Posts Tagged ‘ purees ’

The Best Summer Fruits For Your Babe & How to Prepare Them

Monday, July 25th, 2011

watermelon

 


STRAWBERRIES

Why:
This nutrient-rich superfood is loaded with fiber and vitamin C.

Puree it:
Wash strawberries and slice in half. If berries are underripe, steam 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash it: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food.

Mix it with:
Bananas, pears, peaches, pears, apples

 

 

PEACHES

Why: This luscious fruit packs lots of calcium, vitamin A, and potassium.

Puree it: Wash, peel, pit, and dice peaches. If peaches are underripe, fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add peaches and cook 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash it: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food.

Mix it with:
Blueberries, pears, apples, strawberries, cherries, bananas

 

 

BLUEBERRIES, RASPBERRIES & BLACKBERRIES

Why: These brain-boosters are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.

Puree it: Wash berries. If berries are underripe, steam 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash it:
Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or serve as finger food.

Mix it with:
Peaches, bananas, pears, apples, mangoes

 

 

CHERRIES

Why: This sweet-tart fruit is a powerful source of antioxidants and fiber.

Puree it: Wash cherries, remove pits and slice in half. If cherries are underripe, fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add cherries and cook 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash it:
Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or slice and serve as finger food.

Mix it with: Apples, pears, peaches, bananas

 

 

WATERMELON

Why: This refreshing fruit is rich in vitamin C and fiber.

Smash it: Mash juicy watermelon with a potato masher or dice and serve as finger food.

Serve it with: Diced peaches, blueberries, pears, apples, or chunks of cheese

 

 

APRICOTS

Why: This tangy fruit is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.

Puree it: Wash, peel, pit, and dice apricots. If peaches are underripe, fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add apricots and cook 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash it: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or slice and serve as finger food.

Mix it with: Sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, apples

 

 

CANTALOUPE

Why: This sweet fruit is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C; it’s also a good source of potassium.

Smash it: Mash juicy melon with a potato masher or dice and serve as finger food.

Serve it with: Pears, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, or apples


PLUMS

Why: This fiber-filled fruit is a natural digestion aid for baby.

Puree it: Wash, peel, and dice plums. If plums are underripe, fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add plums and cook 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mash it: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or slice and serve as finger food.

Serve it with: Pears, bananas, apricots, or apples

 

 

What’s your babe’s fave summer fruit? How do you like to prepare it?

NOTE: Pediatricians have different opinions about when babies should try specific fruits; some, such as strawberries, are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than other fruits. Consult your pediatrician before starting your babe on a new fruit.

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Tuesday Timesaver: Homemade Cherry Applesauce in 18 Minutes

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011


One of our fave parts of summer is all the fresh produce. This summer we’re especially loving cherries, one of this year’s “in” ingredients according to trendspotters at the annual Fancy Foods Show, which took place in Washington, DC, last week. Mason first tried and enjoyed cherries in oatmeal. When I picked up a carton of cherries at the market last Thursday, I decided to combine some with organic Gala apples to make cherry applesauce. In addition to all the fiber from the apples and vitamins from both fruits, the cherries pack a powerful punch of antioxidants. The applesauce still tastes like applesauce but with a slight hint of cherry and it has a gorgeous rosy color. I cooked and pureed the rest of the cherries to make cherry yogurt (2 ounces of cherry puree + 3 spoonfuls of full-fat Greek yogurt). I made cinnamon-spiced applesauce with the rest of the apples.

Of course I could have just gone to the store to buy the cherry applesauce but the brand my store carries has 17 grams of sugar and 15 milligrams of sodium. No thanks. If there were an all-natural brand at my store and I were to walk there  to buy it — I live in New York City and never drive  — it would take 30 minutes round-trip, plus I’d have to haul Mason in his stroller. It only took 18 minutes to whip up the cherry applesauce after Mason went to bed (I already had the fruit on hand as part of our summer staple). I felt great knowing that the vitamin-rich applesauce I was going to feed Bug the next morning was totally natural — and that I saved time making it. Does your babe like applesauce? If so, do you mix it with other fruit?


Homemade Cherry Applesauce

Ingredients

10 fresh cherries
2 Gala apples

Directions

1. Wash cherries, remove pits, and slice in half. Set aside.
2. Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add apples and cook for 9 minutes; add cherries and cook both fruits together for 3 more minutes.
3. Drain and rinse the fruit under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture or mash with a potato masher for a chunkier texture. Makes about 10 ounces.
4. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to 3 months.

Cherry Puree

Ingredients

Fresh Cherries

Directions

Wash cherries, remove pits and slice in half. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Cook cherries for three minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture or mash with a potato masher for a chunkier texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Cinnamon-Spiced Applesauce

Ingredients

4 Gala apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Water

Directions

Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Cook apples until tender (about 12 minutes). Puree until smooth, adding in cinnamon halfway through.  Add water if needed. Makes 16 ounces. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

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Tuesday Timesaver: Frozen Veggies & Fruits

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011


Use frozen veggies and fruits instead of fresh. It’s that simple if you’re looking for a shortcut. You don’t have to wash frozen veggies and fruits, and many of them don’t need to be chopped (think broccoli florets, corn, and spinach) or peeled (think peaches and plums). Frozen veggies and fruits don’t spoil before you have a chance to prepare them. You can still go organic if you’re shopping in the freezer case instead of the produce section of your supermarket, and you’ll save money going frozen instead of fresh in winter. Additionally, frozen fruits and veggies might be more nutritious than fresh, according to an article published by EatingWell.com, because fruits and veggies are frozen at their peak ripeness when they’re most nutrient-rich. (This assertion was also supported by a study that was released by the UK-based Institute of Food Research last March.)

As an aside, I avoid canned produce, generally. In some cases, such as green beans, it can have much higher levels of sodium than fresh or frozen. And fruits are oftentimes packed in a heavy sugary syrup. If you’re going to go the canned route, be sure to check sodium levels first and buy fruit that’s packed in water, not sugar.

Of course, I’m not advocating that you give up fresh veggies and fruits for good. For anyone who likes to cook, there are few things more pleasurable than a lazy Sunday afternoon at the farmer’s market in search of seasonal gems. Furthermore, if you’re buying fruits and veggies locally chances are they’ve just been picked and the produce is still nutrient-rich. I’m just saying that if you’re tight on time (and what mom isn’t?) there are distinct advantages to going frozen, at least some of the time.

I go both ways. I love chopping veggies and fruits, and chilling at the farmer’s market, so I purchase fresh produce every week — but my freezer is also packed with frozen veggies, especially green beans, peas, peaches, broccoli, and asparagus. I puree both frozen and fresh produce, and I chop and steam both types of produce for healthy finger foods. For my money (and my time), cooking with both fresh and frozen produce is the way to go.

Editors Note: Oops, I goofed when I scheduled this post so this week’s Tuesday Timesaver is coming out on Wednesday! Mommy brain:)

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Curried Peas with Yogurt

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Best for Babies 8+ Months Old

The last week or so has been all about replenishing our stock of homemade baby food. Our life is crazy busy (like yours) so it helps to have several servings of healthy food in the freezer that I can just grab and heat up when mealtime rolls around. We’ve been traveling a lot so I haven’t had time to cook. Now that we’re home and things are settling down a bit, I’m loving all the time I have to cook. To help replenish our stock, I wanted to try something new — but I also wanted to make something Mason was sure to like. Since he loves  yogurt, peas, and curry powder, Fraya Berg’s pea recipe seemed like the obvious choice (plus we loved her apple and cabbage puree with raisins).

This new twist on peas was a snap to make. I cooked organic frozen green beans, then combined them with full-fat Greek yogurt and curry powder in the blender (no more fancy baby food making equipment for me). I tasted the puree as soon as it was ready, and it was absolutely delicious. The peas were bright and beautiful, with a rich, creamy texture from the yogurt. The curry powder added a very slight hint of spice. Mason loved it.

If you haven’t introduced your babe to spices yet, this is the perfect recipe to start with. The spice is very subtle, even more so than in my curried lentils recipe, and the recipe is calcium-rich and chock full of fiber from the peas. (Just be sure to use fresh or fresh-frozen green beans — canned beans are loaded with sodium.) My variation of Fraya’s recipe is below. Try it out — and let us know what you think!

Curried Peas with Yogurt

Ingredients

Peas, frozen or fresh, 10 ounces
1/3 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Water

Directions

1. Cook peas until soft, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse.2. Combine peas, yogurt, and curry powder in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. For a thinner puree, add water.

peas_draining

curry

Greek_yogurt

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple-Cabbage-Raisin Puree

Friday, June 24th, 2011

cabbage_apple_puree

Best for Babies 8+ Months Old

On Wednesday night I made Fraya Berg’s recipe for Cabbage and Apple Baby Food. I was intrigued by the combination of red cabbage, golden raisins, and apples. I never would have thought to combine those ingredients, but the combination is genius.  The cabbage and fiber add an even more powerful punch of vitamin-C and fiber to the applesauce, yet the mixture still tastes like applesauce, which so many babes love. I doubled the recipe and used Gala apples instead of Golden Delicious (I think Gala make a richer, tastier applesauce). I also chopped the ingredients instead of shredding them; I wanted the texture to be chunkier and I find it relaxing to chop produce. Mason tried it for the first time at lunch yesterday and he loved it. My variation of Fraya’s recipe is below. (Note: It’s so rich in fiber that it’s best to give to babes at least nine months old.) Can’t wait to hear what your babe thinks!

Apple-Cabbage-Raisin Puree

Ingredients

2 organic Gala apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups fresh red cabbage, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons organic golden raisins
Water

Directions

1.  Bring water in a saucepan to a boil. Add apple, cabbage, and raisins together until tender, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 12 minutes.
2. Strain and puree the ingredients in a food processor or blender until you reach desired texture.
3. Cool and freeze extras for up to three months.

Yield: 16 ounces of puree

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