Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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DECEMBER: TIME FOR POTATO PANCAKES

GLUTENFREE POTATO LATKES RECIPE HERE

peeling potatoes

peeling potatoes

Grating potatoes

Grating potatoes

Grated potatoes~use them quickly or they'll turn brown or grey!

Grated potatoes~use them quickly or they’ll turn brown or grey!

Measuring and mixing.

Measuring and mixing.

Sizzling potato pancakes

Sizzling potato pancakes

Mr Levy’s class made potato pancake (latkes) this morning, but with a new twist. They were gluten free!

The students listened as their teacher read an Irish folktale by TomieĀ  Depaola about a character who tricks a giant into thinking he’s squeezing water from a stone. The students later discovered that, although their garden potatoes appeared to be as hard as stones, they actually contained quite a bit of water.

Each child participated in the steps to making one of the best treats of the season: crispy fried potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream. Mastery of the peeler and the grater was shared among those who were experienced and those who needed coaching.

The children promised to let me know what the leftover uncooked potato mixture would look like by the end of the day. Mr. Levy set it on top of the refrigerator. Their predictions were interesting.

Measuring and predicting conversations abounded. As part of their diversity unit, students heard the story of the symbolic importance of lights and latkes to Jewish people world-wide at this time of year. While the latkes fried, their golden color helped us all to connect to memories of longer sunnier days.


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Mmmm, Yummy Applesauce!

Nothing is more eagerly anticipated in late August early September in Vermont than apple season!

Apple picking at CVO, Westminster.

There are so many varieties to choose from and the orchard is a perfect outdoor school classroom. When I was a classroom teacher, there were many songs to share with our class about apples. The chorus of one of them (pages long, with unending verses) went: “Hey Ho you feel so fine lookin’ out across the orchard in the bright sunshine. Hey Ho, you feel so free, standin’ at the top of an apple tree!”

The Kindergarten and the After School chefs made applesauce this October. There are two schools of thought about how to prepare it. One involves peeling, coring and dicing the apples, so that once they’re boiled in a bit of water, they turn to mush and are ready to eat or to pack away in freezer bags. The other (my preferred method) is just to cut the apples into quarters and cut the quarters in half. Put them in a pot, stems, seeds and skins and all. Add water to about 1/3 the way up the apples and simmer, stirring a few times until all of the apples are soft. When they’ve cooled, use a food mill to strain out the inedible parts and enjoy. The skins impart untold vitamins and a rosy pink color to the sauce. You can experiment with additions like cinnamon or honey. Some of my After School chefs thought allspice would be a good addition. They said it made the applesauce taste like apple pie. Be creative and try adding different spices to small batches. My daughter wants me to freeze some for when her baby comes to visit with nothing added….just the great taste of apples.