This is an alternative to applesauce which is just as easy to prepare, has just as many uses and can be served to the whole family. This can be served as a firt food for your baby or can simply be converted into a delicious side dish for the whole family.
1. Peel pears and cut into slices/chunks
2. Place slices/chunks into a pan with a little bit of water not completely covering the pears (this can be prepared on the stove or in the oven)
3. Put a lid to cover the pan and let the pears steam until tender (the consistency that you cook to will be determined by your baby's stage of eating.
It doesn't get much easier than that!!!! I love this recipe for a couple of reasons (1) there is no prep work except for peeling a few pears and (2) you can throw it in the oven with whatever you have cooking.
What to do once the pears are cooked:
1.) Put the steamed pears into your blender, food processor, etc...
2.) Add some cooking liquid (or water), if needed for desired consistency
*Serve this to baby as plain pearsauce or mix with other fruit purees, veggie purees (pureed pears go great with squash or sweet potato's and I can even get my 5 year old who won't touch a veggie to eat it) or meat purees (chicken with pears). Pearsauce with cheeries is a favorite in our house.
For older baby - who likes some consistency:
1.) Use your blender, food processor, etc... to break down the pears to smaller more manageable pieces or at this stage you should be able to mash them fairly easily too
2.) or just let them cool and dice them
3.) Once they are 8-10 month old (talk to you pediatrician first) you can add spices too, try a little bit of cinnamon or a cinnamon and nutmeg mixture
*Serve to you older baby as plain pearsauce, mixed with meat or veggies, as finger food (pear dices). If you plan to serve as finger foods you will want to barely cook them so that they still have enough consistency for you little one to pick up.
**If they are too slippery for your little one to pick up, throw some cheerios in the food processor and grind them down into a powder, roll the pear dices in the cheerio powder to make them less slippery (I can't take credit for this idea, I borrowed it from wholesomebabyfood.com)
For you toddler:
1.) You can mash up / dice and serve as an pearsauce
2.) Or serve the way it is (just cutting into smaller pieces as necessary) in place as an alternative to baked apples/pears
3.) For you toddler you can begin to make fun modifications: add spices (as noted above), sprinkle a little brown sugar on top, add raisins or dried cranberries (or other dried fruits)
*Once your toddler is at the age where consistency is no longer a problem you can do just about anything with these pears. You can mix pears with just about any fruit for yummy variations to this pearsauce. Instead of steaming, cook down some cranberries on the stove add pears and have a cranberry pearsauce which is a great compliment for chicken and turkey, or use this to replace those yucky jar cranberries for baby's first Thanksgiving. You may need to add some sugar if the cranberries are too tart - instead of sugar, many times I add fruit juice (the 100% juice kind)...it will sweeten your cranberries with less added sugar.
For the whole family:
There are a couple of options when it comes to making this pearsauce to be enjoyed by everyone in your family. I usually steam them, and then portion out some that will blended for the baby and the rest that will be eaten as is (nothing fancy - just pears) by the rest of the family. I also really like making two pans of it...one for baby (or anyone in your family who may prefer the plain version) and one for the rest of the family. The one for baby will be just plain pears. The one for the rest of the family will have fun additions as noted above. I love this one because you add no additional time to your cooking by just having two pot's on the stove at the same time.
*You can simply add some raisins / dried cranberries when it is cooking for a nice side dish to chicken, pork, turkey,etc...or you can mix it into your oatmeal in the morning.
Mommy Tip: When adding dried cranberries (or other dried fruit) for your older baby / young children be sure to read the labels. You will want to make sure that there is no added sugar, etc...and that the product you are purchasing is essentially a dried piece of fruit and nothing more.