The Pickle is currently eating quite locally—he’s still a card-carrying Boob Vampire, with no other food in sight. But we’re just a couple of months from beginning to introduce him, one item at a time, to the world of solids.
He will be my tiny food minion. I will give him delicious things to eat and he will … well, he will probably spit them at me and throw them, but still, I am determined that the experimentation involved in teaching a tiny human how to eat will be extremely fun.
I’m envisioning starting with avocado. It’s delicious, it’s full of good fats and other nutrients that will help The Pickle grow and develop, and it’s fun to smoosh around. Plus, we can get great local avocados at our farmers market, so it even meets my eat-local sensibilities.
Before Christmas, I picked up a mess of apples from that same farmers market. I had stopped at one of the fruit stands to pick up Granny Smith apples for the pie my mother-in-law planned to make, and Pink Lady apples for me to bake for breakfast one day (Honestly, if I’d known I’d be using these apples in the way I ended up using them, I would have made a point to remember the name of the farm, but at the time, I was rushing to finish the holiday food shopping, and I didn’t take note of it, and, well, there it is).
The vendors at the fruit stand pointed me toward a crate of “ugly” Pink Ladies. “They’re absolutely delicious and great for baking,” one of them said. “But they didn’t get as pink as they need to for us to be able to sell them at full price.”
I overbought, as it turns out, because its the farmers market, and I always overbuy, and then we ended up not needing to make baked apples, so by the end of the visit, I was sitting on a fairly large bowl of less-than-Pink Ladies and some straggler Granny Smiths on my kitchen counter.
My sister-in-law volunteered to make her famous apple barbeque sauce, but even that would have only put a dent in the pile. “What if we make applesauce for The Pickle?” she asked.
And so, on one of those brilliant, temperate Northern California winter afternoons, she sat outside and peeled and chopped all the apples, then simmered a mess of them down into apple sauce. Later that night, following the trusted lead of Smitten Kitchen, I pureed the sauce in the food processor and carefully portioned it out into an unused ice cube tray for freezing.
The result is a bag of lovely cubes of applesauce, gently spiced with cinnamon and cardamom and nutmeg and ginger, because I want The Pickle to get to know different flavors as he learns about food. I don’t know exactly when we’ll let him try them, but for now they’re tucked in the freezer, awaiting the day when he’s ready. I love that I’ll be able to tell him the first food we made for him was a team effort, made from apples grown nearby and purchased just down the street.