Oooh, the peaches. I have loved making Andrew’s baby food and providing him with such a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, because it is January, finding fantastically ripe produce to introduce to him is not always an option. I’m certainly not going to wait until July to give him peaches though, so I just make do with what I can find. Thankfully the peaches I found were actually fairly decent.
This was by far the most labor-intensive of any of the baby foods I have made so far. If you have ever made a peach pie, peach cobbler, etc. then you probably know that peaches can be difficult to peel. My usual trick for peeling them easily is scoring an “X” in the skin, then boiling for a short time and then removing the skins. This was not the optimal method for baby food however, as I am trying to retain as many nutrients and as much flavor as possible while still cooking the fruit enough to soften it for pureeing. I read that baked peaches have the most flavor so I knew that was the route I wanted to go, and I know boiling can cause many of the nutrients to leach out.
It is recommended that fruits and veggies have peels removed for infants younger than 8 months (Andrew is nearing 7 months), because the peels can be rough on their tummies. If it weren’t for this fact, I would never have worried so much and simply left the peels on. Read on to hear my methods, and the fact that in the end, Andrew ate peels with no problems at all.
Start with ripe peaches. So pretty!
Make sure you wash them well.
Halve and pit all the peaches.
Place in a baking dish in an inch or so of water.
Bake at 400 degrees F until the fruit is tender and the skin begins to pucker. (Doesn’t it look like tie-dye?)
Reserve some of the cooking water for thinning out the puree later, if desired. This helps retain some of the nutrients that may have been lost during cooking.
Initally, I had such a hard time peeling the peaches that I threw a few of them into the food processor, peels and all. I pureed them and then attempted to force them through a mesh sieve to remove any large pieces of peel in the mix.
This was quite a pain and look at all the good fruit I was wasting!
This is what the strained puree looked like. Very thin, and we actually thickened it with rice cereal.
I decided that this wasn’t the best tactic, so with all my remaining peaches, I simply peeled as best I could using a peeler and my fingers, and left on any problematic peels. I pureed them in the food processor until blended very finely and left it at that. (If you have a food mill, this whole task would be much easier, but I do not so I just used what I had on hand.) I served Andrew both the carefully strained peaches and the peaches with some peel, and you know what? He did not notice a difference and the peaches with peels did not seem to bother his tummy at all. In fact, these peaches are by far his favorite food so far which made all the effort totally and completely worth it. Next time I won’t worry so much about the peels since he seems to have my stomach of steel :)
Eating his new favorite food. So cute!