A Thanksgiving DIY: Clove-Spiked Apples & video- 'kids say the vegan-est things!'
Thanksgiving is 12 days away. Unlike in past years where I show up wildly unprepared, this year I'm playing host-and I googled, pinned, and planned my little heart out. We have a barrage of dishes to prepare on the big day, but I want to get as much done beforehand as I can. That includes the decorations. Now don't get me wrong, going simple with a few candles and a cranberry garland would still be lovely, but I wanted to get classy and adult-like this year and do something creative. We needed a simple project with big results. And preferably one we could do with my sweet cousins who were visiting. We picked some late-season apples from the orchard beside our house, dug out the cloves, and got to work.
We opted for a spin on an old classic: cloved-spiked oranges. Alex's Mom owns and runs an adorable French antique shop back in California, and her holiday decorations are the gold-standard by which we judge our own. She has an excellent eye and gets pretty creative with the table settings. We think our locally collected, eco-friendly ornaments would make the cut at her holiday table.
We loved that this was a project we could include our little friends in. Small hands are perfect for pushing those little cloves into soft apples, and just getting the apples themselves became somewhat of an adventure. We were lucky enough to be able to cross the field and pick some very late season apples from the trees and ground on a nearby orchard, keeping our costs and environmental impact low. You can always buy a cheap bag of apples at the grocery store, the softer the better, just not TOO soft- they need to last 'til the big day! No apples? Get creative with pears or grapefruit, or get classic with oranges.
First things first: decide what your message will be. The girls and I brainstormed words and phrases that made of think of Thanksgiving. Squash, Food, Pilgrims, and Family all made the list, but we settled on a simple, smart saying: 'give thanks'. We used 10 apples to spell it out, and used a couple extras as testers and mistakes. Our format for 'materials needed' will be set up to write the same message we did. If you want to write something different, simply increase or decrease your apples and cloves amount. The letters we traced were about 2 inches in height.
Materials Needed: 1/4 to a 1/2 cup whole cloves (we used closer to a 1/4 cup) 10 apples, plus a few extras for mistakes a permanent marker
Method: Wash and dry the apples to remove any dirt, or in our case, spiderwebs from the grass. Use a permanant marker to draw letters on the apples. We aimed for our letters to all be about 2 inches tall in uppercase lettering, so they would be uniform. Feel free to use fancy lettering if you can freehand it. Just remember- kids work best in straight lines. Once your letters are ready, push cloves into the lines, small flat end first. Push the clove gently, grasping more by the sides than the top, until it is completely pushed in and the ball of the clove is flush with the skin of the fruit. The tops can break off if too much pressure is applied directly to the top when pushing down- so be careful! A few broken cloves is fine, but overall the goal is to include the whole thing. Once all the letters have been traced over with cloves use a towel or rag to wipe any dripping juices from the apple. Arrange the apples onto a large plate or serving platter, or spread them around the celebratory table. They look great against wood and shades of cream and they'd be really cute hung from the ceiling!
We arranged our finished apples on a large white serving dish with accents of pine boughs and pinecones. The clove smell is surprisingly pleasant; you can smell a hint of fall all through the kitchen without being overwhelmed. The apples should last up to about a week once cloved. Remember, since you poked holes in the apples, they will turn more quickly. To slow this process store them in a cool place until they're table ready.
And now the video! My two adorable cousins, Natalie (7) and Emma (6), love to talk. Especially on camera, where they can watch themselves. Its pretty cute, watching them preform for the camera. We started talking to them about veganism on camera and kept the cutest bits for you. Enjoy!