When there's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn, that's the time that people think about apple harvests. Virginia is known for its apples, and there are orchards throughout the state that have the delicious fruit in many varieties. There are apple festivals, too, where you can sometimes pick your own apples and even watch people making spicy, dark apple butter. But whenever people talk about how apple trees were spread across America in the early 1800s, there's always one name that comes up. Johnny Appleseed.
Kids can help out their grown-ups in the kitchen, but they can also make wonderful dishes all by themselves—or with just a little help. Take Mollie Katzen's Number Salad from her kid-friendly cookbook, Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes. It's delicious, nutritious, and a fun way to practice numbers. Here's how to make it:
Put into a bowl:
1 handful of coconut
2 tablespoons of O.J. concentrate
3 pieces of orange
4 slices of apple
5 cubes of cheese
6 slices of banana
7 pieces of melon
...and stir 9 times.
This recipe, complete with friendly, hand-drawn pictures and useful hints, can be found online here. Children may also enjoy Mollie Katzen's Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook and Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up.
On a beautiful day in autumn, a mother and daughter go apple picking and learn all about making delicious apple cider.
Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Fuji apples—you name it, the Cider Mill Farm has it! After picking, they move toward the mill, where scarecrows and pumpkins lead the way. Clean the apples (and don't forget to check for worms!), then watch as every apple does its part. Twist and press and squish and mash those apples to make apple mush!—then see the cider splish and splash.
Lauren Thompson’s story begins, “This is the pie, warm and sweet, that Papa baked.” But how did Papa make the pie? Start with apples, “juicy and red,” then the tree, “crooked and strong,” and so on until we come to “the world, blooming with life, that spins with the sun, fiery and bright…”
Perfect for this time of year, The Apple Pie That Papa Baked is a rollicking picture book illustrated by Jonathan Bean in tones of cream, sepia, black and red, evoking classic illustrations by Virginia Lee Burton and Wanda Gag.
Whether they're Galas, Granny Smiths, Yorks, Winesaps, or Ginger Golds, apples are one of Virginia's loveliest and most useful crops and were much enjoyed by the early colonists and pioneers as well as today's families. Crisp, sweet apples-- harvested in the chilly days of October, can be part of your celebrations in November and December.
An October Excursion to a Mountain Orchard