Nov 17

A recipe and method for making baby food from scratch was never a “fundamental” one for me until about two months ago.  A new mother of a five month old son I never had the need or desire to delve into single ingredient purees until recently. But with this little guy peering down into my bowl of cereal every morning and curiously watching every food laden utensil that enters my mouth, I get the impression he is becoming interested in real food.

And I know I am not the only one trying to feed a baby the homemade way these days. With expensive gadgets and kitchen equipment promising to take the “guesswork” out of making baby food, it makes me think people are really in the dark about how simplistic the process actually is.

Like all good recipes, the quality of the ingredients is the most important factor in producing great results. And since baby food is essentially the puree of only one or two ingredients, there is not a lot of room for compromise here.  You may also not want to compromise on the organic factor, either, given the sensitivity of little ones and their potential for growth at this early age.

Working with seasonal produce often gives you a leg up on both freshness and flavor, and in this case I chose some beautiful Autumn Bosc pears. Already sweet and fragrant from several days ripening on the counter, there was little that could stand in the way between them and a delicious puree.  Steaming them just until tender kept their flavor in tact, and a prompt blitz in the food processor preserved their natural golden color.

Equipment: A medium size saucepan with a tight fitting lid, or ideally a steamer insert, is needed to cook the pears. A blender or food processor is essential to finely puree the steamed fruit.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

6 ripe Bosc pears (preferably organic), peeled, cored and cut into quarters

Method:

Heat ½ cup of water in the base of your saucepan or steamer with a tight fitting lid on top. When the water reaches a boil, add the pears and cook covered for about 10 minutes (depending on ripeness).  A fork inserted in the pears should slip out easily when they are cooked, but the pears should still retain their shape and not fall apart.

Strain the cooked pears through a colander to remove any excess liquid then immediately add them to the food processor and puree until smooth for about 2 minutes.  Allow the puree to cool to room temperature before portioning into single servings in a freezer safe container.  To serve, pop out an individual portion of puree and either defrost in the microwave or heat slowly in a dry saucepan.

2 Responses to “Kitchen Fundamentals 109: Baby Food”

  1. Great article Molly. To add to your points, adding flavor to the baby food is actually good for the baby as well. Baby’s can start taking introductory layers of spices even now. Padma and Tom also articulated these points on the show. I used to make sweet potato puree with lightly blackened chicken for Abrienna during her earlier months. She loved it. I really feel that this is the time to train our children’s palates so that they dont end up in this crazy American pattern of obesity. Thanks for for writing the blog. I always look forward to reading.

    • Molly says:

      Thanks, Kenny! That’s a great point. The baby food you made on Top Chef no doubt would turn any baby into a budding gourmand. Would you share the recipe? Trying it on Padma is one thing, but it might be worthwhile to have an actual baby be the judge!

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