Food for the holidays: Fruit pies
The holidays are here and with all the fun and festivities, it is a great time to do some dinner table plant science.
Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and with all the foods and traditions it is the perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables, making it a ripe time for learning. Learning more about the foods we eat, how they grow, where they come from and teaching the kiddos a little plant science can make for a great time for young and old.
Let’s start with dessert. Apple pie, pumpkin pie and raspberry pie are on the menu today. Here are some questions to get started on this tasty learning adventure:
- Which plant part are apples, pumpkins and raspberries?
- What do fruits do for the plant?
- Fruits hold the plants seeds.
- Which pie is made from a berry?
- Why is a pumpkin a berry?
- It has lots of seeds throughout the fruit.
- Are raspberries berries?
- No, they are an aggregate fruit, made up of many drupes. A drupe is a fruit that has a hard pit or “stone” surrounded by pulp and an outer skin. Peaches and cherries are drupes. Botanically speaking, a raspberry looks like one fruit, but is many drupes packed together.
- What is an apple: a berry or drupe?
- It is neither. An apple is a pome. A pome is a fruit that has seeds in a papery core in the center of the fruit.
- Can you name another pome?
- Pears are also pomes.
- What is a person called who studies fruit?
- A pomologist is a scientist who studies fruit.
For more information on fruit and simple plant science for kids, Michigan State University Extension suggests the following websites to get you started:
- Easy Science for Kids: What is a Fruit, its Types and Characteristics?
- Science Kids: Plants for Kids
After desert, encourage kids to think of other fruits and if they are berries, drupes or pomes. Next time you are at the grocery store, buy fruit you have never tasted before and figure out what kind of fruits they are by the way it carries its seeds. Have a fruit tasting party with the cut up fruit. Older kids could look up information on where apples, pumpkins and raspberries are grown and where they originated from.
Enjoy some good, tasty fun for the holidays!
For other articles on plant science at the dinner table, see: