Apple Activities and Treats
Our blog party is continuing today with a fun set of activities from Terri at Homeschool Gardens. We hope you are enjoying the blog party and getting some creative inspiration to get outside or bring fall inside.
Growing up in the Midwest, I always went apple picking every fall at a massive orchard but now I live in the desert Southwest. We have one tiny orchard that has just a small section of apple trees that never really produces all that well. Apples are still a favorite fall treat but now I just have to buy them at a grocery store. Luckily, our local store stocks many varieties and the selection just exploded as we’re heading into fall so it’s time to spend a week with apples!
My girls recently developed an interest in cooking. They’re old enough now that they can actually help more than just make a mess. So, this week we not only focused on apples but also on them doing the work behind preparing these activities and cooking the recipes.
Apple Taste Test
I was really pleased with the variety of apples our store stocked and I grabbed one of each for a taste test. The girls tasted and rated all the apples to find their favorite ones. The contenders were Granny Smith, Green Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, Crisp Pink, Honeycrisp, Jazz, Ambrosia, Kiku, and Royal Gala. They rated them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best. Kiku and Honeycrisp were their favorites.
I went a little crazy with dips for the taste test activity. I loved dipping apple slices into caramel sauce when I was a kid and most years I try it again but my tastes have changed and it’s just not for me anymore. My kids weren’t really crazy about it last year so I thought I’d try different dips. We normally eat a fairly healthy diet and try to avoid processed foods and sugary treats. So, you can image my kids’ shock when I can home with Nutella, Hersey’s Chocolate dip, marshmallow fluff, and caramel sauce! The marshmallow fluff was my husband’s idea. Apparently, this was a staple in his house growing up but none of us could imagine it on apples. I also added peanut butter to the lineup but neither of them wanted to try it. They tried every apple with every dip and chose their favorite dip for each apple. As I’m sure you can imagine, they were quite tired of apples by the end of it! Their favorite combos were…
- Granny Smith, Crisp Pink, and Honeycrisp with Nutella
- Green Delicious, Red Delicious, and Kiku with marshmallow fluff
- Royal Gala, Fuji, and Jazz with caramel
- Ambrosia with chocolate
- Chocolate was their favorite dip but they preferred it without apples!
Next up we, we turned apples into stamps. My girls cut an apple in half vertically and one horizontally. You can see the star shape of the seed area when you cut the apple horizontally. Each little “arm” of the star has a seed. I don’t think I ever knew that before seeing it in a children’s book. It’s fascinating how that one simple change gives you two completely different views of the inside. They dipped the apples into tempera paint and used them as stamps. I had envisioned a more distinct shape but the girls had a blast and covered their papers in stamps.
My youngest had the idea of painting on the apple slices so she led the 2nd half of the art class for us. She instructed her big sister on how to make a human face, an animal face, and ladybug wings.
Apple Cider from Scratch
We “make” apple cider each year but it just involves buying a jug of cider and simmering it with some spices. This year I wanted to make it from scratch. I’m not much of a cook but I am really good at finding excellent recipes. However, my usual recipe sources left me quite disappointed. Most of the recipes had an insane amount of sugar or were not from scratch. I ended up finding an apple cider recipe from scratch with no added sugar from one of my favorite health and wellness bloggers, The Wellness Mama. Score! My girls did all the work and didn’t completely destroy the kitchen. It was a bit hit! I will warn you though that the recipe filled both of our crock pots so you can easily cut it in half and still end up with plenty. Apple Cider from scratch is going to be a new fall tradition for us.
Apple Pie from Scratch
We saved the best for last…homemade apple pie! Years ago, we belonged to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture group) and we received a huge pile of green apples one week. I had no idea what to do with green apples much less that many of them! My husband suggested apple pie, of course, but I was not a fan of cooked fruit. I found a recipe anyway and made it for him and our girls. It turns out that I LOVE apple pie! Here’s my favorite recipe and even a super simple pie crust recipe. And if you’re like us and try to eat a healthy diet…just try not to pay any attention to the amount of sugar. We eat well so that we can indulge in these occasional treats!
And of course, like the good homeschoolers we are…we read some apple books this week. I used to check out at least a dozen books for each topic we covered. I quickly learned that it is a fantastic way to bore the kids and ruin the topic! The temptation is still there to go nuts with books but now I choose one or two great books to share. This week I read Johnny Appleseed – The Story of a Legend by Will Moses. My 9 year old read A-Z Apples by Margaret McNamara to us…several times.
Spending a week with apples was so much fun and it was fascinating to see how the kids discovered their own ideas about how to use them. Next up, they want to plant a couple of apple trees. Perhaps, in a few years we’ll be using our own harvest for apple activities and treats!
Meet Terri –
Terri is a homeschool mom to two elementary aged girls. When she’s not homeschooling, you can find her out in her community volunteering as a gardening teacher focusing on growing nutrient dense food using organic practices. She’s also the CFO in their family helping them reach their financial goals of paying off their house and retiring early. Join them on their journey of homeschooling, gardening, and personal finance at Homeschool Gardens. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.