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Friday, October 05, 2012

Peachy Applesauce or Yes, I Would Peel a Boiling Hot Peach for You, My Love

Giving Ellie whole foods is a passion and an emotional precedent of mine.  It's one of the things I can do to help her body heal and be healthy. She has had a long journey to eating filled with starts and stops.  She has been on whole foods since she was 18 months - which took some doing as I have written about in earlier posts.  She has not progressed beyond purees.  However, in typical special needs, preemie parent style, I say, "I'll take it!"  After all, eating purees by mouth is better than no eating by mouth at all.  Additionally, a great many of her food sensitivities have abated and she is able to handle more fat and variety.

As such, I happily face the challenge of making her more, and more interesting purees. I know some of you out there may be thinking - why don't I just puree whatever it is we are eating. I have seen parents do that - the most interesting case where they were feeding their kid pureed bear claws (a calorie rich pastry), which resulted in huge blood sugar spikes and other unpleasant sequelae....not good.  Also, some things when you puree them are gross. I recently did it with a meatball and that was fine. Ellie has had Italian wedding soup pureed and that was fine too - but she eats things like that rarely and in small doses because of her reflux that is still a force in all our lives.  Simple foods that have great flavor and don't upset her stomach are the order of the day.  Like most working moms convenience is a necessity and the whole process took me about an hour.  However, I think the time I spent making her applesauce was well worth it.

We have been buying jars, and jars, and jars of applesauce for Ellie for years now. It was one of the only off the shelf foods she could eat - that and baby cereal and eventually coconut yogurt - so you see it's been a very short list.  However, two years ago I got a food mill because of the power outages from the hurricanes.  It's apple picking season in New England and a coworker talked about how she made applesauce. It sounded easy.  Though as a kid I used to churn applesauce out by the gallon using a food mill - I had forgotten all the other steps. Store bought applesauce is OK but its got a taste I just can't attribute to the ingredients listed on the jar - even the organic stuff. Store bought applesauce can also run you $5 for a small glass jar.

In short it was time to remember/relearn how to make homemade applesauce. The good news is, it's really easy. 

The equipment you need is a food mill, a big soup pot, a big bowl, and a slotted spoon.

Here is the recipe for Peachy Applesauce:

(I used 2/3 apples and 1/3 peaches)

Step 1: Wash the apples then cut out their stems and quarter them. Put them in a big pot with water 3/4s of the way to the top.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until apples are soft - about 20 minutes.
Step 2: While the apples are simmering - put the whole washed peaches into a separate pot of boiling water. After 15 - 20 minutes extract the peaches and put them in a bowl.
Step 3: Gingerly with your fingers peel off the peach skins.
Step 4: Put peeled and pitted peaches and all the apple pieces in batches through the food mill that is positioned over a big bowl.

Step 5: Churn away.

Step 6: Eat lovely warm, potassium rich peachy applesauce. 

The peaches I used got so sweet and syrupy all on their own I didn't need to add any sugar. When I made applesauce with strawberries (cut off the stems of the berries before you throw them in with the simmering apples) I added some sugar to cut the tartness.

Ellie is enjoying the homemade stuff! 

I filled up one of the empty jars that I had been paying $5+ dollars for and there was still a vat of applesauce left over. I could calculate ounces and figure out precisely how much I saved buying apples at the farm and then making my own sauce - but suffice to say - I am saving a good bit of money and that taste I can't place with the store bought stuff is not present. Best of all, I have improved the flavor of Ellie's food. The flavor of food is what keeps her interested in eating it - which is a good thing.

Picture from top to bottom:
1. Boiled peaches cooling a little before peeling
2. The food mill filled with peach pieces
3. The big bowl of peachy applesauce
4. A smaller portion that Ellie consumed happily.