We’re always told not to play with our food but sometimes it’s tricky not to! Here are some interesting investigations on food and our sense of taste.

Everything tastes the same!

Investigate how your senses of smell, taste and sight work together to help you enjoy your food. Get a few different fruits or vegetables such as carrot, apple, potato, turnip, parsnip or pear. Either grate or chop them into small pieces (all about the same size). Now get a volunteer to close their eyes and hold their nose while you feed them a little of each. Can they work out which is which? They probably can’t as you need all of your senses for your brain to identify a food. You could try different foods or different people (are adults or children better at this?). Apparently even strong-tasting foods such as garlic don’t taste any different from a potato if you hold your nose but I’ve never been brave enough to try! You could try chewing a small piece of raw potato while sniffing a piece of apple, does it start to taste of apple?

Multi-coloured celery

A boring old piece of celery can teach you lots about how plants work. Plants do not have veins and blood like us but they do have a system to move things around. They have special tubes called xylem vessels to carry water up from their roots to their leaves. You can see this in action if you put a stick of celery in a glass of coloured water (use food colouring). After a couple of hours you will see the colour has moved up the stem. If you cut across it, you will be able to see the xylem vessels clearly. You could try splitting the base of the celery stick and putting each half in a different colour do the colours mix or stay on their own sides? Try looking at other veg when you’re eating, can you see the xylem vessels in a carrot or lettuce?