During the month of October, our elementary school students harvested potatoes, and enjoyed oven roasted apples, pears, and pumpkins. As the days became shorter and colder, we prepared the garden for the winter months by composting fallen maple tree leaves, collecting and sorting seeds, and removing old plant matter from beds.
Our middle school students spent their classroom days in our culinary arts room cooking up seasonal dishes. With a fresh batch of hand-pressed apple cider, students learned to make apple caramel candies, apple doughnut cake, New England apple cider cake, and a savory chicken dish with an apple cider reduction.
It is really possible to make cheese in under 1 hour? As a class, we determined the answer to this question: Yes, if you follow ALL directions carefully and have the ability to quickly troubleshoot a potential cheese disaster. Students worked in groups to make a traditional mozzarella, a spicy chivo fresco, squeaky cheese curds, and a honey toasted cheese. While the end results were delicious, the process involved much attention to proper warming and cooling temperatures, rate of coagulation, stirring methods, and adequate draining of whey to reach desired consistency.
Our last class in October was spent exploring several ways to cook with the “Three Sisters”: corn, winter squash, and beans. Students worked in small groups to make tortillas from masa, green tomato salsa, squash and black bean soup with masa dumplings, and three sisters stew. We gathered around our culinary creations and discussed ingredients, and the challenges and successes we experienced. While taste testing all the dishes, we watched fellow classmates perform a short play on why the three sisters make great companion plants.