Sub-Project: Dried Fruit Ornaments
Description: Dried sliced apples are perfect for holiday ornaments but are also a great way for you to explore nutrition with your kids. Take a season fruit that can be preserved in different ways (such as an apple or orange) and have the children try the fresh fruit and then the dried. How has the flavor changed? And are there any differences in the texture? Ask the children to describe both to you. Help them extend their vocabulary with new words.
Instructions on how to dry apples:
1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine 4 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a medium bowl. (The lemon juice helps prevent browning.)
3. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline (if you have one), slice 2 large apples as thin as possible, about 1/8 inch thick. (We skip peeling and coring because we like the look of the dried skins and the pretty pattern the core makes in the center.) Soak the slices in the lemon water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat the slices as dry as possible with paper towels (or clean kitchen towels). Place on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer.
4. Bake the slices on the upper and lower racks for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and turn each slice over; return the pans to the oven. Bake 1 more hour for soft dried apples or about 2 more hours for crispy apple chips. (Timing depends on your oven, the type of apple and thickness of the slices; check periodically and reduce or increase the total time as needed.) Turn off the oven, crack the door and leave the apples in the oven until the oven cools completely, 1 to 2 hours. Store airtight for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Makes: about 4 dozen apple slices or chips.
Collaborative Project: Dry season fruit and exchange you dried fruit with another classroom from a different part of the world. It’ll be so much fun to get a care-package and you can send them a picture of a beautiful collage you make with the dried fruit.
Learning Objective: Exploring nutrition through different states (fresh versus dried), aesthetically conserving fruit, vocabulary development.
Time frame: whole year