Mystery Vegetable

Published January 18, 2013 | Updated December 2, 2015
Subject: Culinary, English, Nutrition Education, Science, Social Studies
Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Place of Learning: Garden, Kitchen, Cafeteria, Academic Classroom
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1
Uploaded by:
Jennifer Bedrosian

In this lesson, students discuss the seasons, explore seasonal food from the garden, and participate in a mystery vegetable tasting.


Students will be able to:

  • Recall the 4 seasons
  • Identify the current season
  • Explain how seasons change over time
  • Explore and Identify seasonal garden vegetables, using the senses
  • Taste both raw and cooked mystery vegetable
  • Identify the mystery vegetable

Students will be able to:

  • Correctly identify the seasons
  • Correctly identify the current season
  • Use descriptive language to describe how the seasons change over time
  • Use descriptive language to articulate the sensory vegetable observation
  • Paticipate in vegetable tasting
  • Use observations and findings to correctly identify the mystery vegetable
  • At least 3 different whole vegetables grown in the garden
  • 1 sweet potato (or other seasonal vegetable) for tasting raw
  • 1 sweet potato (or other seasonal vegetable) for tasting cooked
  • 1 sweet potato for the mystery vegetable reveal
  • knife/ cutting board
  • baking tray
  • seasoning:  olive oil, salt, cinnamon
  • Prepare sweet potato, peel and cut into sticks
  • Prepare sweet potato, peel and cut into chunks
  • Put the sweet potato sticks into a cup or arrange on a plate
  • Toss the sweet potato chunks with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a little cinnamon
  • Bake sweet potato chunks in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until soft
  • Make sure there are at least 3 seasonal vegetables from the garden.  Harvest the vegetables and display on a table for the students to explore.

At the opening circle:

  • Introduce the lesson for the day. 
  • Ask students any of the following questions, depending on your group:  "Do you have a garden at home?"  "Have you ever visited a garden?" "What have you noticed?"  "Is a garden colorful?" "What colors do you see now?"  "Who can tell me the four seasons?"  "  Who can tell me what season it is right now?"  "When you look in the garden, have you noticed if those colors change over time- as the seasons change?" "What are some of your favorite fruits or vegetables from the garden?"
  • Today we are going to observe and taste some vegetables grown in the garden during (the current season) Fall/Winter. 
  • Introduce the vegetables students will be exploring.  We used sweet potato, turnip, carrot, butternut squash, and pumpkin.  Allow students to pass around the whole vegetables and articulate what they notice about each one.  Use the senses to explore the vegetables.  Be sure to notice where the vegetable was attached to the plant, colors, smell, texture, etc.  Ask students to identify the names of the vegetables as they are being passed around.  At this time, students may want to share stories of their favorites.


  • Explain to students that we are now going to taste a mystery vegetable.  They've already explored the vegetable in its whole form.  Now it is time to taste it- and guess what it is. 
  • Pass around the prepared sweet potato sticks (BUT DON'T TELL THEM WHAT IT IS)!  
  • Again, ask students to use the senses to explore the vegetable.
  • Ask students for guesses.  Many will think it is a carrot.  Ask what made them come to that conclusion.
  • Explain to students that they will be tasting the same vegetable, prepared in a different way.  This time the vegetable is cooked.  Pass around a plate of the prepared cooked sweet potato chunks.  Aha!  Usually this time the vegetable is a little more familiar.  Now ask students to make a guess as to which vegetable they are tasting. Ask why?  Did the students change their minds?  What made them change their minds?
  • Gather the students around for the big mystery vegetable reveal.  I like to use a kitchen towel to cover the vegetable and pull it off to reveal the vegetable they have tasted.  Sometimes the kids like to drumroll.
  • Further discussion can take place around the differences between the raw and cooked vegetable, other things they have tasted before that taste similar, and how foods can taste very different, depending on how they are prepared.



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