Grinding spices with kids

Last week, we discussed how grinding your own spices is easy and absolutely worth your time. This week, we show you how it's also an amazing opportunity to involve your kids in the kitchen. 

According to Kelly Mezyk Mokkapati, an educator, mom and founder of Felted (www.felted.net), children of all ages learn best through their senses and cooking with kids is a lovely way to integrate sensory play into your child's day. Grinding spices encourages fine motor skill usage. While cooking, kids have to work with a parent, sibling or nanny, encouraging social and emotional development. Linguistically, there are terms in the English language that are best understood when experienced - rough, smooth, squishy, aromatic - all words that toddlers love. 

A great spice to get kids to grind is cardamom (you can also enlist their help in grinding spices like cumin, coriander and clove in the mortar and pestle). Dry roast the whole cardamom pods on medium heat for 1-2 minutes to activate the aromatic oils and set aside to cool. Encourage your kids to smash the cooled pods open (under supervision) and separate the little black seeds from the outer green shell. This activity alone occupies my easily distracted toddler for 30 minutes. They can then help grind down the black seeds or you can take over at this point. Wonderful uses for this freshly ground cardamom include our Cardamom Mango Lassi and Cardamom Chocolate Popsicles, both perfect treats on a sweltering summer day. 

And don't forget to say thanks to your adorable sous chef!

With Love & Spice

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