Join me in the Kitchen: Apple Sauce for Blake

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Well friends, here we are starting another month…where does the time go? Days turn to weeks, those weeks have turned to months, and before we know it, we will be buying a whole new calendar! My goodness, how time flies. It seems like just weeks ago I was telling everyone that would listen (lol) that I had a beautiful new granddaughter, Blake. As a first time Gramma, I was just a little excited! Here we are, 5 months later, and my precious peanut is growing like the proverbial weed, and bringing daily joy to my life. Unfortunately, in these last few months, Blake and her parents moved from Buffalo to Melbourne, Florida, so my daily visits are occurring via facetime, rather than in person, but I will grab every opportunity I am given to stare at her beautiful face, and make sure she recognizes my voice on the other end of the line.

As an active 5 month old girl, she is starting to sample solid food, and all of the wonders that come with that. As with most babies, she was first introduced to rice cereal, and sitting front and center on my desk is a picture of her sweet smile covered with runny cereal. Those first spoonfuls of cereal are such a new and exciting experience for babies. This is not the familiar nipple offering a liquid treat, but this weird object is being put into her mouth and something with texture is on it and being put in…those looks of awe on her face are precious! And the taste? Well that is something new as well.

Next up on Blake’s menu was bananas, which she wasn’t really a fan of, but boy, does she like carrots! This morning I got a picture of her with a great orange-smeared grin smiling back at me. These are the things that make my heart melt. When my boys began eating solid foods, I made most of what they ate. It is very easy to make foods that are palatable for those first bites; the key to making your own baby food is remembering that especially early on, food must be totally pureed. Any lumps or chunks, even those that seem tiny, can be a choking risk. When cooking carrots for my boys first samples, for example, I would cook the carrots in a small amount of water until they would mash easily with the slightest push; I pulsed them in a food processor, using the cooking liquid to thin the mashed carrots to the consistency that was needed for them to easily swallow. The same method can be followed when preparing most any fruit or veggie for babies’ consumption.

From the time my boys first started eating solid foods, I made applesauce for them, and it is still a family favorite this time of year. As with other “baby appropriate” foods, it is easy to make and as we know, fresh is best! I never add sugar to my applesauce, (or seasonings to any baby foods I made) as I prefer the natural flavor of the apples, but by mixing varieties in one batch, I can change the flavor profile. I would puree my applesauce when the boys were babies, but now they like it chunky (and for them, a dash of cinnamon simply makes it perfect)!

The joy of babies, and grand babies, in particular, knows no boundary. From their first cry and their first smile, to their first solid food and beyond, we will do everything within our power to keep them safe, healthy and well fed. Offering them homemade baby food is simply another way of saying I love you!

Apple Sauce for Blake

  • 4 pounds apples (skins on, washed, cored and cut in ¼’s)
  • 1/3 C water

Simmer apples, covered, in a large sauce pan with water, until tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender. Working in small batches, pulse until smooth, and then pass through a fine sieve.

Fill ¼ C containers with puree and refrigerate. You can also fill ice cube trays with puree and freeze. When cubes are frozen, transfer them to a zipper bag for freezer storage.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.