There is no need to pay for expensive jars of pureed or baked fruit for your baby. Save your money; you can make delicious and wholesome fruit dishes for your baby at home for a fraction of the cost. Even organic fruits are affordable when you bake them at home rather than buy them as baby food.
Home-baked fruit can also offer you all of the convenience of store-bought baby foods. Another benefit of home baking is that you can make a lot of fruit ahead of time and freeze it in individual portions. Simply pop a serving of fruit out of the freezer and warm it up when your baby is ready to eat.
Apples are a favorite fruit for many babies, and they are one of the fruits least likely to cause an allergic reaction. Depending where you live, they may also be less expensive than many of the other fruits you can purchase at the supermarket.
To bake apples, slice them in halves and remove the cores with an apple corer or a knife. Place the apples core-side down on a baking pan and fill it halfway full with water. Bake the apples at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is soft. Remove the apples from the baking pan and allow them to cool slightly, then peel the skins off the apples. When the apples are cool enough to serve your baby, cut them into small pieces or puree the apples and serve them.
Baking Pears and Bananas
Pears and bananas are also highly palatable for most babies. Each of these fruits contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals that are important for your baby’s development. These fruits bake quickly and require a watchful eye to make sure that they do not over cook.
Cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Peel bananas, but leave the skin on pears. Use an apple corer or a knife to remove the core from the pears. Place the fruit cut-side down into a lightly greased baking pan. Bake the fruit for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. After 10 minutes, check the fruit. When it is soft enough to easily break apart with a fork, it is done. If the fruit is still too firm, return it to the oven and continue baking it, checking it every five minutes.
Allow the fruit to cool enough to be easily handled. Then, slip the skins off the pears and discard them. Cut the fruit into small pieces or puree it.
Baking Peaches, Tangerines, Nectarines, and Plums
These soft fruits are perfect for baby because they are naturally sweet and flavorful. Because they are slightly tangy, these fruits are ideal for serving after they have become accustomed to apples, pears, bananas, and other mild-flavored fruit.
To bake these fruits, cut them in half and remove the pits. Place the fruit cut-side down in a baking dish and fill the dish with an inch of water. Bake the fruit for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the fruit is soft enough to be cut +easily with a fork. Remove the fruit from the pan and peel off the skin. Cut the fruit into small, serving-sized pieces or puree it.
Pureeing and Straining Fruit
Babies younger than nine months old require pureed fruit, because even soft chunks of fruit can cause choking. To puree your baked fruit, place the fruit into a blender with a few teaspoons of water. Then, puree the fruit until it is smooth. If the fruit is still chunky or dry, add a few more teaspoons of water and continue to puree it until it reaches your desired consistency.
After you puree the fruit, you will notice that it has a grainy texture that is not like the texture of store-bought baby food. This texture is usually fine for older babies, but babies nine months of age and younger need a smooth texture that will prevent choking. To strain fruit, place a bowl under a fine mesh strainer. Pour the pureed fruit into the strainer and press the fruit gently with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids left in the strainer.
Once the fruit is strained and ready to eat, you can serve it immediately or freeze it. To freeze the pureed fruit, pour it into individual serving-sized plastic cups. Allow the fruit to cool completely, then place the lids on and freeze the fruit. Most fruits will remain good for three to six months.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension: How to Make Homemade Baby Food
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