Omega-3-rich avocados are a great first introduction to solid foods. Avocados have a buttery, creamy texture that's easy for babies to mash between their gums, their flavor is very mild, and they don't have a thin, edible skin that could cause babies to choke. Pediatricians generally recommend green veggies before the sweeter yellow veggies -- the theory is that if babies have the sweet stuff first they won't take the less sweet produce at all -- but avocado passes green veggie standards even if it is technically a fruit. Domestic avocados are at their best in June, but imported avocados are sold in grocery stores throughout the year. Look for fruit with a firm texture that gives slightly when you squeeze it; the color can vary from green to dark purple and isn't the best indicator of ripeness. Hard avocados are underripe and will become grainy when pureed; squishy avocados are past their prime. (To ripen an avocado, place it in a cool place out of direct sunlight for a couple of days.) One avocado mixed with formula or breastmilk yields 6 to 8 ounces of puree.
Slice avocado down the middle, lengthwise, working around the pit. Twist each half of the avocado until it pulls apart. Use a spoon to pry out the pit, or stick the blade of a sharp knife into the pit and twist until the pit pops out. Cut slices lengthwise in the avocado just down to the skin and then peel the skin back. Or, scoop the flesh out of the avocado with a spoon.
Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency. For extra creaminess, puree the avocado with breastmilk or formula instead of water.
For chunkier avocado, which is ideal for babies 10 months or older, mash it with a fork instead of pureeing it.
Avocado is a classic baby favorite alone, or combined with sweet banana puree for a fluffy puree that packs a powerful punch of omega-3-rich and potassium. Try to use all of the puree at once since avocadoes don't refrigerate or freeze very well. If you must refrigerate leftovers, seal them in an airtight container.
Note: Always check with your pediatrician before introducing your baby to a new food, particularly if your baby has food allergies. Additionally, some pediatricians do not recommend making your own carrot, beet, or spinach puree because these fresh veggies can be higher in nitrates.
Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.