Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jamberry Jam: Montessori Style Cooking

Just like our art experiences, when I have Cooking Day for the kids, I try to focus more on the process than the final result.  Yesterday after I read the girls Jamberry by Bruce Degen, L asked if we could make jam.  After looking at jam recipes online, I realized I don't have pecitin powder, which seems to be a key ingredient in all of them, so we improvised.  We dragged out the process and used lots of Montessori Practical Life and fine motor skills until I came up with something to actually make with the berries.

The first activity was plucking the leaves from the strawberries:

Next, the girls transferred blueberries into their containers:

A pouring activity followed - the girls emptied the large water cup into their bowls without a spill:

The girls' favorite part was washing the berries with their hands:

I realized that I'd never done any filtering or straining/draining with the girls, so they got to use a colander for the first time:

Next, the plastic knives came out and we cut the strawberries into smaller pieces (I'm happy to say no fingers were harmed in this exercise by my knife-wielding toddlers):

Then the majority of the cut strawberries were eaten by L.  This preparation process took a long time, and by now I'd devised a plan for making "jam".  The girls helped me add 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of blue jell-o powder to the berries, and then watched as I boiled and stirred the mixture.

The result was basically a berry compote with a bit of jelly consistency.  Both girls tried it at dinner (even picky E).  Unfortunately the jello added a texture that they were not used to and even L who eats everything tried it and then told me it was 'weird'.  Now there's a tupperware container full of "jam" that my husband and I will have to finish.  Oh well - it's the process that counts, right?

Update:  after some time chilling in the fridge, the jam turned out delicious!   I ate it all by myself over the course of three days in yogurt parfait - YUM!

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