October is National Apple Month; so get ready to celebrate by crunching into one of America’s favorite fruits. Next time you pull one from your lunch sack or the fruit bowl, see if you can detect any resemblance between the apple and a rose since it belongs to the rose family. Apples come in different colors, textures and flavors. Don’t rely on apples being red, as they come in shades and combinations of reds, yellows, and greens. Count the seeds in the core and think of the legend of Johnny Appleseed. Perhaps there is no greater apple legend than that surrounding that man from Massachusetts named John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. For 50 years, from 1795 to 1845, he is said to have planted apple seeds throughout the Ohio Valley. In fact, many of the apple trees found in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania are descended from trees that were originally planted by Johnny Appleseed. Since September 26, 1774 is his birthday, you might want to check out a book from the library and read about this famous apple lover.
Bring the spirit of fall to your home with these fun apple activities:
Apple stamps are great on tee shirts, hats, tote bags, pillowcases, potholders, book covers, or just artwork-you name it. And they’re so easy to make. Slice the apple in half. Blot the cut side on a paper towel to absorb the juice. Apply paint to the apple’s cut side with a brush and stamp. To this apple print, you can add green leaves and a black stem and seeds with a fine tip brush. Use poster paints on paper and fabric paints on cloth projects. The way you cut the apple determines the print you make. If you cut it horizontally across the core, there is a hidden star in the middle.
The simplicity of this applesauce recipe will appeal to your sense of time but delightful to make this time of year. Peel six apples and cut them into chunks. Place these into a blender along with one-half cup honey and a few drops of water. Blend until smooth. What if you added cinnamon or lemon? How would it change the flavor? Try these variations and talk about the taste.
APPLES ON A STRING:
Learn a method of food preservation that’s been used for thousands of years. It’s a great understanding of cause and effect. Wash and core several apples. Cut them into thin rings. Dilute some lemon juice with an equal amount of water and dip the rings into this mixture. Using a plastic needlework needle threaded with yarn, pierce through each apple slice placing several on each piece of string. Make sure the slices are not touching each other. Hang the rings in a warm, dry place for a few days to one week. Store the dried apple rings in a plastic container or jar with a tight lid. Talk about other dried foods such as raisins, apricots, pineapple, banana chips and jerky. What are some of the differences between the fresh foods and dried? Why do you think the changes occurred with the apple slices? What would happen if you placed a dried apple ring in water?
APPLES AND CHEESE:
Apples and cheese are a classic American treat. Here’s a fun and delicious table decoration to make together. Use a fork to poke holes into an apple. Push pretzel sticks into small cubes of cheese and then proceed to put the sticks into the holes of the apple. As a variation, cut bite-size pieces of other fruits, such as pears, bananas, grapes and pitted cherries. Attach these to the apple for a complete fruit snack. Make one apple per person and place this at each place setting during a family meal.
Give each person two apple wedges, peanut butter, and six mini-marshmallows. Let them spread the peanut butter on each apple wedge, then put the marshmallows in a row on one slice. Next, place the other wedge on top. You know have a “toothy smile” to giggle over, eat and enjoy!
This is also a fun activity. Take an apple and core out the center. Stuff it with peanut butter, or cream cheese. Wrap it in plastic and chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, slice the apple in rounds. You will have a tasty center to eat with each apple slice!
Pass these “sayings” around the house for some extra fall apple fun. See who has heard of these quotes.
“She’s the apple of his eye!”
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
“One rotten apple spoils the bunch”
“He has a very large Adam’s apple”
Since apples are abundant during the fall months, make sure to do some of these activities during National Apple Month with your family and enjoy the fragrance and nutrition of this special fruit.
Johnny Appleseed Junior Ecology Club