Showing posts sorted by relevance for query fruit. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query fruit. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday Fruit Exploration -- Persimmon

For this week's fruit exploration we looked at persimmons. Now I will admit I only heard of persimmons a few years ago. My parents' neighbor actually grows them and gives them to my parents (or tells them to pick them when he is not at Cape Cod since he rents his house out). When we celebrated Thanksgiving, my parents brought the last couple of the season with them. The one we ate while they were here they said was among the best they ever tried.

Hazel confuses them with tomatoes however she claims to like persimmons (she does not like tomatoes). However she usually only has a few bites and then says she will eat it later and does not. There are different types of persimmons. Asian persimmons or Japanese persimmons are native to China. This is the most widely cultivated species of persimmons. They spread throughout Asia and then into Europe, California and Brazil. The fruit is edible in the firm stage but taste best when allowed to rest after harvest. They are sweet and tangy when soft. The date-plum species is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It was known by the ancient Greeks as the fruit of the gods or nature's candy. Its taste is similar to a date or a plum and thus the name. The American persimmon is native to Eastern United States (and is probably the species we tried, but I am not sure). It has higher levels of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium than the Japanese persimmon. It is also a food that gets the white-tailed deer through the long winter months. The black persimmon is native to Mexico. It has green skin and white flesh which turns black when ripe. The Mabolo or velvet-apple is native to the Philippines and China. It is also known as the Korean mango. The Indian persimmon is a slower growing and less flavorful species. It is known more for folk medicine. The Texas persimmon is native to Texas and Oklahoma as well as Mexico. The fruits are black on the outside unlike the Mexico persimmon which is only black on the inside. 

In general persimmons are seen as two types: astringent and non-astringent. A version of the Japanese persimmon known as the Hachiya species is the most astringent type due to the high tannin levels. The tannin levels reduce as the fruit ripens. The Hachiya must be fully ripened prior to eating. Persimmons are eaten raw, cooked, or dried. When eaten fresh they can be eaten whole like an apple or cut into slices. Some varieties are more pleasant with the thin skin peeled off first. Very ripe persimmons can have the texture of pudding inside and can be eaten with a spoon once opened. Compared to apples, persimmons have higher levels of dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese. They have lower levels of copper and zinc. They also contain vitamin C and vitamin A--beta carotene. (Source)
We did our normal exploration. Hazel used her magnifying glass to check them out and drew pictures in her journal. Then she told me what to write about them.
We also found a couple of books at the library and I found some more on Amazon.

Many of these have one of two stories in them, The Monkey and the Crab (including in Japanese Children's Favorite Stories) or The Rabbit's Tail which is also called The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon. Hazel loved reading this story since the tiger was afraid of a dried persimmon. He thought it was some sort of monster. She laughed so hard that a tiger was afraid of a dried fruit. I love how a fruit exploration turns into a cultural exploration as well.

For more fruit explorations check out:

Friday Fruit Exploration: Pears

Today we are sharing our pear exploration. All week we have had different kinds of pears--Barlett, D'Anjou, Comice, and Asian. I only took pictures of the D'Anjou and Asian. Sorry!! Hazel loves pears and we have had them on our waffles or in our oatmeal for breakfast!

Pears are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C and are sodium, fat and cholesterol free. One medium pear is about 100 calories. (Source) The skins of pears contain three to four times more phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh (inside). These phenolic phytonutrients are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids and the skin contains half of the pear's dietary fiber. A new study has shown that eating a combination of apples and pears will reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Pears are often described as hypo-allergic. They tend to be a low allergy food. All good reasons to enjoy a pear! (Source)

Friday Fruit Exploration: Blueberries

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Our fruit explorations continue. This time we checked out blueberries!! If you missed our first fruit exploration we explored strawberries.  We added a new element to our fruit explorations-- a fruit exploration journal! I write the name of the fruit and Hazel draws pictures of the outside and inside and sometimes I draw pictures too. Then we come up with words to describe the fruit.

First here are some facts about blueberries. A serving size is one cup (hmm, I could eat several servings in one sitting).  A serving contains 84 calories and of that 4 calories from fat. They have 14 grams of carbohydrates of which 10 grams are sugars and 2 grams are dietary fiber. They provide 16% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C, 2% of iron and Vitamin A. With the powerful antioxidants in them blueberries can improve nighttime vision, may improve motor skills and may reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging or age-related memory diseases and may reduce the risk of infection. (Source: Driscolls)

For our exploration we examined the outside of the blueberry with Hazel's magnifying glass. We noted the smooth texture and the pointy bumps at the top. Next we examined the interior of the blueberry. Sorry my pictures are not very clear of the inside.

We noted the small seeds inside as well the yellow inside with a red rim.

The next part of our exploration was reading some books on blueberries or at least with blueberries in them.

I have discovered that picture books or books at Hazel's level do not exist that share the nutritional value of the fruits. There are many about fruits in general without going into much detail about the nutrients. However there were many fun blueberry stories. One of the books has only poems and includes one with blueberries in it. The last book is not a picture book either. We did not actually read it. The other ones we really enjoyed though.

Our craft was inspired by Little Page Turners Potato Blueberry Stamps. We used fingerprints instead of potato prints though I like the texture of the potato prints a bit better. This was a fast and easy craft though. Our plan is to make some blueberry jam tomorrow. We ran out of time today. Hazel also wants to make some strawberry jam. For both we are going to use frozen fruit this time. Hopefully they will come out all right.

Blueberry Picking a Couple of Years Ago
 Here are some more blueberry ideas:

Friday Fruit Explorations: Strawberries

The other day Hazel decided we should go on a fruit exploration. She pulled out her magnifying glasses so we could look more closely at some of the fruit. We started our adventure with strawberries--one of our favorites. 

First we looked at the outside of the fruit to see what we could find.

We noticed the seeds which we knew were there. Did you know strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside? After she was done looking at the outside, I cut one in half so we could look at the inside.

The white lines in the interior of the strawberry bring the nutrients to each seed. Of course to learn all these little facts, we got some books from the library.

Two books focus on the growing cycle of strawberries and the third shares a Cherokee legend on the first strawberries. I was hoping to find some information on the nutrition of strawberries, but have not found books with it. However I did find it on-line. A serving size of one cup has 49 calories. That cup of strawberries contains 12 grams of carbohydrates of which 7 gram are sugar and 3 are dietary fiber. There is also 1 gram of protein and gives you 149% of your vitamin C for the day. They also have a small amount of iron and calcium. The other minerals that strawberries provide are potassium and manganese. Strawberries also contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. (Source

Strawberries have also been rated the 27th best among U.S. food, however due to the large serving size needed for the top foods, strawberries move to the 3rd position when considering of which foods you would eat the 3.5 ounces. Strawberries are fragile fruits that start to lose their nutrition after only two days and ideally they will be in 90-95% humidity (most refrigerators have less humidity). An interesting discovery is that when sugar is eaten with strawberries, the blood sugar spike caused by the sugar is reduced by the strawberries. Strawberries also have anti-inflammatory affects. (Source)

To go with our strawberry exploration, I wanted to do some crafts. Hazel and I have had a busy week, so she was not able to make any of them with me yet, but I thought I would share a few. The first two involve handprints and I found them on Pinterest. The first one is inspired by Activity Village: Handprint Strawberry. Theirs was done with paint, but I had some foam handprints and just used those to share it with you. The second  is from French Toasty: Strawberry Handprint Kid Craft. I did not add the seeds, but if I do it with Hazel we will. The third are needle felted strawberries. I will provide a tutorial below to make them. And finally are Strawberry Treat Box Printable from Oh Happy Day! I wanted Hazel to cut one out to make, but she was too tired after her busy day--she got her first filling/crown today at the dentist and then came home to a playdate. 

Now for our needle felting tutorial. The supplies you need are some red roving, green felt and the needle felting needle and mat. Roll or wrap the roving to be a basic strawberry shape and then needle it to firm it up. To cut the leaves, cut a small square of felt and fold it along the diagonal two to three times. Then cut a triangle from the sides. Open it up and trim how you want it. Then needle felt it to the top of your strawberry.

These are quick and easy to make.

For more ideas on strawberries (mostly recipes):
Join us next week for a different fruit exploration!!

Exploring Cherries and Japan

Today I am going to share our exploration of cherries and the end of our exploration of Japan. At Hazel's request we have been exploring different fruit. She pulls out her magnifying glass and fruit journal and colored pencils for our exploration. We look at the outside of the fruit and record our observations and then I cut them open and we look at the inside and record our observations. Then of course we taste the fruit. We did this with the cherry.

Minnie Mouse Party Food

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 So the party is this weekend and we finally figured out what to serve. Our menu includes:
  • Minnie's Bow-tique Pasta
  • Mickey's Meatballs
  • Hot Diggety Dog Hot Dogs
  • Oh, Toodles! Pizza
  • Daisy's Garden Vegetables and Donald's Dips
  • Goofy's Grapes and Fruit Bow-quet
  • Minnie's Bow-tique Fruit Bows
  • Minnie's Pink Polka-Dot Punch
  • And of course a Minnie Cake!
I shared two types of printable food labels when I shared our DIY Easy Minnie Cake Plates. Now some of these food ideas came from what I found on-line and pinned to my Minnie Mouse Party Pinterest Board. Some Hazel and I came up with. Now I do not have many pictures, but will explain what each is and of course there will be after the party pictures later.

Minnie's Bow-tique Pasta is quite simply bow tie pasta with sauce. And yes, I use a jarred sauce since I am trying to simplify my prep time. I got the idea from Spoonful, but now the link is not working. Hazel had the idea of making Mickey shaped meatballs. I made them tonight using my usual meatball recipe with a twist of using ground oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. I know one of the children coming is gluten free. Shaping them was easy, however getting them out of the pan in one piece was not as easy. Several lost one or both ears. Oh, well, we tried.
Before the party I will heat them in some sauce and then put them in my slow cooker on warm. 

Hot Diggety Dog Hot Dogs came from several places on line like Itsy Bitsy Foodies: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party and CatchMyParty. And of course, Mickey Mouse always says Hot Diggety Dog! and they do the Hot Dog Dance at the end of every Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode. I bought a pack of our favorite hot dogs (Nature's Promise Uncured Beef Hot Dogs) and a can of crescent rolls. I am going to wrap each dog in a crescent roll and bake them. 

The idea of Oh, Toodles! Pizza came from Crafting When I Can: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - 2nd Birthday Party. We are going to have one big Oh, Toodles! Pizza. I bought pre-made pizza dough, sauce and cheese. I bought two packs of dough so I can roll one out to be the head and the other split and roll to be the ears. I will definitely get a picture of it. 

Daisy's Garden Vegetables came from several places as well. One is Spoonful or Disney Junior. Some others are Disney Donna Kay and Catch My Party. I figured it would make sense to have Donald Duck with Daisy, so I added Donald's Dips. I bought a store made dip and a hummus. I also bought a two-pack of black trays and black salsa dishes at the Dollar Tree so I can put the vegetables on the tray and use the salsa dishes for ears with the dips in them.

The idea for Goofy's Grapes and Fruit Bow-quet came from Pennywise Cook: Affordable Mickey Mouse Party, or I should say the Goofy's Grapes came from there. I wanted to make a fruit bouquet, because Hazel loves them and I have a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter as well as a small butterfly that I will use as a bow. I recently saw the amazing Mickey Mouse bouquet available at Edible Arrangements. I love the clubhouse vase for it, but am not going to spend the money to get it.  I added the bow-quet to Goofy's Grapes. I however kept the Minnie's Bow-tique Fruit Bows separate. The idea for these came from Creative Kid Snacks and my pin of them is my most repinned pin ever I think! They are a blueberry between two strawberries with a toothpick going through all three. Hazel LOVES fruit, so she likes both of these ideas.

For a beverage I bought some strawberry lemonade (because it is a pretty pink) and then have been making ice cubes with miniature marshmallows frozen in them. The marshmallows will be the white polka-dots Minnie loves. I have a nice clear glass pitcher to serve it from. Hazel has been helping make the ice cubes. I also put some labels on water bottles for the parents and any children who do not like the strawberry lemonade. 

Tomorrow Hazel and I will make the cake. I am keeping it simple. We are making the strawberry cake Hazel always wants to have for her birthday. I am going to make one regular 8 or 9-inch circle and two small circles and make the shape of the head. Then I bought chocolate frosting to cover it. Finally I am going to add a tissue paper bow. I'll share pictures once we make it tomorrow. 

For more Minnie Mouse Party Ideas check out:

Summertime Fun Ideas from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to the products for your convenience but do not receive anything if you buy from them.

So one of the things that got me going on our Summertime Fun Series is this amazing review for Oriental Trading. We picked out a variety of things to review to bring different summertime activities to you. Hope you will try some of them out.

Fruit Explorations-- Lemon

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Ok, we did this exploration on Friday, but I did not get the post written, so you get it today. Hazel has been asking for more fruit explorations, and I thought about lemons and making lemonade. Summer officially started today and what is better on a hot day than a cool glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade? So Thursday Hazel and I went to the store and bought some lemons in two sizes--regular or jumbo.

She could not wait to get started, so we did our exploration in our pajamas. She used a new magnifying glass to examine the outside and then I cut one in half for her.

After examining the inside as a half she asked me to cut the half in half so she could see the center better. 

She had fun examining it. She tasted a lick of one piece, but did not like it. Then she started squeezing them for the juice.

When I researched lemon crafts I discovered this neat one at Teach Preschool: Lemon drop painting.The idea is to dissolve lemon drops in a little bit of warm water to make a paint. Since we did not have lemon drops, we tried lemon lifesavers and had no success. Then we found some lemon hard candies and added them, but again no luck. We decided to add some lemon peel, so I made some zest. Hazel of course asked to have some to examine as well.
After our failure with non-lemon drop painting, we pulled out the yellow paint and got creative. Hazel made lemon prints with the half rinds.

Hazel even managed to find one that had a bit of the inside structure left and got some interesting prints. Then she wanted to paint the lemon, so she had fun painting as well.

Now we stopped painting to make the syrup and the rest of the lemonade. She had squeezed about one cup of lemon juice, so we mixed one cup of water with one cup of sugar in a saucepan and Hazel stirred it until the sugar dissolved. Then we heated it to a boil to keep the sugar dissolved.

Then we let it cool for a bit. Finally we mixed the lemon juice, syrup and about three and a half cups of water in a pitcher.

We put it in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. We did a little more since we went back to painting. I pulled out a small square colored canvas and started painting a lemon on it. Hazel was suppose to paint the inside of it, but got upset since she thought my lemon looked better than hers. She started over and told me to paint the lemon's inside. 

Since my lemon did not fill the canvas enough, I made a lemon print and painted the inside of the lemon. then I added some strawberries to fill the canvas better. I started painting the strawberry seeds white, but was informed they are yellow. While finishing my painting we enjoyed the lemonade. Then while I cleaned up, Hazel drew in her fruit journal.

Since I had not planned ahead enough, I did not get any books on lemons yet, but will share some with you sometime soon. I also have the song Lemon Drops and Gum Drops in my head from searching the library database for lemon. Hazel learned the song and sang it at school in two concerts. I was singing it all Friday morning.  Hazel has also asked to explore all the fruits again. Stay tuned!!

For more fruit ideas check out: 

Minnie Mouse Party Foods and Activities -- The Details

Since the my post the other day became so long with sharing our decorations, I thought today I would share the details of what we served and what the kids played. Let's start with the cake since every birthday party needs a cake. Our cake was the strawberry cake we have made for most of Hazel's parties. The original recipe is found at Confections of a Foodie Bride. I have made changes over the past couple of years. At some point I will have to actually write down my changes and post about them. We made an eight-inch round cake and three small round cakes. I bought these pans at Joann Fabrics with a coupon for the ears.  We bought a container of chocolate frosting since black frosting is hard to come by and has so many chemicals for colors. 

Friday Fruit Exploration: Raspberries

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Sorry for getting this post out so late. It has been a bit of a crazy day and I am finally getting time to sit at the computer. Anyway, we continued our Friday Fruit Exploration with raspberries. We love raspberries and even have a few raspberry bushes in our old garden. One of Hazel's favorite summertime activities at my parents' house is to be outside with my father in the raspberries. Funny how I never seem to get any, but she always comes in with a very red, messy face. 

Inside of Raspberry

The serving size of raspberries is one cup. In that cup of raspberries there are 67 calories of which 7 are from fat. They have 15 grams of total carbohydrates if which 8 grams is dietary fiber and 5 grams is sugar. Raspberries have a good amount of vitamin C. The serving gives you 54% of the daily recommended amount. They also give you 12% of the vitamin K daily recommendation and 41% of the manganese. They also have some Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. (Source) Scientific studies have shown that the  phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals in raspberries help fight cancer, aging, inflammation, and neuro-degenerative diseases. It is among the top rated ORAC fruit. They are rich in the vitamin B complex, vitamin E, potassium, copper, iron and magnesium. Therefore raspberries help with controlling heart rate and blood pressure, production of red blood cells, and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Raspberries are very perishible and should be purchased only a day or two in advance. (Source)


There were not very many books just on raspberries. We have enjoyed Berry Magic by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon. It is a wonderful Yupik Eskimo folktale of how a young girl uses a bit of magic and song grow new berries since she hears the old women complain about the crowberries every year. She gets  blueberries, cranberries,  raspberries and salmonberries.

The other book we found is Our Raspberry Jam by David E. Marx. It is a wonderful easy reader about a young girl who enjoys some raspberry jam which her family made together. 

For our raspberry exploration we used Hazel's magnifying glass to look at the outside and inside of some raspberries. We recorded what we found in Hazel's fruit journal.

Then of course we ate them!! Did I mention I can get Hazel to do almost anything if I promise to buy some raspberries?

For a craft I was inspired by this craft at Luntiks. We took some red Crayola Model Magic Clay and made a raspberry shape. Then we tried to roll them in red and pink seed beads. The beads should have been bigger and we needed stickier clay. We did discover it worked better to put the clay around your finger so you could put some pressure on it when you rolled them. Now we are leaving them out to dry.

So that is our raspberry adventure!! I will have to think about some more raspberry crafts since there are not many out there!!

For more posts on fruits and raspberries in particular check out: