Harvest baking is a movement toward wholesome organic foods that are locally sourced and prepared in healthy ways that is catching on across the nation. Kids that have an organic raised bed garden can add fresh picked organic fruit, herbs, and veggies to rolls, breads, pizzas, calzones, biscuits, cakes, and cookies. Using various organic whole grains, kids can bake with the harvest and share healthy baked goodies with family and friends that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Morning breads like pump muffins, tender crusty biscuits, and rich scones are perfect for featuring a seasonal harvest, such as spinach scones or butternut squash muffins. Quick breads and tea loaves can be sweet or savory, such as cornbread with fresh corn, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. Yeast breads, rolls, and buns that are laced with herbs, shredded carrots, and potatoes, can tenderize the bread and add an enticing earthy flavor. Kids can feel the dough spring to life in their hands when they make pizza dough by hand and experiment with different fresh organic veggie sauces, like butternut squash sauce, and toppings of herbs and seasonal veggies. Using the pizza dough, kids can also stuff calzones and create amazing flatbreads, like hummus with grilled veggies. Savory and sweet harvest pies and tarts, like eggplant and lentil turnovers or caramel apple pie, start with making a simple pie crust. Kids can use and reuse dried beans pushed up high on the sides of the pie pan to weigh down pre-baked pie shells, which keeps the crust from puffing up while it bakes. Cookies, bars, coffee cakes, pound cakes, and cakes made with fresh fruit, herbs, nuts, and veggies are moist and tender with the right balance of sweetness. Kids can include their organic raised bed fruit and veggie garden in their baking to add flavor and nutrition and create more wholesome meals.
Tropical avocado trees grow well in large containers or half whisky barrels on a sunny patio or deck, especially dwarf cultivars. Their bushy evergreen foliage makes a welcome ornamental addition to the patio. Originally from Mexico, kids can grow avocado trees outside in Southern California with regular water, organic biologically rich soil, and full sun. In cold climates, kids can put the container for the avocado tree on a wheeled pot caddy and move it indoors for the winter. Kids can start an attractive houseplant from an avocado pit, but such plants rarely fruit or produce fruit after growing eight to ten years, unless grafted. Avocados are self-fruitful, but some trees have flowers that are ready to receive pollen in the morning, with pollen that isn’t released until the afternoon. Other avocados display the opposite pattern, with flowers ready in the afternoon and pollen released the following morning. Planting both types of trees guarantees good pollination and more fruit. Thousands of flowers bloom on the tree between January and March and a tenth will develop into dark green fruit dangling on long stalks that mature on the tree for three to six months. Avocados are heart healthy with omega-3 oil and cancer fighting antioxidants, and kids love yummy guacamole with chips.
Spring is the perfect time to start a clean eating diet as local Farmers Markets are filled with abundant fresh colorful organic produce. Seasonal, locally grown fruits and veggies are the most flavorful and nutritious. Kids that grow their own veggies can hardly wait to eat them. Kids can kick the addiction to sodas and junk food filled with chemicals, preservatives, and additives. At the Farmers Market or local farm stand, kids can learn about their food from the farmers that grow it. Overweight kids can lose weight just by switching from junk food to organic whole food. Kids discover that real whole food, fresh from the garden, is sweeter and more satisfying than the food corporations’ processed and packaged foods which have been made with too much salt, fat, and sugar. Processed convenience foods and fried fast foods have caused wide ranged health problems including diabetes and obesity. Studies show that kids who eat home cooked meals from scratch with their families around the dinner table are happier, as well as healthier. Kids can pack their lunch boxes with healthy snacks, like whole fruits and nuts, to fuel their day. Kids can make their own fresh fruit juice or infuse water with pieces of fruit rather than sugary fruit drinks or sodas. Real food is made from ingredients kids can find in nature, like whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, herbs, and veggies. A clean eating diet means cooking healthy by steaming, roasting, or grilling rather than frying. Kids can start an organic veggie garden in pots on the patio this spring. Kids can cook from scratch with whole organic ingredients and lose weight, gain energy, and feel great.
Scottish kids have been eating scones for hundreds of years, which were originally round and flat and cooked on a griddle then cut into triangle sections. The scone is a basic part of the British Devonshire tea service, a light afternoon meal, still served in tea rooms today. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1 tsp vegan butter in a sauce pan. Kids can cut an organic apple with the skin into small pieces and add to the pan. Add ¼ cup chopped organic walnuts, 1 tsp organic maple syrup, 1 tsp cane sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon to the apple, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine 1 ¾ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup organic sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp arrowroot starch, ¼ tsp sea salt. Cut into the mixture 1/3 cup cold organic vegan butter. Kids can stir to cover then mix with a fork until mixture has a coarse crumb consistency. Add the apple mixture. Pour the remaining juice from the pan into a measuring cup, add organic almond milk to measure ½ cup of total liquid, and pour into the flour mixture, stirring until well blended. Turn dough onto a floured bread board and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll into a 6” round and cut into 8 equal wedges. Place wedges 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 – 17 minutes, until lightly browned.
Kids can plant the right variety of blueberries for their region in containers on the patio. Blueberries, natives of North America, are beautiful plants all year round. Kids can grow this superfood by planting at least two varieties for better pollination and a higher yield. Blueberries are very high in antioxidants that combat many diseases and high in pectin that aids in digestion and lowers cholesterol. A couple of blueberry bushes can produce 10 to 12 pints of blueberries a year. They grow well in raised beds or pots in consistently moist acidic soil with acidic fertilizer and afternoon shade. Blueberries fruit on last year’s wood, so lightly prune in July cutting only dead wood and cross branches. They have many shallow surface roots and a symbiotic relationship with a fungus living in their root systems which provides nutrients for the plant. Kids can mulch with hardwood bark and pine needles to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. Soaker hoses placed around the plants supply the constant water they need. Blueberries have few diseases or insects that bother them, especially when they have well drained soil and good air circulation. Sunshine Blue is a semi dwarf variety growing to 3 feet in warmer climates with sweet medium sized berries that produces well in patio and deck containers. Local favorite varieties are Southmoon, Emerald, and Star. There is a narrow window for fruit bearing and the season runs from mid April to mid July. Birds love blueberries as much as kids. Cover the plants with netting before the berries start to ripen using PVC pipe to build a canopy as the blueberry branches can be brittle. Allow the berries to ripen on the bush for at least a week after they turn blue until the blue skins are covered in a thin waxy coating, called a bloom, and are at their peak. Kids love to harvest a basket of blueberries on a warm summer day, eating them fresh from the bush. Kids can put some blueberries directly into the freezer to make pies and jams at a later time.
Kids love hot delicious biscuits for breakfast and can make these light, fluffy treats in under a half hour. Kids can grow organic blueberries in a large pot on the patio for a handy super food that sweeps away free radicals, is antibacterial, heart and brain healthy, and high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp flour and 1 cup of organic blueberries. In a large bowl combine 1 ¾ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup organic sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp arrowroot starch, ½ tsp organic pumpkin pie spice, ¼ tsp sea salt. Cut into the mixture 1/3 cup cold organic vegan butter with a fork until mixture has a coarse crumb consistency. Stir in blueberries, ¼ cup plain organic soy yogurt and ¼ cup organic almond milk into the flour mixture until well blended. Form 12 biscuits and place them 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 13 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Kids enjoy the bright bursts of juicy sweet flavor of the blueberries when they bite into these treats.
These colorful corn muffins are a party by themselves filled with savory ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl whisk 1 cup organic cornmeal, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp sea salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl mix ¼ cup organic cane sugar, ½ cup organic sunflower oil, 5.3 oz soy yogurt. Kids can grate one organic zucchini on the large holes of the grater and add 1 cup grated zucchini to the small bowl. Mince finely 1 slice organic red onion, ¼ green bell pepper, and 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes and mix into the small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix with the dry ingredients. Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with parchment paper liners. Kids enjoy these yummy corn muffins for snacks and holiday parties.