We made these celebratory pancakes both this fall and last as the persimmons were ripening. There were loads of them this year, so look for more blogs on the many many things we’ve done with them. This recipe featured cardamom, a spice many primary and lower el students had never encountered before. They were a perfect treat during the cool rainy weather. One of our favorite activities is making whipped cream from scratch and grinding flour from wheat berries so that the students can see where all of the ingredients came from in their whole form! We used ultra ripe persimmons for this recipe, so the pulp folds into the batter just like jam. You can however, also cut up a firm Fuyu persimmon and there will be little chunks of persimmon goodness in your pancakes. Enjoy!
We had A LOT of okra this year in the garden and unfortunately a good bit of it got too big before we had time to harvest. When okra over-develops it gets hard and sinewy and isn’t good to eat. We let all of this big okra dry out on the stalk and then when it was hard and brown we clipped it off. Some of the okra we’ll use for seeds for next season, but most of it, we used to make Christmas Ornaments.
For our Thanksgiving lesson this year we talked about the bounty of the garden & nature. We filled a basket with seasonal produce – butternut squash, sweet potatoes, dried corn, garlic, and herbs – and discussed how many of the foods we see at Thanksgiving are roots and seeds. They are foods that store well and are often harvested near the end of the growing season. Some things change with time, but the seasons and foods available, no matter how technological we become, are much the same regionally (barring greenhouses and transfer trucks.) Fall is a time of bounty and we are so thankful to be able to share food together that we have grown with the help of rain, sun, microbes, and all manner of other creatures. Students crunched away on some delicious carrots before break and contemplated mindfulness and gratitude while they ate.
For Restaurant on Fridays with Middle School we love to decorate the tables with seasonal flowers or other natural objects. This year one of our restaurants days fell on Halloween, so instead of carving pumpkins, we decided to use turnips. We had a number of turnips that outgrew themselves and wouldn’t be particularly great for eating. It is believed that turnip carving began the jack-o-lantern tradition in Ireland at Samhain. They were used for festivities, lighting ones way, and also for keeping evil spirits out of homes. They did a beautiful job carving!
While making flower bouquets primary students ventured beneath a plum tree guild and observed the beauty berries, butterflies, cosmos, and all sorts of other late summer plants.