NewsClub Sprouts Corner: Flavor Balancing Star

Posted Sep 01, 2021

Activity Overview

Creating a perfectly balanced dish doesn't have to be left to a professional chef. This is something that anyone can do at home once you understand the basic flavors of food. There are five flavors that our taste buds recognize: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. These flavors can be paired with one another in order to enhance or balance a dish.

We have created a simple activity called a Flavor Balancing Star to teach you how to pair flavors like a pro and create a dish that will knock your socks (or taste buds!) off! Each of the flavor profiles on your star will either enhance or balance a flavor. Umami is in the center because umami ingredients enhance all of the flavor profiles on your Flavor Balancing Star. Follow the star to get ideas for pairing flavors and creating a perfectly balanced dish!

For example, if you have an ingredient like broccoli and you want to cut the bitter flavor, follow the star to sweet or salty. Broccoli pairs great with sweet sauces and dressings. Try a honey vinaigrette or a teriyaki sauce! Salt also helps to cut bitterness. Try making a stir-fry with soy sauce or roasting broccoli with salt and garlic powder!

Download the Activity

Recipe & Question of the Week

This week's recipe for fruit pops is a great way to practice using your Flavor Balancing Star. Add a splash of lemon juice or a pinch of salt to watermelon and see how the fruit's sweetness transforms. For more daring eaters, try adding a bit of chili powder before taking a bite!

We will also be handing out samples of juice from Star Farm. Star Farm brings fresh juice to the market each week using whatever seasonal fruits and veggies they have on hand. While the flavors are always changing, the juices are always delicious! This week, ask the farmer, "What ingredients are in this juice?" Then, use your Flavor Balancing Star to see how Star Farm created this delicious drink! 

Download the Recipe

Join Club Sprouts

Club Sprouts is geared towards kids ages 4-11 and joining free! Visit the Club Sprouts tent every Wednesday and Saturday at GCM Lincoln Park and every Saturday at GCM West Loop, or click here to get all the details for becoming an official member.  

How to Join Club Sprouts