Apple picking season is in full swing, and we (like everyone else and their mamas) went to the orchard this weekend. We brought home two pecks of apples, a half dozen cider donuts, and a bunch of gorgeous pumpkins in all shades, shapes and sizes. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, not just for the weather, foliage, and food, but for the projects. Fall is such an awesome time to be home crafting, reading and cooking with littles, and we do lots of it. Since we have so many apples on hand (as I'm sure some of you do), it's time for some baking, reading, and science(ing?).
Today we did the obvious apple sauce, since all the littlers were sleeping and it was just Jude and I. He's grown to be a great kitchen helper, so apple sauce only takes about half an hour. He got his own set of kitchen knives for his birthday this past year, and they are awesome. I do the peeling and coring, he did the chopping all by himself. The nice thing about apple sauce is that the size of the apples makes no difference,unlike with a pie, so messy chopping is all good! I highly recommend these knives if you have a toddler who wants to help in the kitchen!
We make our favorite apple sauce every year, and it's so simple it's hardly a recipe. We fill a Dutch oven with the peeled chopped apples (I used a full peck of apples), the rind of one lemon (try to keep the peel in one piece so it's easy to remove later), 1 tsp. of cinnamon and a 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg. Squeeze the lemon juice over and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are softened and break down easily. You can mash it with the back of a spoon or puree with an immersion blender if you wish. This yields about a quart and a pint of applesauce, which goes really fast around here!
While we make our apple sauce we always talk a little about irreversible change, observe the differences in our apples from start to finish, and review kitchen safety, too. There's a cute episode of Sid the Science kid that uses apple sauce as a science experiment, just in case you have Netflix!
We also read a few new appley books today, and there are so many out there! I grabbed a few at the library yesterday, and was so happy that they turned out to be great ones!
We started with Apple Pie ABC by Allison Murray, which is a quick board book with adorable illustrations and some great new vocab. Jude now knows "ogle," "pine." and "determined!" It follows a little dog through the alphabet while he tries to get a slice of the apple pie his owner has baked and not shared with her little pup.
The next book was Rain Makes Applesauce which I chose by the cover (shame on the teacher in me). It's lovely, just lovely. The illustrations are beautiful, the story is so clever and creative, and Jude loved the silly parts. It's like it came straight from a child's imagination. I'm ordering a copy!
The last book is not apple themed, but it's a cookbook and it has a great Apple Charlotte recipe in it! If you love Mary Poppins or quirky stories like I do, the book Mary Poppins in the Kitchen will be a favorite. It's definitely for the older set, but I read the first chapter aloud to Jude today and he loved it. We will likely do a chapter a day and try to bake as many of the recipes as we can. We're going to make the Apple Charlotte for tonight's dessert!
I hope you enjoy these ideas and the recipe!