do students know their herbs and spices? Identify the numbered herbs and spices in each of the baggies. A WORDLE bank is provided.
- Activity #3: Students view this YouTube clip on the Top 10 Herbs and Spices and complete the guide sheet while watching.
- Activity #4: Students will learn more about the ten referenced herbs and spices from the video clip by completing the chart below, using this website.
- Activity #5: In activity #2 students had to identify the dried versions of herbs, can they identify them in their fresh forms? Play this game to find out. Note:There are a lot more herbs and spices in this game than what was covered in the first four activities so I include a word bank.
- Once students have completed the above activities, it’s time for a taste test. Since I have 3 kitchens/lab groups I have students in each group thinly slice potatoes and place them on a foil covered jelly roll pan that’s been divided into three sections, and sprayed with non-stick spray. Potato slices are divided evenly into the three sections as flat as possible, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled by section and kitchen with different herbs. Students write labels on post-it notes to place in front of the pan for the evaluation. Once baked, students sample and evaluate. Note: Since most students are familiar with cinnamon, I leave it optional especially because we are tasting it on potatoes.
- Finally, discuss the results of each taste test and encourage students to experiment with herbs and spices as they cook and bake, using the reference charts as their guide if necessary.
Image courtesy of jk1991 at Free Digital Photo