Welcome to week 44 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a Learning Moment that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
Kitchen Classroom 2021: Week 44
In this week’s edition of Kitchen Classroom, it’s time to head into the Kitchen STEAM Lab for a hands-on science experiment. Kids may have found in the past that after they’ve cut open an avocado, it can turn brown as it sits out exposed to the air (no!). Is there a way to keep prepped avocados fresh and green instead? Kids will find out by conducting a side-by-side experiment and observing the power of acid in Awesome Avocados and Amazing Acids. After they’ve completed their experiment, kids can use their avocado halves to make something delicious, such as our Avocado Toast with Fried Eggs, Avocado Sauce, or Veggie Wrap with Hummus.
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Here’s what’s cooking for the week of November 1st through 7th, 2021.
Kitchen STEAM Lab: Awesome Avocados and Amazing Acids
In this simple science experiment, kids learn about oxidation—the chemical reaction that turns the flesh of fruits, such as avocados and apples, brown—and how to prevent it from happening. The experiment requires just a few minutes of set up, but kids will need to wait 8 to 24 hours to observe their results. You might want to start the activity one afternoon or evening and complete it the following day.
[GET THE EXPERIMENT]
What You’ll Need
1 lemon (or 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice)
1 cup water
1 ripe avocado
Physical Science (Chemical Reactions):
Before starting this experiment, ask kids, “Have you ever noticed fruit turning brown after it’s been cut?” Ask them for any examples they can think of, like apple slices turning brown in a lunchbox, or banana slices turning brown in a fruit salad. Why do kids think this happens? Explain to kids that in today’s experiment, they will find out more about this phenomenon and see if there’s a way to prevent it from happening.
After completing the experiment, have kids read the “Food for Thought” section at the bottom of this experiment’s page. Explain to kids that when molecules in the flesh of avocados (or other fruits) are exposed to oxygen in the air, they form new, brown-colored molecules thanks to a reaction called oxidation. Acids (like the lemon juice used in this experiment) are antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent the oxidation reaction from occurring. Keeping the avocado flesh under water also prevents too much oxygen from reaching it, leaving your young chef with a fresh, green avocado. If they like, kids can repeat this experiment with other fruits that turn brown when exposed to air, to see if it works for them as well.
Take It Further
Kids can use their avocado halves (including the the oxidized avocado—just scrape the brown parts off with a spoon and discard) to make Avocado Toast with Fried Eggs for breakfast or a snack, Avocado Sauce, which is great served with fish or drizzled over a grain bowl or taco, or a Veggie Wrap with Hummus as a quick and easy lunch. Or, have kids invent their own dish featuring this nutritious fruit!