|The beautiful fall view out my living room window.|
Fall is such a beautiful time here in the Midwest! It may be a little chilly and a little wet, but the stunning colors and the plentiful harvest more than make up for it. Around here, you can't think about fall without thinking APPLES, so I figured making some apple butter with Trevor would be a great activity!
This activity is suggested in The Kids' Nature Book that we are using and the concept is also used in one of the Sid the Science Kid experiments, so I put the two together, added a little of my own flare, and came up with a great little activity for this fall morning.
First we gathered all of our materials. I know this is not a precise kind of recipe, but we took the opportunity to get out the food scale and weigh the apples. We talked about what a scale does and then Trevor watched the numbers as Mackenzie added apples to the bowl on the scale.
I let the kids watch some TV while I sat and cut up the apples. This is what we were left with after Mackenzie ate about every other one that I put in the pot =) The lesson learned is to feed your little girl breakfast before you start this activity! (You may have noticed the kids are still in their PJ's...we started this activity first thing in the morning since it's supposed to cook all day!)
This is where the science part came in. As soon as I finished cutting the apples up, I told Trevor to come over and mash them up into apple sauce for me. He tried and the first thing he said was "They're too hard!" I asked Trevor to tell me what else he observed about the apples that were in the pot. He needed a little prompting about what to look for, but he came up with that they apples were kind of yellow, cold, and crunchy. I told him that we would observe the apples again after they had been cooked.
So we set the slow cooker to cook for a few hours. After about two hours we observed the apples again. Very carefully I had Trevor try to mash the apples. This time they were soft! Now they were also hot (instead of cold), turning brown (instead of yellow), and mushy (instead of crunchy...but of course he didn't taste them at this point....too hot!) Then we added some honey and our spices and left the apples to continue cooking.
Then I made up this copywork sheet for him to practice reading and writing the words that he had used to describe this apples. Fell free to download this to use with your children!
Here is the recipe that I ended up using:
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
5 lbs Apples, peeled and cored
2T maple syrup
1/2 c honey (adjust to your liking depending on the type of apples you use)
- Cut apples into chunks and place into slow cooker. Add maple syrup and cook on low for 2 hours (or until apples can be mashed).
- Add honey and spices and mash to combine.
- Stir/mash every hour until desired consistency is obtained (it may take several hours). Let cook with the lid off if you have excess moisture.
- Use immediately, refrigerate leftovers to be used within a few days, or save in a jar to be frozen or canned for future use or to be given as gifts.
If you are planning to give apple butter as gifts, head over to Money Saving Mom to print off some free labels for your jars!