The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Here’s how we do apple slices…

One of my kids is a picky eater. I hate that about him. I really do. I find it to be a truly vile character trait.

Before kids (B.K.), I was the kind of gal who always said: “If I ever have a kid who won’t eat what I put in front of him, he can just go hungry, dammit!”

Yeah.

What an ass. {me, not the kid}

I also used to judge my friends with kids and think to myself, how can anyone let the inside of their car smell like that?! And, why don’t they just teach their kids to not wipe their boogers on the walls?

What a bitch. {me, not the friends}

So here I am, umpteen years later with three of my very own stinky, booger wiping, picky-eater kids. Serves me right, I say. I truly hope my older friends are enjoying the irony. They’re off playing golf and taking art classes now while their kids are in college, and I’m stuck at home with a 4 year old. And will be for the next, oh, about 14 years. Good times.

I bring this up because as the mother of a picky-eater, I have had some tough choices to make. This kid (Nature Boy, the 11 year old) does not eat most fruits. The ONLY fruit he will touch with a ten foot pole is a Granny Smith apple. Period. And it has to be fresh. No apple sauce, no apple pie, no apple leather.

Some mothers might tell their picky child to stick it. I would, truly I would, but you see, this same child had some pretty awful constipation issues when he was about 4 years old which led to some pretty awful bowel problems for a while there. So I would do anything to get this kid to eat fruit. And if that means preparing his ONE fruit the ONE way he’ll eat it, then by-golly I’ll do it and I’ll do it with a f#cking smile on my face.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you today, this Tuesday, for my weekly Just the Tip Tuesday feature. Today we are talking about apples.

I have a way of cutting an apple, just so, and naturally preserving it so it won’t turn brown and icky by the time my kids are ready for snack or lunch at school.

And no, it’s not lemon juice, although that works too. My tip is much cheaper.

The secret ingredient is salt. Kosher salt, to be exact.

But first, we have to wash the apple.

I am always surprised to learn that some people don’t wash their produce. Even if you buy organic stuff, don’t forget how many hands have probably touched that produce. Dirty hands. Hands with poop on them. Poop, I say.

Now listen, I’m not a germophobe in general. I don’t wear a travel-sized bottle of Purell around my neck or anything. But I am afraid of poop. Poop is gross. I don’t want poop on or near my food. I’m also afraid of pesticides. Ever since Mini-Me started developing breast buds at the tender age of 8, I’ve been extra freaky-deaky about the chemicals in our house.

So I wash my produce. And I don’t just wipe it on my sleeve or run it quickly under water. I actually wash it.

Here’s what I use:

Look at naughty Ike back there cruisin’ for some leftovers. “Oooh, she pulled out the camera. Now’s my chance!”

The Veggie Wash on the left is in a spray bottle. I use that for things like grapes, broccoli, kale, etc. The glass jar on the right is a cheese-shaker filled with baking soda. I sprinkle that on waxy fruit like apples and then rub it with a little water to remove the dirt, wax, and pesticides. Go ahead, call me names. I’m rubber, you’re glue…

Now it’s time to cut the apple.

Do you have certain things you do for your kids that they’ve grown accustomed to and expect? That’s how mine are with apples. They like their apples cut “Mommy’s way.” I have totally ruined them, I know. Here’s what Mommy’s Way looks like:

I make four cuts around the core, giving me four big pieces to work with:

Then I very methodically cut each of those four pieces into 1/4″ slices while muttering things like “I’m an excellent driver,” and “Three minutes ’till Wapner.”

Here’s what it looks like when I’m all done cutting…

I never actually line them up like this… I’m just trying to be fancy for the camera. And yes, I do have one of those stainless steel apple cutters. I hate it. It’s too hard to use and I’m always afraid I’m going to cut off a finger.

Next, I scoop them all up into a bowl and sprinkle a big ol’ pinch of kosher salt on them:

Then I fill the bowl with water and let them soak for a few minutes.

Lastly, I pull the apples out and set them on a clean towel to absorb the extra water.

And that’s it. The apples will taste a little salty, but in a good way. It’s actually a nice sweet/sour/salty combo. We like it!

The salt will naturally preserve the apple slices for the whole day. To be honest, I’ve eaten bags of apple slices found in the bottom of my purse two or three days later and they were totally fine.

One more thing… my friend Mama Cloud talked me into buying a bunch of these Snack Taxis last fall and I’m so glad she did. I love these things!

They come in the cutest patterns and two different sizes for sandwiches and snacks. I bought one big and one small for each person in the family and we all use them everyday! It’s nice to not send so many plastic baggies to the landfill. Group hug!

EPILOGUE:

While I was writing this, Bucket Head came running into my office to tell me that Ike stole his apple slices.

I went to investigate, and this is what I found:

…a wet Snack Taxi, filled with…

…partially masticated salt-preserved apple nibblets. Damn dog.

Well as you can see, it is never a dull moment around here… for me. But you deserve better. You really do. Hey, you know what, bonus points for reading this boring post all the way through. To reward you, I’ll going to send you over to my friend Mid 30’s Life. She wrote the funniest thing today about vaginas. Go read it and tell her The Bearded Iris sent’cha.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

19 Comments

  1. Salt on apples, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’m gonna’ try it.

    Cute bags too. We use bento boxes. I hate baggies.

  2. Jessica Pierce

    March 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Wow, you really wash your fruit. That’s inspiring. I think I’m way too lazy for that, but it’s inspiring.
    Just wanted to say a quick idea about constipation in children. My second daughter was my, uh, challenging child and one of the issues was constipation. We actually took her to see an osteopath and it took 2 visits, but we haven’t had a problem since. It was AMAZING. Just a thought.
    I’m now going to read about breast buds in 8 year olds just so I can stay awake tonight stressing about my two daughters. We already eat fairly healthy, but good lord…breast buds. That might just send me over the edge.
    Oh, and just so you know who this is–I follow you on Twitter under pottejc. 🙂

  3. Love it! I noticed the other day at target that a bottle of the veggie wash was $5!!!!!!!!!!
    I use the basic H2 from shaklee and spray it right on our apples and produce and it is pennies per spray bottle. Swear. You should look into it. And its organic. 🙂 I love your blog! Thanks for your funny thoughts and I like your snack taxi’s! 🙂

  4. Salting apples…Great idea! I just make my kids eat brown ones. Maybe my picky kid would eat more if they weren’t. hmmm….
    I seriously <3 my Laptop Lunches… best lunchbox ever! But I've been meaning to get some of those reusable snack bags for, well, snacks. Those are cute ones! With an awesome name. BTW loved the video and seeing my bloglove in action. BL ~ osc

  5. I swear, not to God, just I swear that my DH just cut an apple like that for Ally the other day, only not the entire apple, and we have the same knife pictured AND our little jack russell is a total food slut. I let him go to the neighbors last night since I was feeling guilty we had left him alone and he totally ran around the kitchen, dining and livingroom with his nose to the ground, hunting, hunting, hunting. Today he stole graham crackers from Ally, unfortunately he is just the right height for a 2.5-year-old’s hands. And are you sure you don’t live in California……what’s wrong with those cute little mini zip-lock plastic bags……I think I recognize that fabric line from Moda those little bags are made out of…I may have to make some.

  6. Ha! I TOTALLY cut the apples (and apple-pears) like that in our house! It started when I was pregnant with Little Bit last year and I would cut up apples to munch on through the day. The salt is a new twist — I usually just eat my apples brown since they sit out for awhile before I finish them. Good tip!

  7. I so hear you on all counts Iris. That is, saying all those things about kids to my friends who were smart enough to have kids when they were younger and now I have my own kids, I’m ‘eating my words’. I said “they’ll never eat in the car” and “they’ll never eat boogers”. How wrong was I? I think I’ll be playing golf with a zimmer frame!

    I’ve also got the fussiest 6 year old girl, in the entire universe, but I’m lucky she’ll eat fruit. No vegies, only hot chips (or fries as you guys call them). I have to cut her apple too, at a 45 degree angle to the core, with all the planets lined up and the birds whistling “Dixie” before she’ll eat it. I even bought little, tiny, weeny apples yesterday hoping she might actually bite into one, but no such luck. I must confess, I’m a ziplock bag freak and found they keep her slices going brown but will try the salt and pick up some of those bags. Thanks for the tip!

  8. I think you may be ever so slightly germaphobic? I read about the Vagazils. I am still disturbed.

  9. That. Is. Terribly. Dedicated. LOL

  10. Hi Iris,

    I’d like to present you with One Lovely Blog award.

    The requirements of accepting this award are as follows:

    1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.
    2. You have to tell seven facts about yourself that others might not know.
    3. Pass the awards along to as many as fifteen blogs you have found recently.
    4. Notify the bloggers of their awards.

    Just save the “Blog Award” as a .jpg file, which you can get from my latest post on my blog.

  11. Thanks for the mention!

    I don’t know what you would think if you saw my 2 year old daughter eat an apple. This is a child who can pick a week and decide not to eat dinner any of those nights, but she’ll pick an apple of the tree and it will be gone. The stem, the core, the seeds – gone. Or if I could use a nice broad Aussie accent here “GAWN.”

    If I try to cut it, she will scream. My son on the other hand has to have it peeled, cut, and arranged decoratively on the plate.

  12. I must admit I have never pondered actually wearing a purell bottle around my neck, but you have awakened a new fashion sense for me.

  13. OHMYGOD, that seems like a lot of work for one stinkin’ apple. I sure hope your kids appreciate you.

  14. Holy cow you crack me up! I am so happy Erin told me to check your blog out! Totally laughing my butt off! I love the kosher salt idea I had been trying to find the perfect way to keep the dang things from turning brown! Now I can’t wait to go ready your friends blog about Vaginas sounds so interested bwahahaha!

  15. Okay, Erin @ Healthy Branscoms sent me over here, and I am SO glad she did. I have been laughing my butt off. You are hilarious, and I’ve needed a laugh. I have a feeling I’ll be a frequent visitor around here 🙂

    Would love if you’d stop by my blog and say hello when you get a chance.
    -Becca
    Becca’s Perspective

  16. Speaking of POOP…my niece (who is now 14) got a BRAIN WORM. http://www.rense.com/general9/brain.htm
    She got it in Cozumel while on a cruise when she was 4…and at age 11 had seizures…long story short…she had a worm on her head for 7 F*cking years….nasty. Hospital stay and medication killed that nasty bandito feces….nasty just el nastio. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/story?id=6309464&page=1

    • OMG – that is so fucking horrifying!! I’ve tried watching that Discovery Channel show: Monsters Inside Me, but I can never hang. It scares me too much and then I find myself looking too closely at my stool for critters which is never pleasant. What? TMI?

      Maybe I have a worm in my head? That would explain a lot.

  17. I really like the baking soda in a parmesan cheese shaker idea. I might have to try that.

    My apple dippers method – rinse the apple well (rub under running water for a bit); line up the apple corer/slicer and wedge it in a bit to get it started; lift up the apple corer tool (with apple still stuck to it) and SLAM! it down onto the counter; put apple wedges in a bowl and drip a few drops of lemon-juice-in-plastic-squeeze-lemon on top. Very quick & easy and my kids are used to it (imperfections & all – watch out for apple seeds from misaligned apple corer tool – DEAL WITH IT, KID).

  18. i lightly sprinkle the sliced apples with cinnamon and that way you can’t tell whether they are brown from the cinnamon or from the air

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