During mid-summer, children begin to get bored with summer vacation. Parents have started running out of ideas to keep children busy. Here is a project that is practical and when completed, will give the children a feeling of accomplishment. It is safe since there is no heat involved, and it teaches fundamentals of food preservation as well as measuring skills, fractions and following directions.

Peaches are plentiful in July and August and an easy way to preserve them is by freezing. Here are the directions:

Freezing Peaches

Wash hands thoroughly. Wash peaches to be frozen in water in the sink with a drop or two of dish detergent. Rinse well. Mix a thin syrup in a large bowl or pan by using four cups of water and two cups of sugar. Add a half tsp. of fresh fruit preserver (can be purchased in the canning section at the supermarket). Stir well and place near the sink. Do not cook. Peel the peaches using a vegetable peeler and place the peaches in the syrup as they are peeled (older children can use a knife and slice the peaches). Stir each time to make sure they are covered by the syrup to prevent them from darkening. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the peaches into a pint or quart plastic freezer bag. Then, using a small measuring cup, add syrup until it is about a half-inch or so from the top. Zip the bag shut and immediately place in the freezer. Leftover syrup can be used in gelatin desserts or ice tea for flavoring.

An additional project might be to use a bag of the frozen sliced peaches and place them in a food processor (young children need parental supervision to use this appliance). If necessary, place the frozen bag in the microwave for a few seconds to soften the ice before processing but do not thaw completely. Just soften enough to break the large lump apart. Add cream and process. It makes a delicious sorbet. The Italian sweet cream in the coffee creamer section at the grocery store works great for this. Just add a little at a time to prevent spattering and process until the peaches are chopped up. For fewer calories, use skim milk. Remember there is already sugar in the syrup surrounding the peaches. Frozen fruit from the supermarket can also be used. If it is used, sugar will need to be added.

To extend the learning:

Have the children look up information about different kinds of peaches and where they are grown. They should know the difference between cling peaches that ripen later in the summer and those that are not clings. Have the children investigate why peaches and apples turn dark when peeled.