Comparative taste tests provide an engaging, multi-sensory opportunity to encourage young people to try new fruits and vegetables. By asking for students’ opinions, we demonstrate interest in and respect for their preferences. Students, in return, will often become less reluctant to try something new when given the opportunity to weigh in with an opinion. Some schools conduct voting booths at Health Fairs, with each visitor voting for their favorite variety of winter squash, for example. Other schools use students’ responses to comparative taste tests to determine school lunch menu items. Whatever the scale or purpose of your taste test, this is a tried-and-true method for inspiring curiosity and courage to try new things.
Taste Testing Forms and Resources
- Vermont FEED – A Guide to Taste Testing Local Foods in Schools An extremely comprehensive resource with case studies, recipes, sample charts/handouts, and more. 48 Pages
- Creating a Taste Test Event: A Resource for School Nutrition Professionals from Rutgers University
- CookingWithKids.net: Free Tasting lessons on a variety of crops, recipes, and more resources for classroom cooking. Incredible resources!
- Harvest of the Month a three year cycle of 36 educator newsletters highlighting a different crop for each month, newsletter templates, reading lists and more.
- Life Lab’s Comparative Tasting Form
- Introduction and Bright Ideas for Taste Test Success Video from Georgia Organics Join educator Jenna Mobley for this hands-on, interactive workshop to learn about incorporating mindful taste testing and hands-on cooking into everyday learning, using Turnip the Volume lessons.
- Rate the Taste Activity Taste testing lesson, food safety tips and tasting tally sheet in Spanish and English
- Taste The Difference Activity Students use all of their senses to identify subtle differences between four varieties of the same fruit or vegetable. They then describe each sample, and finally work together to perform a poem or other creative presentation for the class.
- Common Core Standards Used in Cooking and Tasting