Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Ten: A is for Apple

Nor is it every apple I desire,
Nor that which pleases every palate best;
'T is not the lasting Deuxan I require,
Nor yet the red-cheeked Greening I request,
Nor that which first beshrewed the name of wife,
Nor that whose beauty caused the golden strife:
No, no! bring me an apple from the tree of life!
- Henry David Thoreau

One of our favorite things about fall is fresh ripe apples. Apple pie, applesauce, dried apples, apple muffins. They're fun to pick, fun to cook with, fun to play with, and fun to eat. We've been gifted with friends who have apple trees, including our lovely neighbor, so we've got dried apples in the pantry and pie filling in the freezer.

A is for Apple: Ten Fall Apple Activities

1. Apple prints.

This is such a simple craft to do with children. Slice an apple in half, cross-wise. Dip it into paint. Wipe or dab off the excess paint onto a paper towel, and stamp the apple onto a piece of fall-colored paper. (More directions here, here or here.)

The fine young gents made apple prints on white paper with a few of the apples we were gifted by our lovely neighbor. They wrote, "We love apples!" and "We love Joyce!" and "Thank you for the apples!"

2. 101 Nature-Oriented Things to Do This Fall

"#59: While eating an apple, locate the seeds and remants of the flower's calyx and stamens, as shown halfway down our Fruity Orientation Page."

From Backyard Nature with naturalist Jim Conrad: http://www.backyardnature.net/

(Nature journal entry originally posted here on 11/03/07)

3. Whole-wheat apple muffins from Smitten Kitchen


4. Bob for apples.

What a hoot! The fine young gents and I spent a hilarious twenty minutes bobbing for apples on Friday. We didn't have one of those galvanized buckets, so we made do with a plastic storage bin from the closet. The younger gents were hesitant in an "Are you crazy?" kind of way, until their elder brother shoved his face clear to the bottom of the bin to get his teeth into the biggest reddest apple of the bunch. Then they all got into the spirit of the game, until even Mom ducked under. We were soaked and breathless from laughing.

5. Compare apples to apples: Hold an apple-tasting.

You need:
Apples, at least 4-5 different varieties
Paper towels or paper plates upon which to write the names of the apple varieties and to place the apple slices
A knife and cutting board
People to taste the apples
A pencil and paper and/or graph paper if you'd like to record or graph the results

First, choose your apples, approximately one apple of each variety for every 5-7 people. We got about 14-16 slices per apple, depending on the size, so one apple of each variety was more than enough for our family of seven. Try to choose apples that are fresh and at their prime so you get the best flavors.
Next, label the apples. At the fruit stand I didn't write down the names of the apples we'd chosen, thinking I'd remember them when we got home. Ha! I called the kids' cousins. Can you believe that from the suggestions, "Mabel Rose" and "Marley" and "Marigold" I actually remembered that the last variety was called Marlow?

Last, slice, taste, and vote.
We wrote our votes right on the paper towels next to the apple names and created the graph later. That way we didn't have to stop to do the math part until we were done with our snack.
(taken from this post, Apples to Apples, originally posted 10/26/07)

This year ('08) the Jonagold was still the favorite for most of us, but there was a surprise runner-up. The divinely crisp, but decidedly less flavorful Honeycrisp, was unseated by the Granny Smith apple, and the deciding votes came from our pickiest children--just the two you'd think would prefer the blander sweet taste of the Honeycrisp over the tart Grannies.

6. Visit www.allaboutapples.com It's all about apples. No kidding. Interested in apple varieties? More than you'd ever want to know about apple varieties on the Comprehensive Apple Variety List. Find an orchard near you on their Orchards page. Read about apples and health.

7. Head to the orchard.
An apple tastes its very best when you've just plucked it from the tree. An outing to the orchard on a cool fall day makes a lovely nature outing. Take your notebooks out to explore the orchard, and pick a few apples to bring home.

8. Read apple books.
One Good Apple: Growing Our Food for the Sake of the Earth, Catherine Paladino.
A picture book about sustainable agriculture. (Poohsticks review here.)

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains (Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Henderson).
A delightful tall tale, the story of how a young girl named Delicious (along with her brothers and sisters) helps her daddy bring an orchard from Iowa to Oregon. Outlandish as only a tall tale can be, it is based on the true story of Henderson Lewelling and his family, who brought apple and other fruit trees to the Willamette Valley and planted the first orchard in Milwaukee, Oregon. The story is a perfect read-aloud, funny and clever, and the illustrations are wonderful.

How Do Apples Grow? (Let's Read and Find Out Science), Betsy Maestro, Ill. by Giulio Maestro.
We enjoy all of the Let's Read and Find Out Science series. They're always informative and always have great illustrations. We've got this one on hold from the library.

The Apple Pie Tree, Zoe Hall, Ill. by Shari Halpern.
A book following the development of an apple tree through the seasons. The illustrations remind me a little of Lois Ehlert, who wrote a similar book called Pie in the Sky about a cherry tree.

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree, Gail Gibbons.
One of the many things we appreciate about studying apples is that they offer the opportunity to study the seasons, so the study extends beyond just what we can do in the fall. We've already planned a spring visit to the apple orchard, and to our neighbor's back yard trees, to see the blossoms as they grow and develop into apples. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree follows the seasonal changes of an apple tree, making it a perfect book to read now, and re-read in the spring as the fruit trees begin to bloom.

Apples, Gail Gibbons.
We really enjoy Gail Gibbons books. We've requested this book from the library as well. During apple season all of the apple books are out. Pumpkin books too. Thank goodness for the online request system. We've placed a hold on several apple books and pumpkin books.

9. Dried apple crafts.
We have not yet tried these projects, but they're definitely on the to-do list. If we don't get to them this year, definitely next year. Dried apple wreaths or garlands and apple dolls.

10. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Eat up! They're delicious, inexpensive and nutritious.

More Apple Fun

Apples at Enchanted Learning

A cider press coloring page

Apple recipes for kids

Apple coloring pages for kids

Apple experiments

Make an apple mummy

Apples, Apples! A mini unit study page.

"After Apple-Picking" by Robert Frost

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