The taste of vegetable mash takes me back to childhood memories. Mashed potato with whatever was growing in the garden, a dollop of butter hidden in the middle and a splash of Lea & Perrins (when I was older) reminds me of dinners at my grandparents’ or the simple, but seemingly special, healthy treat that I was often given when unwell.
This weekend, our kitchen garden contributed hero ingredients for our son’s first solids in the form of mashed golden vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, kumara) and mixed vegetables with silverbeet (chard). White beans were added for protein and to add a nutty, earthy flavour to tone down the other veg. Steaming up batches of vegetables to puree and mix together into tasty, sweet, mini-muffin-sized freezer portions was satisfying and reassuring, having sourced the ingredients from home and nearby, and knowing exactly what was going into his little tummy.
Silverbeet provides nutrition in the form of folate, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and lutein, which protects eyesight from sun damage. Pumpkin provides beta-carotenes, vitamin B3 (niacin), lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, vitamin C, vitamin E, fibre and potassium.
One small pumpkin provided a sweet base and a large amount of silverbeet reduced into a creamy, vitamin-rich mixture to add flavour and keep things interesting. A relatively small amount of ingredients turned into two months worth of nourishing dinners.
I am keen to hear about any vegetable-packed recipes that you recommend for baby food.