Ideal for babies who are ready for multi-fruit purees, cherries add pleasing tartness and a gorgeous rosy hue to purees made from light, sweet fruits such as apple, banana, and pear. In summer, this powerhouse fruit is so juicy you probably won't have to cook it before you puree it. Frozen cherries are a quick, easy, and affordable alternative during off-peak months, and you can steam a bunch in just 3 minutes. When purchasing fresh cherries, look for deep red fruit with a uniform color that's free of nicks, bruises, and other blemishes. Six whole cherries yield about four ounces of puree.
Wash cherries with a mixture of three parts water and one part white vinegar to remove bacteria. Rinse under cool running water and dry. Remove stem and slice each cherry in half, lengthwise, working your way around the pit. Use a spoon or the blade of a sharp knife to pry the pit of the cherry loose.
If your cherries are ripe, skip this step and move on to step 4. If you're working with cherries that aren't fully ripe or are frozen, place the fruit in a steamer and cook for only three minutes to help preserve vitamins and minerals. Drain cherries and rinse with cold water for three minutes to stop the cooking process.
Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency.
For chunkier cherry puree, which is ideal for babies 10 months or older, mash the cherries with a potato masher instead of pureeing it.
Unless they're very sweet, tart cherries are best for baby when they're pureed and mixed with a sweeter fruit puree, full-fat yogurt, or cereal. Try mixing cherry puree with:
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Cool cherry puree (if you steamed the cherries) and refrigerate leftovers in BPA-free containers for up to 3 days. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
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.
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