Ballarat Steiner School: Crabapple jelly!
A fruit tree is a wonderful way for children to come to an understanding of time and the cyclical nature of the seasons. The tree itself marks the passing of time as its leaves bud then unfurl, the blossoms open and call to the bees, then the fruits form and can be harvested, before the leaves colour and fall once again.
The crabapple tree in the centre of the kindergarten yard was a gift many years ago from Anna Placidi’s mother, Rosie, and Kate Jones’ mother, Jean, and it has grown sturdier and more productive with each passing year. Last year the rosellas made off with all our fruit before they even had a chance to ripen, but the children have seen the blossoms come again, and watched the tiny wild apples form after the bees visited and the petals dropped, and then helped to net the tree before the summer holidays to ensure we wouldn’t lose the fruit once again.
Their patience has been rewarded with a massive crop, but once the net was removed there was only one day of picking from the tiny kindergarten and prep gang, then a brief effort by the school children, before the birds somehow got wind of things and moved in once more to strip the tree.
We have spent a week making the jelly: first washing the apples then boiling them, stalks, skins, pips and all into pulp, and hanging this to drip overnight from a muslin cloth into a bowl. The next day we boiled up the sour rosy juice with an equal quantity of sugar and set it in jars as a gift to all the kindergarten children at home, and for the few children attending “big” school. We have put aside a very large jar for the prep children to share as they missed out on their jelly last year, then finally took home a little jar each ourselves.
As Marian intones with us in eurythmy: “We spread it thick, we spread it thin, we spread it on our toast. We thank the tree, we thank the sun, for the jam we love the most.”May 2020