Using herbs when cooking with children can be so much fun!
Growing and cooking with herbs introduces children to two wonderful life long skills and will help to establish the relationship between growing and eating.
Children can especially love cooking with herbs because herbs stimulate the senses. Encourage your child to pick, look, touch, smell and taste the herb. Also snipping, tearing and grinding can be fun things to do 🙂
Young children may not have heard of the herbs that they eat on a regular basis. So using them in cooking is a great way to educate them. Even young children can learn the smells and tastes associated with different herbs. Including them in cooking is also a good way to improve overall health.
Children are often amazed to learn that they can grow many of the herbs that you use in cooking their meals. Possibly the best bit about using herbs is that children can grow them from seed before they then use them in everyday cooking. This will develop all sorts of skills and also help young children to begin to learn where food comes from and how to care for plants. I have often found that when children grow their own herbs they are eager to use them in cooking.
I think most of us would agree that if children are involved in harvesting and preparing the dish they are more inclined to eat it. Also, children who grow and eat their own herbs are more likely to experiment with flavours which can be helpful in discouraging them from being fussy eaters
Sometimes it is difficult to find age appropriate recipes involving herbs. I have tried to create a few but I am always looking for new ideas so please share with me any you might have. Find some child friendly recipes using herbs here, and three easy dips for children requiring no cooking here. Add your child’s favourite herb to the beany dip.
Or try this fab recipe from Lukeosaurus And Me for a vegetarian tart.
Of course herbs can be added as a final ingredient to many dishes but if they can be included in recipes for children to use, I believe that is much more beneficial. Herbs are great for adding to some common child favourites such as pasta, home made pizza or on cheese on toast.
Herbs can be grown in pots in the garden or of course very successfully on your windowsill. This makes them easy for children to care for and to keep an eye on them as they change over time. Children find it fascinating and exciting to observe them growing.
So how about growing a pasta/pizza herb garden with your child? An Italian herb garden would need basil and parsley. To make it extra fun for your child, growing cherry tomatoes would be perfect as they could be used for making tomato sauce. Your child can then harvest the herbs and tomatoes in order to make the pasta or pizza tomato sauce.
Cherry tomatoes are quite easy to grow and are always popular with children due to being bite-sized. They can easily be grown in containers. You can grow them from seeds which can then be transplanted into pots or go for the much easier option and buy the plants themselves from garden centres.
So for a quick recap:
6 great reasons to use herbs when cooking with children:
- It is fun!
- Herbs stimulate the senses
- Herbs can be snipped or torn onto food/cooking
- Herbs can be grown first
- Herbs are healthy
- Herbs may help develop a taste for different foods
Would you consider using herbs in a recipe to make with your child?