Monday, April 25, 2011

Raspberry Puree, I think I loooooove her.

*originally written 2/27/2011*
While doing our usual browse through the supermarket produce section, my baby son and I decided to grab a pint of raspberries.  Well, I decided to pick them out, he decided to grab on to the pint and try to put it in his mouth!  Either way we got some raspberries because I am still slowly, but surely, introducing him to fruits.  Now raspberries are tricky because they have an abundance of seeds and they’re not super-sweet, especially if you have the displeasure of not growing them on your own!  Of course I don’t have a raspberry plant, but I trusted that this generously-priced pint of berries would be good.  They were, but they were still a bit tart.  This is a common occurrence with a lot of berries so they tend to play second fiddle to sweeter fruits in baby food recipes to offset their tart flavor.  Most babies don’t do well with acidic or bitter tastes; it’s because we are programmed to enjoy sweet things like breast milk as infants.  I’m pretty sure you’ll never find a totally raspberry or strawberry baby food, so I combined it with the sweetest fruit I could think of: BANANAS.  Once I added that my son loved his “banana-berry” baby food :D  You can take a look at my entry about bananas here:

Nutritional Perks
I actually found a neat website that gave me nutrition facts on a lot of different serving sizes for raspberries, so the nutrition facts given here are for just ¼ cup of raspberries.  That was really helpful because that’s really all I use in my banana-berry recipe!  In a ¼ cup of raspberries there are only 16 calories, 0 grams of fat, but the big perk is 13% of an adult’s daily intake for vitamin C, so raspberries, according to the USDA’s laws of food-labeling, would be considered an “excellent” source of vitamin C.  You can read more about the importance of vitamin C in one of my previous blogs,


Frozen vs. Fresh/Organic vs. Non-Organic
I’m not going to pretend that raspberries are inexpensive because they’re not.  Raspberries are difficult to harvest, difficult to get at their peak ripeness, and even more difficult to ship them unscathed, so the price reflects all the hard work.  Period.  If raspberries are just too expensive to stomach, I am not above using frozen.  In fact, the frozen kind actually process better because they will be partially-mushy once thawed in the refrigerator because of all the ice crystals that pierced the fruit!  Obviously fresh will always be better because you never know exactly how long those raspberries have been frozen, but I live on a budget and I won’t tell you to never buy frozen.  In the produce section “organic” means that the fruit or vegetable has not been genetically modified, no chemicals have been used in the fertilizer, and no pesticides were used on the fruit.  There is a list of the top fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides and raspberries are on that list.  If you’re concerned about your child imbibing pesticides or preservatives, buy organic.  You can attempt to wash the raspberries by soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar added, but if you’re still worried, buying USDA certified organic is the way to go.  “Locally-grown” does not mean “organic.”  That sounds like a big “DUH” but I always assume local farmers don’t use additives.

Call raspberries the “Gladys Knight” of the fruit world because they’re full of PIPS!  Yeah, that was a pretty bad joke, but raspberries have little, hard seeds called “pips” (not kidding) that are totally-indigestible –as most seeds are—and aren’t very fun to try and pick out.  When I make raspberry puree I use a sieve to remove all of the seeds.  Instead of paying in upwards of $50 for a French “chinois” (a cone shaped strainer) I just buy a cup-sized “tea strainer” for the job.  It fits right over the mouth of most cups, it’s as easily stored as a whisk, and it’s really inexpensive!  They are usually found in the section of the store with all the wooden cooking spoons and whatnot.  I get a lot of use out of that little guy so I don’t feel quite as bad for going through the “gadget” section of Walmart and picking up nearly everything in sight :D  So when you’re done processing the raspberries you just push the puree through the strainer with the back of a spoon & voila!  Perfectly processed produce!  Raspberry puree is pretty runny, but that’s another reason it combines well with other fruits.

Elias didn't take well to raspberries at first so I assumed he didn't like it, but I learned that it can take as many as 8-12 times before a baby accepts a "new" food.  He likes them now!

Banana-berry puree.  Hooray!
1 half ripe banana
2 T raspberry puree (1/4 cup raspberries pureed in processor and pushed through a sieve to remove seeds)

Place ingredients in food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  For an older child, like my son who is 7-1/2 months now, you can just mash the bananas and raspberry puree in a bowl and proceed to feed it as is.  This is intended to be 1 serving of banana-berry puree.


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