Oh my gosh, before I even get started with this spoonfuls of summer business, I have to tell you all (well, all five of you reading this thing) something: I MADE JAM! Yes! Me! Canning-challenged and fearful ‘ol me successfully made jam this morning! So many leftover berries from our farm picking adventures I had to try something new:
I know to most of you this sounds ridiculous, and yes, smart people have been making jam and canning things for eons. But I suppose I’m excited because I was never one of those smart people. For whatever reason the whole process seemed really intimidating. But my dear friend Amy, who always sends us the MOST divine strawberry jam, inspired me to try and make some. I didn’t use pectin, or do anything complicated because I was too scared, but did a lot of research and made sure everything was sterile, lol. It might not taste good, this raspberry jam, but damn, it’s clean! 🙂
Not that this has to do with baby food, but the basic recipe, in case you want to try this yourself: for every cup of raspberries you have, add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar and stir together in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until the “gel stage” (see, it’s already complicated, right?). Heh? Exactly. Idiot proof this step by getting a candy thermometer and waiting until it reads 220 degrees. Cool for a few minutes, jar, and dip in hot water bath according to standard jarring directions. As this is a baby food blog, I won’t get into the particulars, but you can check out loads of websites and the Ball website (they are the folks that make the ubiquitous jars).
This whole jarring process really got me thinking about baby food too! As in jarred baby food. I am wondering aloud if I can make up my own jars for Ela and serve them to her when she is ready for solids (she’s four months now; pediatrician said to wait until six months to start solids. not sure why…Kirina started at 4 months). Peach picking season is coming up and I’d like to preserve some for her. So cool! I never thought of making my own sterilized jars of food for Kirina…I usually made small batches and froze them. More research on safety and stuff is needed though. Thoughts and advice from other parents are most welcome.
Meanwhile…if you have fresh raspberries, which are in season right now here in the northeast, they are a wonderful food for baby! High in fiber in vitamin C…also high in seed content, which, is not a big deal, but could possibly be an annoyance for a wee little one who is just starting out on solids. Our doctor recommended raspberries as an 8 month and older food. Also, buy ORGANIC, where possible. Red raspberries are known to be high in pesticide content, so organic is key where possible. As for the seeds, there are a few ways around this issue:
1. Lightly steam and puree fresh raspberries in a mini food processor. Take a small tea strainer and push the mash through it. Time-consuming, but cheap and easy to do.
2. Use your puree with another fruit or vegetable to create blend. The seeds will simply be less noticeable. Again, seeds are not a problem. But smooth foods might be easier to start off with for young babies.
Here are my top ten raspberry puree recipes for baby:
1. Raspberry-Banana (1 banana, 1 tbs raspberry puree)
2. Raspberry Cinnamon Oatmeal (either boxed or real oatmeal, prepared according to directions, mixed with 1 tsp raspberry puree and one pinch cinnamon)
3. Raspberry Mint (muddle a mint leaf in a small bowl, using a pestle or back of spoon. Remove leaf, add puree and stir. the mint residue left behind will gently perfume the berry puree)
4. Lemon raspberry (1-2 drops of lemon juice per serving)
5. Raspberry-Guava (add 1-2tsps of raspberry puree to guava puree (fresh or jarred).
6. Raspberry Yogurt (1 tsp puree to every 2 oz of organic whole milk yogurt. This is for babies who are given the yogurt ok by their pediatricians)
7. Raspberry Nutmeg (one pinch to each serving)
8. Berry Bash Mash (equal parts blueberry, raspberry puree with a pinch of cinnamon)
9. Raspberry Porridge (millet porridge with a spoonful of raspberry puree mixed in).
10. Plain raspberries! Flavor them with any baby-friendly spice from my spice cabinet links…best ones are cinnamon, cardamom, basil and even grated ginger.
Phew! I’m tired of typing the word raspberry. Thank goodness peach season is almost here, lol. Hope you enjoy and hope you tell your friends to read my little blog. Pretty please, with berries on top?
From Kirina’s highchair to yours…bon appetit!
By the way…raspberries courtesy of Lee Turkey Farm, East Windsor, NJ