Mass production, food processing, and microwave meals have removed much of the old fashioned flavors our great grandparents achieved by cooking from whole foods. When kids grow an organic raised bed veggie garden, they can rediscover the big flavors of cooking organic produce from scratch.
Herbs: Kids can add health and flavor to every meal by clipping a sprig or two of the herbs they are growing among their veggies. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, cilantro, and basil, are aromatics used in savory and sweet preparations.
Bulbs: Favorite flavor boosters around the world are onion and garlic, which are bulbs that kids can plant on the perimeter of their garden to repel pests.
Spices: Kids can also grow aromatic spices in their garden. Spices can be a tree bark, like cinnamon, a flower bud, like clove, a pod, like cardamom, a berry, like black peppercorn, or a root, like turmeric and ginger. Many spices are seeds, such as coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nutmeg, poppy, and sesame. Roasting seeds and nuts bring out their flavor and aroma and adds crunch to the dish.
Chilies: Kids can grow chili peppers in their garden to add heat, fragrance, and brightness to food. The active ingredient that produces the heat in chilies is capsaicin, which releases endorphins in the brain and brings a feeling of well being.
Kids can experiment with the basic tastes that our taste buds perceive, which are salt, acid, sugar, fat, bitter, and umami. To get big flavor in a dish, kids can learn to balance the recipe with the right amount of each of these tastes.
Salt: Kids can make their food taste better by balancing the basic tastes in their dish and continually adding pure sea salt, such as Real Salt from Utah, throughout the cooking process.
Sugar: There are many organic sugars kid can add to recipes, like pure maple syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar, pomegranate molasses, or organic cane sugar.
Acids: Kids can grow a citrus tree in a pot on the patio for fresh citrus juice and zest that can be added for a bright finish to any dish. Organic apple cider vinegar or organic balsamic vinegar are also healthy and delicious acid choices.
Bitter: Kids can get balance of flavors by adding radicchio, chicory, arugula, or endive to their dish.
Umami: Umani is a Japanese word for the savory flavor found in proteins, mushrooms, cocoa, truffles, tomatoes, and soy sauce.
Kids can learn to taste as they cook and recognize when they achieve that wonderful balance of flavor.