Students harvest crabapples from high school's front lawn

Rose Carter, a junior at Carson High School, had never before noticed the crabapple trees in front of her school.

"I didn't even know these were here," she said.

That is until the 16-year-old joined her culinary arts classmates Wednesday afternoon in harvesting the fruit.

Curiosity got the best of Rose, and she bit into one of the apples she had plucked from a low-hanging branches.

"They're awesome," she exclaimed. "I'm going to come out here at lunch."

But instructor Penny Reynolds had sweeter plans for the harvest.

"I hope we'll get 10 milk crates full," she said. "Ideally, that will make four dozen quarts of jam and chutney."

She plans to sell the finished product at the high school's craft fair in November as a fundraiser for the culinary arts program.

"When our resources are scarce," she said, "we'll utilize what we have. We have fruit coming out of our ears, so we're going to take advantage of that."

But she doesn't fault the students for not having noticed the trees before. Reynolds said in the 10 years since they were planted, this was the first time they've borne fruit.

"I've never seen this before," she said.

Reynolds said it was a good opportunity to teach her students not only how to prepare the food, but where it comes from.

"We're having fun and we're learning," said Ashliee Smith, 16. "We're learning the whole process of food. It goes from here, to cooking it, to eating it, to throwing it away when you're done."

While the raw crabapples may be too bitter for some people's taste, Reynolds said, they would soon be a sweet treat.

"We'll add some walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon," she said.

The chutney would go well with a variety of dishes, she said, from pork to pancakes.

And it made for a memorable day.

"It's better than sitting in class," said Tyler Good, 16.


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