Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Apple a Day...

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that would tell you apples weren't a fabulous snack for children of any age!  And who doesn't love applesauce?!  Needless to say, I was really excited to serve my son apples, though, since they can be binding, I didn't want to chase bananas (another BRAT diet staple) with apples...

Apples truly are a fabulously healthy fruit with a plethora of benefits:
"One of the most important nutritional components of Apples is that they contain two types of fiber; insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Both the insoluble fiber in apples and their soluble fiber pectin, help maintain bowel regularity (thus helping to prevent diverticulosis and colon cancer). The insoluble fiber works like roughage, while the soluble fiber (pectin), helps keep the bowels regular (avoiding constipation, avoiding diarrhea) and specifically affects the makeup of the stool. Pectin will firm up the stool as it is a soluble fiber."
Apples also help lower "bad" cholesterol, reduce the risk of some types of stroke, maintain a healthy weight, and promote lung, prostrate, liver, colon, and bone health.  They even help reduce the risk of certain cancers!

To retain the most nutrients and provide the tastiest apples, baking or steaming are the preferred cooking methods.  Since they are super juicy, apples might appear to boil down, so if you steam them, save the cooking water (and the nutrients that snuck into the liquid!) since you aren't likely to need it for thinning your puree!  You can mix the apple "juice" into cereals to add some sweetness and extra flavor according to your little one's tastes!

Because apples are one of the Dirty Dozen, you may want to consider purchasing organic.  I purchased a large bag of organic gala apples at my grocery.  The three-pound bag contained a dozen apples not unlike those we picked at a local orchard earlier this fall.  They were a bit pricier than their non-organic counterparts, but the extra money was worth it to me since apples are #1 on that "bad list" linked above!  The apples came out to $0.39 per serving, which was right on par with the price of non-organic baby food apples.

Step 1:  Peel, core, and quarter apples.  Place in a
steaming basket with a bit of water (this is  Water Level
2 - 1/2 cup - in my Beaba).  My steaming basket held 3 prepared apples. 
Step 2:  Steam.  Set cooking liquid aside and place apples
in the bowl of a processor.  See how those apples cooked
down quite a bit? 
Step 3:  Puree.  Add cooking liquid if necessary (it
probably won't be).

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