This morning we continued reading about Lewis and Clark. We are just beginning our journey, so to speak, but the children seem engaged and interested.
This morning, I wrote two years on the board - 1803 and 2013. We talked about how long ago 1803 was, and what life might be like over 200 years ago. It is difficult for small children to imagine this, but readily acknowledged that airplanes and cars would not be available for travel. We also talked about what they might need on this nearly 2 1/2 year expedition - food, water, supplies, guns, ammunition, and more.
We also figured that food would go bad pretty quickly without refrigeration. Of course, animals and fish could be hunted for, but fresh fruits and vegetables may be more of an issue. One of the ways that produce was preserved was through drying.
I told the children we were going to make a version of fruit leather. I asked them to look at the supplies I had brought in and asked them to guess the steps involved. We would use the apple peeler to take off the skins and to core the fruit, then the stove to boil the apples until soft. After that, we would use my food processor to get it smooth, with the addition of lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Finally, we would spread the puree on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for several hours at a very low temperature. These steps were all written under the year 2013.
We then hypothesized how this drying process might have been done for the expedition in the early 1800's. The children figured the apples would be cut with a knife, mashed up somehow (perhaps using a tool or - if not available - a rock), and then laid in the sun for many, many hours. These steps were written under 1803.
It was fun peeling the apples and spreading the "goo". The apple peeler was a huge hit and nearly everyone wanted a turn. Really, the hardest part was waiting!
The results were delicious. What a great way to use the fruit that is so plentiful now. I imagine peaches and plums would be extremely tasty. A very healthy alternative to Fruit Roll-Ups!