Stage your own at-home apple festival – complete with all the fixings – and enjoy a fun afternoon of mostly healthy entertainment. Apples. Chocolate. Nuts. Caramel. It’s a delicious way to encourage your kids to establish positive relationships with healthy, sustainable food choices.
Eat a Lot of Apples
In our effort to maintain a mostly local diet, we eat a lot of apples. They come into season in the late summer and are readily available into the early winter.
Apples From the Farmer’s Market
Supermarkets tend to stock only a few varieties and many of these are cultivated for their color, durability and shelf life not for their flavor. In actuality, there are over 2500 varieties of apples that grow in North America alone, so there is an apple for even the most discerning palette, it’s just a matter of finding it. If you’re looking for specifics near you, the All About Apples directory is a good place to start. For our apple celebration, we hit the fall farmer’s market. I set the kids loose with the task of finding two of every kind of apple. The result was awesome. Red. Pink. Yellow. Green. Big. Small. Round. Oval. More heart shaped than anything. We’d been to the market every weekend this summer and often chosen a few apples to enjoy, but to really appreciate their diversity, we needed to turn our full attention to the unsung fruit.
The Apple Spread
Back at home, we sectioned 10 apples, each a different kind, and created a spread with an assortment of toppings. The most challenging part of this day was warding off the eager fingers who wanted to start the party early! For dipping: blueberry honey, chocolate hazelnut spread, ginger caramel sauce and vanilla yogurt. For topping: crushed almonds, unsweetened coconut and sparkles.
2500 Kinds of Apple
The apples were as diverse in flavour and texture as they were in shape andcolour. Some were tart, others sweet. Some had thick skins, other’s thin skins. A large green apple called the Mutsu surprised us all as emerging the family favorite. It’s crisp meat and sweet flavour won us over, especially with chocolate sauce and almonds! At the other end of the spectrum, we really liked a red apple called a Zabergall, which was equally crisp, but very tart. It paired perfectly with the blueberry honey. My son – whose never really been the apple fan in our family – really enjoyed a softer variety called Grimes Golden. Since I prefer crisp apples and I do the buying, I didn’t know! Neither of the kids cared much for the crab apples, but I’m looking forward to surprising them by turning them into the most delicious jelly they can imagine!
Apples Today, Sustainability Tomorrow
Beyond a fun afternoon full of mostly healthy entertainment, I believe whole heartedly that establishing these positive relationships with sustainable food choices will help our children to live their lives in a conscientious way. When we talk about local eating, we are sometimes confronted with a “how can you give up XY or Z?” attitude. It’s not about what we give up, it’s about what we gain. The apple festival was a resounding success. We had fun trying new foods that were grown close to home and discovered a few new family favorites. The kids were so excited about apples – they told all the neighbors about our apple plans and even ran into the street to deliver a slice to a friend. That can’t be beat!
Plans for More
Apples are still in season and we’ve got plans for more ways to eat and enjoy them. Apple pie, apple butter and apple sauce are all easy, fun kitchen activities that kids enjoy. Beyond these basics, I’m most excited about making our own apple chips! And of course, we’ve put away a few jugs of apple cider to make hot mulled cider for a special treat during the cold winter months.