From Lisa Barnes
Seeing as apples are one of the most heavily sprayed conventionally grown crops, and also a favorite first food for baby, it is an obvious choice for making your own fresh, organic puree. It’s easier than you think. Simply steam the apples using your method of choice and puree in a food processor or blender until desired consistency. Make a large batch and freeze in individual ice cube trays. Once frozen, simply pop out the cubes and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the bag with the contents (if making other purees you can easily confuse them) and date.
The great thing about homemade apple puree is that it is not only enjoyed by baby, but can also be used in other foods and recipes for all ages. It pairs well with a bit of cinnamon to accompany grilled pork, or warmed as a healthy topping for pancakes or waffles, or as a healthy addition to increase moisture and reduce fat in muffins. Here’s the recipe for baby’s organic apple puree as well as a recipe to use extra puree in mini banana apple bran muffins.
Apple Puree (from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)
Apples are a great first food because of their sweetness and versatility. Golden and Red Delicious, as well as Fuji apples have the least amount of acid, and thus are the most tolerable for babies. You may peel apples before or after cooking. Cooking with skins on allows the apples to retain more nutrients.
6 medium organic red delicious apples, washed, quartered and cored just before cooking
Steamer Method: Place prepared apples in steamer basket set in a pot filled with a small amount (about 1 – 2 inches, but not to touch fruit) of lightly boiling water. Cover tightly for best nutrient retention and steam for 10 – 12 minutes or until apples are tender. Apples should pierce easily with a toothpick. Set apples and cooking liquid aside to cool. Scrape apples for skin and puree in a food processor with a steel blade. Add tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid to puree to make smoother and adjust consistency.
Microwave Method: Place prepared apple quarters in microwave safe dish. Add ¼ cup water and cover tightly, allowing a corner to vent. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir apples and re-cover and cook for 3 – 6 minutes or until tender. Check for doneness, cool and proceed with recipe above.
Makes 16 – 18, one ounce baby servings.
An apple a day…When baby is ready for more texture, chunks on steamed apples are good finger foods. Also for teething baby, put steamed apple slices in the freezer for a soothing treat.
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Photo Credit: Lisa Barnes
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