Friday, August 9, 2013

Yummy Crafts

Cooking beautiful and delicious foods is an art.  It's also perfect for hands-on homeschooling, because there's so much that you can learn in the kitchen.  Sure, there's the obvious "cooking"  - but what about Religion?  Science? Art? You bet!  We love doing arts-and-crafts time in the kitchen -- and getting to eat our homework.

Neal is a descendent of Lithuanian and Ukranian Jews.   Family recipes have been handed down through my mother-in-law's family, and I'm so happy to share them with my children.   (Food is one place where Catholics should have paid more attention to their ancestors!)  We made Mom Mom's Hamentashen recipe at Purim, while studying the story of Queen Esther.


What's better than learning about different types of rock? Eating it!  Fudge is a candy that starts out as a liquid and turns into a solid - it's an igneous "rock." Here's science in the kitchen!

Igneous Fudge

Art and symbolism?  You bet.  Is there anything more gorgeous than this Challah, braided into a round loaf to celebrate Rosh Hashannah?   (I admit, these are Jude's.  His were beautiful, and mine were insanely lopsided.)  Plus, we learned about friendship and sharing - this recipe belongs to a dear person who has been a friend of mine for eight years. 

Rosh Hashannah Challah

Finally, how about self-sufficiency?  When you have severe allergies, often you have to make your own foods "from scratch."  Strawberries are one of a very few safe foods for Celia and Damien, so when they were in season, we got tons of them and put them up for winter.   Commercially preserved fruit often has corn derivatives in it, which Celia is extremely sensitive to.   We made ours with nothing but strawberries and pure cane sugar.   Bonus: once the strawberries are eaten from the jars, we can use the syrup to make marshmallows.

Strawberries Canned in Syrup

You want to make sure you follow canning safety rules scrupulously.  Strawberries are delicious; botulism is not.


1/2 cup sugar per quart of berries

Note: 3 pounds of fresh berries will give you two pints (one quart) of processed fruit.


Wash and hull berries.

An easy way to do this - use a drinking straw! Push it through from the bottom to the top, popping the caps off.

remove strawberry hulls with a drinking straw

If you have a lot of strawberries, this will take a while.  You'll probably be very relieved when you find the bottom of the boxes.

that's a lot of strawberries

Add 1/2 to 1 cup sugar per quart of berries.

Stir to coat the berries completely.

If you have time (or a less anxious helper), cover and allow the berries to sit for 6 hours.  If you do, you only have to heat the berries to steaming in order to jar and process.  If you are in a hurry and don't let them sit, you will need to boil them for a few minutes to make sure that the sugar is well-dissolved in the juice before processing.

pouring strawberries into canning jars

Fill the jars carefully to 1/2" from the top, wipe the rims, and seal the jars.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for pints, 15 minutes for quarts.  If you are more than 1000 feet above sea level, add 5 minutes for altitudes 1000-6000 feet, 10 minutes for above 6000 feet.   Remove from the canner, and allow to cool.  Check seals - if the jars are not properly sealed, either store in fridge for up to 2 weeks or reprocess.

Several batches later, we have about 30 pints of strawberries in syrup to enjoy all winter!

home-canned strawberries

Yum!   Learning is fun when there's something delicious waiting at the end.

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  1. Great "kids in the kitchen" activities! I'm pinning these to my kiddo's project board.

  2. Oh my gosh!! so cool!! I am OBSESSED and in LOVE with Judaism... me (14) and my 12 year old sister recently tried to make hamantaschen. ( they tasted better than they looked (the crust was hard and there wasn't enough jelly...but we'll work on that next time!!) We'll try your recipe next time.
    We also made challah bread, and that was SO yummy!! :)

  3. I'm not much of a "crafty" person, but I do find a lot of value in having children learn how to help in the kitchen! This is a fantastic post!

  4. The strawberries look yummy! It makes them so much more special having a little helper in the kitchen :)
    clicking through from a Joy Filled Life's website :)

    God Bless!

    Bibi from

  5. I love it when they make crafts they can eat. :)

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