Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making Pickles in the Preschool

You can make pickles out of lots of things. Since we've harvested more peas than we can eat, let's pickle them to preserve them longer.

We've filled up our baskets with our fresh vegetables. Now we wash them off.

After we wash them we de-string them.

We pack them into jars.

We add some chopped garlic.

We measure out equal parts vinegar and water, with a bit of salt and sugar to make our brine.

We heat the brine up. After it's cooled we add it to our pickles and seal the jars. In two weeks we'll have a tasty pickled treat that we grew and prepared ourselves.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plant Field trip

We look right and we look left. We wait until it is safe to cross the street.
We pass the puddle and on to the alleyway.
We stop and look for walnuts under a walnut grove.
“I got a walnut. A green walnut.”
We stop to talk about the difference between dandelions (pictured above) and false dandelions (catsear). We talk about ways to identify the two. The easiest way is to notice the leaves. True dandelions have smoother leaves like lettuce. (Note, apparently catsear is also edible, but is linked to a muscle disease with horses in Europe.) We don't eat the catsear.
We feel the catsear.
“Yes, it's fuzzy, even.”
We pick some dandelion leaves and take a bite.
“It tastes good.”
“Bad. Blahh.”
They ask if they can pick some clover.
“I found the white part. Can we eat it?”
We eat some red clover. (The whole plant is edible, but we just eat the flower.)
“What are these plants? Hostas?”
“I don't know what they are, but they're not hostas.”
“Is it because the leaves aren't as big?”
We pick a catsear flower. Catsear will flower all summer, while true dandelions tend to flower in early summer.
We continue down the alleyway.
“What kind of plant is this?”
“We'll come back when they've made berries and harvest them.”
“Here is a branch from a tree. What kind of tree is it?”
“Pine tree!”
“Close. Pine trees have needles just like this one does. It's a Douglass Fir Tree.”
As we continue our walk through fields and over gravel we pass by a new plant. Maybe it's a lettuce.
“It's bolted.”
We stop to check out a Bracken Fern.
In the park we look at a pine cone and look at a pine tree.
“Why is the sap leaking out of the tree? I noticed there's some cracks.”
We check out some daisies.
Here is some foxglove. The kids poke their fingers inside the foxglove. I tell them that it is so poisonous that if you eat it it can kill you. But I also tell them that foxglove is used as heart medicine.
We take a break.