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saffron applesauce for baby (and other ways to spice up the fall)
Hello everyone! Happy Fall!
This has to be my favorite season, both in terms of food and spices. Farm fresh apples, pumpkins and squash. Savory, sweet, and hearty dishes are in fashion again. To me, Fall is all about spice—cinnamon, clove, nutmeg—all lend warm and comforting flavors to food as the cold weather approaches.
Spice isn't just for grown-ups. Babies appreciate flavor just like we do. Why not introduce them to some baby-friendly spices this season? It's easy!
Start, for example, with applesauce, a quintessentially Fall snack which is easy to spice up. Both of my girls love homemade applesauce, especially "flavored" ones, as my 4-year-old, Kirina, puts it. When you make your next batch, try adding a pinch of ground cinnamon, a mild, tasty and baby-friendly spice suitable for tiny taste buds. As your little ones get used to that spice, vary what you use. A pinch of ground clove, nutmeg or allspice in addition to the cinnamon was a hit with my little ones!
By far Kirina and Ela's favorite recipe is my Saffron Applesauce. It's an unlikely, but exotic way to season apples. Saffron threads are actually the dried yellow stigmas of a special crocus flower. They are harvested by hand and are considered a prized and valuable spice. Saffron imparts a mild, sweet flavor to dishes, and a golden yellow/orange color to dishes like paella, and many Middle Eastern and Indian rice and dessert dishes. Combined with applesauce you have an exotic treat. Try this recipe the next time you want to tempt tiny taste buds:
5 red apples, peeled, cored and sliced evenly (I use a mixture of whatever apples I can find. Macintosh, Gala, Pink Lady and Cameo work great. Use your favorite while it is in season, especially in the Fall, when apples are harvested locally.)
1/4 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1. Add apples, 1/4 cup water, saffron and cinnamon to a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until apples are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Remove from heat, cool, and purée in mini food processor until smooth. Leave chunkier for babies nine months and older. Serve warm.
Makes about 1½ cups