Tuesday, July 24, 2007
My baby has a chef
Last week at the grocery store I purchased "representatives" from a large selection of the produce department. I wish I could say it was for my own consumption; however, I am venturing into the world of making healthy, balanced meals for my son. Until last week, I had never purchased a butternut squash, let alone prepared one.
Similar to canning, a good amount of effort and clean-up was required--but I also felt that satisfaction that comes from having a more active role in what is being eaten in your own household.
Although we tried other store-bought foods while we were on vacation, here's the home-prepared stuff my son has tried (and loved) this week: nectarine, plum, butternut squash, pear, sweet potato, mango and avocado*. Foods in bold needed no additional cooking/softening, so I just placed chunks of them in my handy food mill (Thanks, Mom A.!), and cranked out lovely pureed fruits and veggies. The other three foods required some steaming/baking before going through the mill. I kept out 2-3 portions to be served fresh from the fridge, and froze the others in 1-ounce portions in ice cube trays. (*I did not strain or freeze the avocado, as it was extremely easy to mash and seems better fresh. After giving my son a sample, I made the rest into some fabulous guacamole for myself.)
This first round was experimental. I wanted to see how much each fruit/veggie cost, how much effort was involved in preparing the food to be baby-friendly, and if my son would even eat it. In purchasing single items, I felt the squash and sweet potato delivered the most "bang for the buck." Conversely, even after steaming the pear, I found it difficult to work with and will probably stick with other fruits for now. Applesauce is so easy and inexpensive that I am purchasing it until I can make some of my own with local apples in the fall.
There is so much I want to learn about this process. I found lots of helpful info on-line, but am excitedly waiting for my copy of this to arrive via interlibrary loan.
Check out this comparison of home-prepared vs. store-bought green beans--what a difference!