Our local apple orchard is about ready to close it’s doors for the season, so that is when I make sure to purchase at least a half bushel of mixed apples for making homemade apple sauce. Apple sauce is super easy to make and fun for the children to help with, so we always make a small batch together.
Using the apple peeler it doesn’t take much to get a saucepan of apples on the stove. Add a dash of lemon juice (to lessen oxidation), a bit of water to help the juicing start and keep apples from sticking and burning on the bottom. Now for lots of chances to take turn stirring. When the apples start to soften bring on the masher.
Having a mix of apples is also the perfect time to to an observation and taste testing.
What have we explored so far: shape of apples, stem vs blossom end, apple structure, a new tool, sharing, motor skills with stirring and mashing, language, sensory and lots of counting. The best year in and year out is the “star” inside each apple. I explained the “star” comes from the blossom and it’s five petals (also a star).
This year I also picked up some apple cider for a new cooking experience: Apple Cider Syrup. I found a simple and tasty recipe at The Craft Patch. This we did while the applesauce was cooking down. More sensory and experiencing matter changing – sugar dissolving and butter melting. How heat and cornstarch thicken a liquid.
The syrup and homemade apple sauce will be perfect with some gluten-free buckwheat pancakes from Gluten Free Foodies. This pancake mix was from scratch which provided another opportunity for cooking lessons. For most children the food they see is already made for them, I believe it’s important for them to understand where the food they consume comes from. All the cooking together we do does this. Having children with food allergies and sensitivities in care by cooking together we start to understand why some foods are safe for some and not others. We also learn that if we change out a non-safe item in a recipe we can still make tasty foods we can all enjoy together.