Best for Babies 9+ Months
My first experience with babies and broccoli was traumatic. I was 13. I had just arrived at a babysitting gig for an (awful!!) 2-year-old and the father was simultaneously force-feeding the kid broccoli, yelling at the two shrill dogs yapping at his feet, and arguing with his wife. “Eat your trees,” dad barked while the kid whined and struggled to escape from the table. I sat there wishing I was anywhere but there — $5 an hour wasn’t worth this horror show. I almost ate the kid’s “trees” just to end the torture for both of us. I also swore I’d never make my kid eat “trees” or any other veggie if he or she didn’t want to.
Flash forward, um, 20 years. I have a nine-month-old son and I very much want him to eat his broccoli, as well as every other fruit, veggie, and meat out there. We want Mason to love food as much as we do – my hubby’s a restaurant critic, I’m a food editor. Loving food is in our DNA and Mason’s too, we hope. So when my friend Stefanie told me about a broccoli puree that her son loved — a mix of broccoli, sweet potatoes, and raisins — I just had to make it.
I pureed the organic broccoli first. It blended up surprisingly smooth and tasted fresh and clean, just like biting into a stalk of broccoli but without the satisfying crunch. (Yes, I taste everything before Mason eats it — I refuse to make him eat something I wouldn’t.) Next came sweet potato, our old friend. The beta carotene-packed veggie is so deliciously sweet and so mixable with many fruits and veggies. Lastly the raisins. Sugary sweet goodness that Mason loves in his oatmeal.
Monday was go time. My nanny introduced the new dish — I try to be there for all of Mason’s firsts but my work/travel schedule has been nuts so back up was in order. Noon came and I didn’t hear a word. I was hovering over my phone, waiting for the text I get from my nanny after lunch. When I’m trying to get Mason to like a new food — it usually takes a couple of days — I’m used to hearing, “Oh he haaaated it,” with a detailed reenactment of the gagging and spitting that took place. (I’m convinced my nanny takes a degree of joy in reporting lunchtime drama .) I finally pinged her at 1 and was astonished to see, “He loved it! Everything is great.” Seriously?! My boy who has a love/hate relationship with green veggies really liked this green giant?
As it turned out, he really did. His first-time affinity with broccoli wasn’t a fluke. He’s eaten it happily three times since (that’s Mason, above, grinning with a broccoli-sweet potato mask). Check out our recipe and let us know what you think!
1. Wash broccoli and remove stems. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
3. Puree broccoli in a food processor or blender, adding cooking liquid as needed until you reach desired consistency.
*1 medium-sized bunch of broccoli yields about 8 ounces of puree
Sweet Potato Puree
Organic sweet potatoes*
1. Wash, peel, and dice sweet potato. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
3. Puree sweet potatoes in a food processor or blender, adding cooking liquid as needed until you reach desired consistency.
*2 organic sweet potatoes yields about 8 ounces of puree
8 ounces organic raisins
Yield 10 ounces
1. Cook raisins until soft (about 20 minutes). Reserve cooking liquid.
2. Puree raisins, adding water until the puree is smooth.
To make Broccoli-Sweet Potato-Raisin puree, mix one ounce each of broccoli and raisins with two ounces of sweet potato. Add more raisin puree for extra sweetness; reduce amount of raisin for a less-sweet puree.