By Anya Vollstedt, AmeriCorps Food Educator
With the start of December, Common Threads Food Educators began teaching our second recipe of the cooking season! “What are we cooking today?!” students ecstatically asked Food Educators as they walked into the classroom.
The simplicity of this recipe allows educators and students to dive into a conversation about spices while the apples cook down to a chunky sauce. During this time we look at a world map to notice the origins of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg. Students question why these spices can easily grow in other parts of the world yet have trouble growing locally.
Some third grade classes are learning about continents and are encouraged by their teachers to bring out a world map to notice the different countries these spices come from. Teachers are excited to see the overlap in material and students are eager to test their geography skills! 
When the room starts to smell wonderful,we serve up warm applesauce and start to explore the spices! Educators lead students through various activities where they utilize their senses to observe fresh spices, smell them, and finally (after a “Bon Appetit, it’s time to eat!”) taste them as they are stirred into their individual tasting cups. Many students are trying these spices for the first time, and learning how far a tiny bit of spice can go.
The result of this concoction of apples and spices? As one Roosevelt Elementary fourth grader exclaimed after tasting the freshly made applesauce, “It is so sweet, and we didn’t even add sugar!”

View the recipe and try making your own applesauce at home!

We would love to hear from you if you do try it at home   – send us an email at or share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.