Monday, February 16, 2015

Taste test: Moroccan Carrot Salad

Our goal for 2014 was to expose Somerville students to new foods and flavors. We accomplished that by hosting sensory taste tests in all seven of our elementary schools.  Approximately 520 students (23% or 523 out of 2280 students) from our elementary schools participated. We reached 30 first through sixth grade classrooms with yummy fruit and vegetable based recipes.

In June, students at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School tried a Spinach Strawberry Salad, in September students at the East Somerville Community School tasted Baba Ganoush made with eggplant from their school garden, and in October students at the Argenziano School sampled Hummus with vegetables.

In November, ~330 students at five elementary schools tried a Moroccan Carrot Salad.  This recipe was a mixture of familiar ingredients coupled with unique spices and herbs. The sweet and sour salad was a great choice for a sensory taste test because it exposed the students to a new combination of flavors and textures. In this recipe, provided by Project Bread, kid-friendly fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples were seasoned with pungent garlic and ginger and topped with zesty cilantro.

Grated carrots and diced apples are sprinkled with raisins, ginger and garlic

Did you try it? Would you eat it again?

Despite the strong aroma of the salad, over 90% of the students tried it!  Fresh garlic and ginger can overwhelm even the most sophisticated of palettes so we are very proud of the students for trying this recipe. Some of the students admitted to being nervous so discussed why it is difficult to try new foods. We also talked about trying new foods many times, even throughout our lifetimes, because taste buds can change as we grow older.
Fifty-six percent of the students would eat the salad again! When asked to share what they liked and disliked about the salad they didn't hold their opinions back!

Content and images provided by Karyn Novakowski, Farm to School Project Director

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