Food Sources

I like my kids to play outside.  I’m happy for them to get dirty.  But let’s face it – I’m raising city kids.  Activities like milking a cow, collecting fruit from the orchard or killing a chook aren’t part of daily life for us.  Despite this I think it’s really important for city kids to understand where foods come from.

Here are three foods we have been talking about recently in our family:

1.  Pineapple!  We live in sunny Queensland which is an area known for growing pineapple, yet when we cook homemade pizzas we often open a tin.  Tinned pineapple is very convenient, and there’s nothing wrong with using it at all.  We always buy Australian pineapple in natural juice (not syrup) which is packaged at the cannery half an hour away anyway!!  That said, there’s a lot to know about this fruit that you can’t learn from the tinned stuff.  Just look at the way they grow (they’re actually bromeliads)!  Pineapples are interesting to touch.  They have a rough exterior and spiky leaves.  Inside the textures are interesting too.  Although it’s the same colour through the fruit, the core is much more dense than the rest.  It’s usually removed from tinned pineapple, but it’s still quite tasty.  The enzymes in fresh pineapple are actually different from tinned, and the taste and smell are different too.  On the whole fresh pineapple has much more punch!

2.  Corn.  We use corn in cooking quite often… but usually get it from the freezer!  The kids love to help when we instead cook fresh corn on the cob.  The first time I cooked corn with my daughter she had NO idea what it was!  She was so surprised when we peeled off the green husk and stripped away the silk to reveal the corn kernels underneath.  At 18mths my son loves to chomp on a cob of corn too.  We steam them for a few minutes on the stove, then I run them under cold water to make sure they won’t burn his mouth.  After shucking corn together it’s great to look at the corn kernels from the freezer again, and even compare with pop corn kernels!

3.  Eggs.  My parents keep a few hens and the kids love collecting the eggs when they come to visit.  They also give food scraps and fresh water to the chooks, and let them out into the yard to roam.  The kids eat lots of eggs when they visit Nanna and Pa, and always bring a few home.  We even dyed some with turmeric and red onion skins at Easter recently.  Chooks are wonderful for city kids.  My daughter has been helping collect eggs from the chook-chooks since she was very young (as you can see from the pic!) and now carefully collects the eggs and feeds the chooks independently.

Other great food activities we’ve done as a family are shelling prawns and planting veggies.  I can’t wait for strawberry season again so that we can take the kids picking!

What foods have you been exploring with your kids?

14 thoughts on “Food Sources

  1. I so wanted to go strawberry picking last season but it was also sick season. We’re definitely going to try this time around – fun!

    We were going to pull a plant out of the garden at our new house but then discovered it had a pineapple growing. We’re looking forward to making the most of it, eating it and learning about it. We also have a new vegie patch so we’re discovering how pumpkins grow. We even saved the seed from a pumpkin we ate! Other fruit and vegies we have are corn, tomatoes and lettuce so lots to talk about as they grow.

    My Aunty + Uncle are grain growers on the Darling Downs. We are off to visiit them on Sunday. I can’t wait to show Miss M what they’re growing. I think she’ll be surprised to find that not all farms are animal farms. Great post Cath!
    .-= BusyBrissyMum´s last blog ..Going on a Treasure Hunt =-.

  2. Although we live on a tiny block, we have a big herb garden in our backyard and my 3 year old son loves to go and collect the herbs that I ask for each night as I am cooking dinner. The trade off is… he will eat anything that he has personally added parsley to – I am on a winner here!!

    He is becoming quite the little farmer. Last week we had an excursion to Bunnings – What a great way to spend an hour. My twin boys had great fun manouvering their little trolleys in and out of the plant section. We bought a new supply of cherry tomatoes and capsicums before sharing a milkshake and having a little play in the playground. Once we got home it was time for planting and watering. What a great way to spend an afternoon together and learning about where food comes from.

  3. love the old tank chook shed great idea. We lived with in laws for about a year when Ella was a baby/toddler and best part of our day was sitting in the chook pen playing with them and collecting the eggs

  4. A lovely post – thank you.

    Two thoughts spring to mind. Many years ago, a very urban nursery became famous in Scotland for its 1 square metre plots. Their outdoor space was so tiny, they did everything in miniature. They even grew wheat which they harvested and baked bread with it.

    Angus Council – which is responsible for more than 90 pre-school settings has a lovely growing project happening. Each pre-school has been given two tyres, a strawberry planter, potatoes, strawberry plants and peas to grow, compost and sequencing books. They’ve even been given card to use to record progress for a Council-wide display in Autumn. It’s such a simple idea but lovely in that these are traditional crops for this area.

    I don’t know whether you can buy them in Australia, but here it’s possible to buy “Eggloos” to house a couple of hens! Some schools are taking the plunge and getting them.
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Let’s go fly a kite =-.

  5. @Juliet

    There’s a growing trend of “Kitchen Gardens” in schools in Australia at the moment, which is wonderful. I’d love to see more schools with chooks though. I’ll look into Eggloo’s (what a cute name…)

  6. I confess to being amazed after reading Animal Vegetable Miracle that some children in the US didn’t know that carrots grew in the dirt! I’ve always thought that wasn’t the case here but of late I am beginning to wonder…

    So nice to see connections being made and exciting lessons learnt about this stuff. Living on some land our kids have a lot of exposure to where some food comes from, but we still often talk about how other food is grown. Every now and then there is even a food that stumps me… mostly spices these days, I have no idea how many of them come before they’ve been ground up and packaged!
    .-= katef´s last blog ..Finding My Calm =-.

  7. Well, I’m not sure if my son counts as a city child because we have a fair bit of land and space for growing food (but we’re not on a farm), but he is currently fascinated by how bananas grow. I think it is because they grow pointing upwards. Also, he loves coconuts. They are cool, you can hear the milk inside and it is fun and therapeutic to break them open.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..21 ideas for easy family fun =-.

  8. You’ll have to get Aunty Rebekah to take them out on the boat so they can learn about fishing.

  9. There is a great weekend held annually called ‘Farm Day’. The idea is city families get to vist a farm family for the day. It’s free – just jump onto the website and register. This year it is being held the weekend 29th & 30th May. Great chance to expose your child to a real farm experience!

  10. My big girl has just worked out that meat comes from animals, she’s quite excited about that. And they love corn on the cob – the first time I gave it to them I cut the kernels off and they were very indignant!
    Did you know that one of the enzymes in pineapple denatures proteins, that’s what tingles on your tongue and attacks your fingers. Meat marinaded in pineapple will fall apart.
    I’m wanting a vege/herb garden but I have a black thumb, so I’m dropping lots of hints to my husband :)
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..Quick Activity – Surface Tension =-.

  11. Lacey loves any food really, so she’ll ‘explore’ whatever it is that we’re interested in. I love taking her through the fruit and vege store though. Such great natural colours and textures. xx

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