Monday, May 23, 2011

A Farm Fresh Cooking Class

I had so much fun shopping and cooking last week with my daughters first grade class. Involving children in the shopping and cooking process gives them the opportunity to learn about the foods that they are putting into their body. Eighteen children purchased fresh products from the local farmers market and prepared apple crisps. Each kid selected an apple of their choice and searched for other ingredients. When we returned to the classroom, kids sampled the different apples and experienced the variety of flavors. From this interactive learning experience, students gained an understanding of how food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities.

Apple crisp is great to make either at home with your family or in a group setting, like a classroom. Kids love to chop the apples, mix the oats, and mash the butter. These tasty treats are packed with fiber, which helps to regulate digestion. Additionally, the primary ingredients can be purchased locally, which is better for the environment and for your body.

Purchasing food that has been grown in your surrounding area is beneficial for your health and for the environment. Transporting foods over long distances generates pollution, whereas buying groceries from local venders, like a farmers market, decreases your carbon footprint. Foods sold in grocery stores have traveled an average of 1500 miles from where they are grown. On the other hand, foods that are grown locally are picked when they are ripe, which allows for a better taste and more nutritious product.

Apple Mix Ingredients:

6 apples, washed, cored, diced
½ cup apple juice

Topping Ingredients:
½ cup maple syrup
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly oil the bottom of baking pan with cooking spray.
3. Spread apples evenly in the pan and add apple juice.
4. In a bowl combine maple syrup, rolled oats, flax seeds, and cinnamon.
5. Work in softened butter until combined and there are no large chunks.
6. Sprinkle dry ingredients on top of apples.
7. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
8. Cut and enjoy!

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