February 17, 2008

Baby Food Recipe Adventure: Prunes

I don't want to embarrass anyone, but SOMEONE in our household is the first baby of my five babies to suffer from constipation. I'll say no more about that, except that luckily the child in question is still eating anything fed to him on a spoon, so I can easily get him to eat prunes. Not that that's helping all that much, but onward to the story, which is that after spending a dollar for two tiny containers of Gerber prunes, I noticed the ingredients:



So not only is this a very simple recipe, but there is MORE WATER THAN PRUNES. At 50 cents per 2.5-ounce container, that is DISPLEASING. (For comparison, at that same price per ounce a standard jar of applesauce would cost over nine dollars.)

But I've never made my own prune baby food, and prunes seemed kind of TOUGH to put in the blender. Undaunted, I called out an old trick from my bakery days: to revive tough raisins and keep them moist in bakedy stuff, put them in a big bowl and soak them in boiling water for awhile.

I put the prunes in a pan.



I poured boiling water over them.


I let them soak. Oh, gross.



After an hour or so, I poured the water off into the blender, leaving the prunes in the pan.



I pressed the prunes with a fork, looking for pits. They were supposed to be pitted, but I don't totally trust that.



And sure enough. A pit. This is one of THREE I found. (That's not typical.)



I added the slightly squished prunes to the prune water in the blender.



I cranked it up to eleven. (Actually: four.)



Well, darn it. I used too much water. It's like soup. I'm not willing to do the whole soak routine again, so I just added regular non-soaked prunes this time, squeezing each one lightly to check for pits (found one more).



Well, darn it. Now it's too thick. Sigh. Adding water.



I poured it out into ice cube trays.



This is how many it made.



Ice cube trays into freezer.



That evening, I ran hot water over the bottom of each tray...



...and then cracked the cubes out onto a paper towel.



Then the cubes go into a plastic ziploc freezer bag.



When you want to make some for the baby, put a couple of cubes into a little container (I use the Ziploc 1-cup).



30 seconds in the microwave. Your microwave may vary.



Voila. Delicious prune puree. For a baby whose name need not be mentioned.

40 comments:

Clarabella said...

Awesome pictorial! Thank you. I can't believe it made that much!
Also, soaked prunes are the grossest looking things ever.
Also, did you say they WEREN'T working? I've stopped giving my son prunes they work so well, like before he's finished eating them, he ruins his outfit-well. Good luck!

Swistle said...

Clarabella- I KNOW. I don't know WHAT is up with my unnamed son! I'm about to take him to the doctor to see what the heck.

Erin said...

Swistle, I also have an unnamed son who is suffering the same. And he does NOT like prunes. Or prune juice. Now what?

Also, I find it funny and ironic that prunes look so much like-- well-- like their desired resulting output.

Heather said...

Weird. I made all my own baby food EXCEPT the prunes. My daughter had the issue -- not my son. I added the prunes, eliminated (ha!) rice cereal and made sure there were sufficient butt soaks in warm water. That always worked.

Katie said...

That just....doesn't look right. How can they look so gross??

I hope it helps! Poor baby!

Jana said...

Thank you so much for this! I made everything BUT prunes (well, and applesauce because I could buy that quite cheaply in large quantities), because I couldn't figure out how to make them. Now I know!

tulipmom said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I can't tell you how many jars of those prunes I bought when SB was a baby. Constipation has ALWAYS been an issue with us.

Omaha Mama said...

Wow - I wish this post would have come about 18 mo. ago! My kids loved the prunes, but I just shelled out for the expensive jars of it. That looks exactly the same and is probably way better for him too. Well done.

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

We love prunes in this household. Stewed prunes are the best for constipated kiddos. Something about cooking them helps break 'em down better for digestion.

Hope the poo comes soon!

Pann said...

Yes, yes, yes! Baby food in little jars is SUCH a HUGE rip off. Thanks for reminding the world how unbelievably easy it is to make one's own.

Stacie said...

I remain in awe of your time management. I sucked it up and paid for (most) baby food because I just wanted to be able to cross ONE thing off my list. I'm STILL paying for baby food because my stubborn son will only eat vegetables if they have been mashed up with rice or barley by someone else. Plum Organics is making a KILLING off of my child's stubbornness. What does this kid have against food that requires chewing? Why aren't my mashed organic peas good enough? Why is this comment on your blog all about me? Why Why Why?!

samantha jo campen said...

My SIL said dried apricots worked for my nephew when he was constipated, but I think he was a little older so I don't know if your unnamed child can have dried fruit? Or if you could doctor it? Or just use fresh apricots? That's all I've got.

Thanks for the shot-by-shot post! I actually got a mini food grinder from our registry yesterday so I'm all set for making this kid's food. In six months :-)

desperate housewife said...

Oh, yuck! I mean, gotta do what ya gotta do, but oh... I hope that constipation is never an issue for my kids. Those soaked prunes looked NA-STY. And now that I know what a rip off the jars are, if the kids ever DO have constipation, I'll practically be FORCED to soak up a big ole batch of my own.

d e v a n said...

$9 for a jar of applesauce!? That WOULD be outrageous. Thanks for sharing. I've made lots of babyfood, but never prunes and now I'm kind of glad.

Swistle said...

I know, the soaked prunes look GROSS. But: the non-soaked ones I added later, they blended up fine. So I think soaking is optional, though I won't be sure until I try a whole batch of non-soaked.

Giselle said...

Um, if the prunes aren't working all on their own...you may want to help them out a bit. Just take a quick rectal temperature. Often that little probe into the trouble area helps stimulate those muscles so the prunes can get their work done.

Your unnamed son will probably hate me for this little tidbit of advise. No one likes rectal temp taking.

Penny said...

That kind of makes me tired just reading that. But I would agree, gerber=rip off. Whaddya gonna do. Oh, right, learn to cook for thyself.

Hope your son is regular but(t) soon.

aoife said...

We are lovers of prunes in this house. :D Thank God. Oatmeal is another good remedy for constipation. Just remember to up the liquid intake if you up the fiber or the problem will get worse.

Nowadays, to get the kid to stop eating stuff, all I have to remind him of is the glycerin suppository he needed to fix the problem.

I can't wait to make my own baby food. I was in such a lalaland last time I didn't get to do half of the fun stuff I wanted to do.

Anonymous said...

This is honeybecke. Bloggger is being weird.

Oh yes, the prunes. We are very familiar with them and the relief they can provide. Both my boys (2 yrs and 8 mos) suffer with the constipation. There is only so many times a mom can watch her poor newborn in pain while trying to take a poo, ya know? We started out with prune juice in their bottles at about 3 months (ok'd by ped) and when they were ready for food I started microwaving batches of prunes w/ water, covered w/ a lid or saran wrap. Then I grind them up just like you, cept I keep the bowl in the fridge for about four days. I add a spoonful to just about everything my 8 month old eats: Sweet potato, (with cinnamon it's sooo yummy!) applesauce, plain yogurt, blueberries, oatmeal....you name it, and I bet it's got prunes in it. The key is portion control though, cause umm, well yah...you don't want things to get outta hand if you know what I mean??
My 2 year old eats four prunes. Every day. I still cut them in half, because they are huge!

may said...

Ha ha, you cranked it to 11! Good one.

I love the instructional picture posts. How fun! Can I request applesauce, or is it so easy I should be embarrassed even asking?

Astarte said...

Eeeewwwww! I used to make a lot of food for Josie, and she LOVED avacado, which looked disgusting (and tasted even worse, frankly), but I now realize that prunes are officially The Most Disgusting Food Ever Blended! Have you tried letting him drink straight prune juice? I wonder if you could mix a little fiber powder in there for good measure?

JMC said...

My second child suffered from constipation, and the third and fourth have(had) it periodically. Prunes were the solution, but it never even dawned on me to make my own prune puree. I use(d) the baby food prunes, but mostly just watered-down prune juice (they get the prune juice AND extra liquid).

Swistle said...

May- *shuffles feet* Do you know, I've never made applesauce. Because it's so cheap in the big jars. The other foods, I'm motivated to make because it's so ridiculous to charge a dollar for a few ounces of peas and water---but I can get a 46-ounce jar of unsweetened applesauce for $1.00-1.50, so I just buy it.

Mommy Daisy said...

Your unnamed son is a lot like my unnamed son was at that age. (That unnamed child thing isn't working so well for me, since I only have one. Oh well.) He was oh so constipated for a long time. I tried prune juice, prunes, plums, everything. Nothing really seemed to work. We dealt with problems until he was eating more table foods. And now he's fine.

Isn't it funny how much mother's care about poop and other bodily functions. I never thought I'd spend so much time caring about such a thing. Happy pooping! (I meant for the child...not you Swistle. Well, you can poop happily if you want, but I don't need to know.)

pootandcubby said...

Ew! How ironic that at several stages the prunes looked like poo of varying consistencies.

Child #1 had constant constipation for about a year. She loved milk and cheese a teensy bit too much and it always bunged her up. I used to make her a sludge of bran, applesauce, and prune juice. It usually did the trick. Sometimes though, I had to break out the glycerin suppositories. So traumatizing (for me and her).

-andi

K in the Mirror said...

The trick that worked the quickest for both my kids was for me to drink a 12 oz glass of prune juice myself and then nurse. It wasn't enough to do anything to me, and moved things right along for them.

It tastes kind of gross, but if it's really cold and you just do it all at once it's not too bad.

Welcome to our World said...

I love when you do the photos showing how it is all done :) That is the best! I also love that you have great baby making ideas. We had a little guy who constipation issues and I never thought of prunes. I am planning to use many of your home making ideas. My kid must have been bored with the foods we made him ;) They all seem so bland compared to what you have suggested!

Saly said...

WOW, you inspire me!! I feel like I can totally make my own this time. I mean, you have 5 kids! I'll have 3.

Yes, I will do it. Hub laughs in my face every time I mention it with an attitude of "you will never do it...."

I'll show him!!!

Also, I wonder if some of those would work on a constipated pregnant gal who we will leave unnamed.

Sigh...

Sarah said...

I like your tutorials. I have checked out a bunch of 'baby food' books from the library, but somehow they seem daunting. I did make the frozen mixed veg (and also peas/garbanzos) from your previous post, so maybe I'll try this too.
I still find the Gerber tubs oh so convenient, so I must confess I use them a lot. Last time I stocked up because they were on sale at Target for .72.
Thanks again for this - can't wait to see more!

Shelly said...

Loved the "cranked it up to 11" reference! We've had great success with the gerber apple prune juice. Guess it doesn't taste as prun-y? Anyway, the little one loves it, so anytime he gets a little sluggish, we give him a bottle or two of that, and he's right as rain in no time.

laura said...

wowie! that's great :)
I'm hoping to do homemade with my second. thanks for all the great pictures! what a process :P

Patty said...

My son was the constipation king when he was a baby, so I naturally went right for the prunes. His daycare provider, in her sweet Iranian accent, suggested that prunes might be "too much, peaches better". She was right. The peaches worked like a charm and he loved them. He is 17 now and shows no adverse side affects, and as a teenage boy he loves to share stories regarding elimination!

Beth A. said...

Blueberries have been the best fruit for keeping things regular for us, although the color they produce in the diaper is indescribable. The first real case of constipation my duaghter had when she was about your unnamed son's age wound up needing the dubious milestone of Baby's First Rectal Suppository though.

Laura said...

Swistle, I spent many hours rubbing my son's tummy, tracing his intestines with my hand, trying to help him. And then I found apple cider. Apple cider, to this day, clears him out. But don't let him know that I told you.

Magpie said...

but, does he eat them?

Simply Married said...

THANK-YOU for posting this! I realize I'm a year or so late, but I'm a new momma of a 6 month old and prunes are a Godsend ;) I just posted on my blog about my new Beaba Babycook and I can't wait to make my own purees! First up? Prunes! Looking forward to reading your blog :)

The Halbert Home said...

I found you through google but wanted to say thanks for the directions with pictures! They were very helpful and hopefully the prunes will work with my baby's issue too.

sinnysmom said...

Thanks so much for sharing ur story and the easy step by step directions w pics! I have been making baby food for my youngest son for abt 2 mths now n wondered if I could make him prunes or just have to suck it up n buy prunes in the jar. I'm gonna try it this week. It's nice to know there r other moms out there w the same issues, but even better when a mom has a solution :-)

sinnysmom said...

I also learned a new way to store my baby's food...putting it in ice trays? I woulda never guessed! I am new to this so I appreciate the tips

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the step by step on how to make prune puree! I just made it and it is in the freezer and a small amount left out for my little guy to try when he wakes up! Thanks!