Monday, November 9, 2009

Fun With Purple Potatoes - An Unplugged Project

We had a nifty science experiment planned for this week's Unplugged Project (hosted by Unplug Your Kids), but it's moving a little slower than we hoped, so we decided to go with a backup plan instead.

The theme this week is "purple", so we made a quick outing this morning, and picked up a small bag of purple potatoes. I've seen them before, but have never tried them, so I thought the children and I, could discover them together.

The outsides of the spuds were blackish purple, and not overly impressive. But, the insides were bright purple, and a lot juicier than a normal potato.

My son decided to slice up a few, for some purple potato chips. He prepared them as normal (slice thin, lay out on greased cookie sheet, salt, bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes, turn, salt again, bake for another 12 minutes).

I'm not sure these potatoes would be my first choice for potato chips. They are quite moist, and so the chips turned out a little chewier than normal. And, they have an earthier taste, that requires extra salt, to keep them from being too bland. They did retain their purple color though, and the children happily ate them.

While my son was slicing the chips, I decided to make up a couple of potato stamps for the little ones. Since the cut potatoes ooze a purple juice, there was no need to add paint to the stamp. They simply pressed out purple shapes, until the juice ran out, and then I sliced off a thin layer, and they started again. That was actually pretty fun.

Finally, we decided to see if the potatoes gave off enough color to make a dye. We diced up our remaining potatoes, and boiled them in a pot of water. Then, we dipped off 1/2 cup of the water, and used it in a batch of play dough. Unfortunately, the water was more gray than purple, and while there was a hint of lavender in the dough, it wasn't really enough to call purple (the children, in fact, called it white).

We did save the boiled potatoes, though. I plan to serve my hubby a nice helping of purple mashed potatoes, to go with his Monday night meatloaf. He's beginning to recover from the dandelion cookies, I made last spring, so I figure it's time to shake things up a little!

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Kim said...

i love purple potatoes! My husband wants to put them in our garden next year.....
Very nice idea. And you cant go wrong with a tater stamp!

Nicely done!!!

Kim said...

Do some back and let me know if you make them, I'd love to see what you came up with! More ideas for us too! said...

Great post-you got a lot of mileage out of those purple potatoes! Great idea---I am going some to make purple mashed potatoes at our house. It is great to be homeschooling!!