Most pediatricians recommend starting with a short list of vegetables and fruits, like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, green beans and peas, or apples, pears or pitted prunes. Check with your pediatrician to see where to begin.

Carla M Cruzoni

Since cooking times vary quite a bit, steam only one type of fruit or vegetable in one pan at one time.

Hard squashes (butternut, acorn) are excellent first foods. Oven roasting is an even easier way to prepare them while bringing out their natural sweetness: Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds and bake, cut side down, at 450F (pour a little water to cover the bottom of the pan and prick the outside with a fork before popping in the oven). When squashes are good and soft (30?45 minutes), let them cool slightly. Scoop flesh right into the food processor.

Don't try to completely puree carrots, broccoli or green beans in the food processor. Steam these until very soft and pulse until chopped fine. Pack into ice cube trays and pour a small amount of stock into each compartment so that they freeze into a solid cube.

Peaches and other stone fruits tend to absorb too much water while cooking, and if they're not at the peak of their sweetness, the result can be a bitter mush. Here's a perfect case in which store-bought is fine -- especially during winter, when the quality and variety of fruit can be less than spectacular.

Spinach steams and purees wonderfully, but be sure to cut frozen cubes into two portions before bagging, since it contains a high concentration of iron. Once baby has mastered chewing, simply cut a box of frozen chopped spinach into cubes and bag those up!

Tags: help produce tips

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