Using our Senses to Investigate Spices

This week the Year 3/4 students were back in the kitchen using their senses of sight and smell to investigate and gather preliminary information about many different spices from all around the world. In the Kitchen Garden Workshops on Wednesday students began to learn about and compare different types of spices as a way to develop both their sensory and cultural awareness.  We will be cooking with these spices later in the term and over this year.

Marly noticed that all of the jars contained natural ingredients, and on opening the jars described one spice (Tumeric) as smelling like a dirty laneway after the rain. 

Baz observed that the spices in jars  5 and 6 (Smoked Paprika and Sweet Paprika) looked like a red desert. Owen L described it as red sand, Lyla thought it looked like dust while Gertie thought it looked more like red lava. Many students agreed that the smoked paprika smelt like a burnt bbq. 

Levi thought the objects in jar 2 (Black Peppercorns) looked like crunchy balls, almost like a small kewi. 

Wren recognised the spice in jar 12 as Star Anise because she had seen it on Masterchef, and Claudia recognised the cloves in jar 14 are the same as what she puts in oranges at Christmas. 

Students smelt spices they were familiar with (Hugh thought that cinnamon reminded him of gingerbread, and cocoa made a few students think of drinking Milo), and were also introduced to a number of spices that might be new to them, like Mountain Pepperleaf and Lemon Myrtle, two indigenous flavours. Some Year 4s connected the scent of Wattleseed to making damper on camp last year.

Students chose a spice that they were curious about to investigate further in Projects and Provocations next week, considering things like where it comes from, how it is made, and how it is used.

What other spices do your family use regularly when cooking at home?

Students were also introduced to a selection of dried herbal teas, some with a single flavour (Peppermint and Chamomile) and others with a mix of ingredients (such as Ginger, Fennel, Cinnamon Bark, and Orange Peel). They were asked to think about what scents and flavours they might include if they were to design a ‘Welcome Tea’ to serve at our Learning Expo in Week 7.

What scents do you encounter around your kitchen, garden (or somewhere else!) that you connect to the concept of welcome?