Apples are a great choice for one of your baby's first foods -- they're easy to digest, are a great source of fiber, and are so versatile, they can be paired with almost any other purée.
This shouldn't come as a shock, but I am completely in awe of my daughter. She's bubbly when she's happy and stoic when she's not. She surprises us every day by using new words and demonstrating new skills. And, much to our chagrin, she's showing us her mischievous side earlier than we expected to see it.
I'm amazed by how fast she picks things up and by how much she's learned in the few months she's been in school. Sometimes, it's difficult to wrap my head around how much she's changed over the past 19 months. A year ago, solids were still new to her. But in the past few weeks alone, she's eaten a wide variety of things with gusto (especially this, this, this, and this...) and has asked for multiple helpings with enthusiasm. Her willingness to eat whatever we put in front of her is astounding!
Now that I think about it, it was about this time last fall when we introduced apples into her diet. She loved them from the start, and now it's fun to watch her eat apple slices all on her own.
Today, I'm going to show you how easy it is to make applesauce at home. On this occasion, I used organic gala apples from the grocery store. But if you have a surplus of apples from a recent trip to the orchard, then feel free to use those!
Start by washing your apples really well. Then use a peeler (like this one) to remove the skin from the fruit.
Next, you're going to want to remove the core from each apple and the fruit into even pieces. You want the slices to be about the same size so they cook evenly. While you can do this job with a regular kitchen knife, I love using my apple corer (similar) for this.
Place the apple slices in a large pot or Dutch oven (similar) and then fill the pot with water until the apples are just covered. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. Cover the pot and simmer the apples for five minutes or until the fruit is fork tender.
Drain the apples and reserve the cooking liquid. Using a food processor (like this one), blender, or immersion blender (I love this one) purée until the applesauce reaches your desired consistency and texture, using the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. You'll want a smoother texture for younger babies, while older babies who have a few teeth may be able to handle something a little chunkier.
Making a ton of applesauce at once? Plan to freeze some of it for later. I prefer portioning out the applesauce with ice cube trays, but go ahead and use your favorite method of freezing food.
This applesauce will keep in the freezer for 1-3 months, so your baby can enjoy it over the course of several weeks! And when you're ready to introduce multiple flavors at once, combine the applesauce with sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, pears... Really, the possibilities are endless -- experiment and have fun!
Homemade Baby ApplesauceINGREDIENTS
- 4 pounds organic gala apples, washed, peeled, cored, and sliced
- Add the sliced apples to a large pot or Dutch oven and fill the pan with enough water to just cover the fruit.
- Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.
- Cover the pot and simmer the apples for 5 minutes or until the apples are fork-tender.
- Drain the apples, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, purée the apples until smooth, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid to achieve the desired consistency.
Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature and spoon into clean ice cube trays. Wrap the trays in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set overnight. Pop the cubes out of the trays and transfer them to freezer bags labeled with the date and the contents. You can keep the applesauce in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go
How To: Use Homemade Applesauce
What if you make and/or freeze a batch of applesauce and your baby decides he/she doesn't like it anymore? If you're left with a whole lot of applesauce in your freezer, here are some ways to use it up:
- Apple Oat Bran Muffins
- Blueberry Pecan Applesauce Loaf
- Eggless Pumpkin Pie
- Sweet Potato Morning Glory Muffins
- Whole Wheat Zucchini Applesauce Bread
Need more homemade baby food recipes? Try these:
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