Cranberries are very nutritious for your little one and are among the least allergenic of all foods.
Cranberries for Baby Food - Learn About Feeding Your Baby Cranberries and the Age to Introduce Cranberries
The Goodness of Cranberries for Baby
Cranberries, once referred to as "bounceberries" are super nutritious and provide lots of Vitamin C as well as polyphenols. Polyphenols are said to help strenghten and boost up the immune system as well as help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Cranberry juice is used to treat bladder infections as it helps kill the harmful bacteria and helps keep an acidic, hostile environment in the bladder so the bacteria won't thrive.
The cranberry is related to the blueberry. Like the blueberry, it is not a "berry" of the same class as strawberries, raspberries or blackberries. Cranberries are not likely to cause an allergic reaction however please keep in mind that any food has the potential to be an allergen.
Nutrients in 1 cup of Raw Chopped Cranberries
When can I introduce Cranberries to my baby?
Cranberries tend to be on the acidic side so they're not recommended as a "starter' food for babies. Cranberries are not related to strawberries or other "berries" such as blackberries or raspberries, they do not follow the "no berries until 12 months old" rule. You may wish to introduce cranberries between 8 and 12 months old to avoid any possible reactions due to the acidity. If you do decide to introduce cranberries earlier, watch out for reactions that may occur in the form of rashes around the mouth or bottom. Always keep in mind that a bite of a food may not prompt a reaction however a "full" serving may.
Go slowly and cautiously when introducing cranberries.
How to select and store Cranberries for yummy baby and finger food recipes
According to the EWG, cranberries are not one of the "dirty dozen" foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides - purchasing organic is a personal choice.
Cranberries are delicate so be sure to inspect them well prior to purchasing them; little indents and dull skins may be be signs of the beginning stages of rotting. Cranberries should be a deep marron color though some lighter areas around the tops are fine.
Cranberries need to be stored in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used. They can even be put into the freezer, straight in the bag from the grocery store, for up to 10 months. As with any other fruit, the fruit may remain in the freezer longer if it is frozen in it's near original state.
Best Way to Prepare Cranberries for Baby Food?
Cranberries may be stewed or baked with other foods. Cranberries should not be served raw, especially to a baby.
Cranberries be stewed by adding them to a saucepan and then simmering them in water.
Cranberry Purée for Baby - Basic
1 16 oz. package cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of water
Add water to a pot and bring to a boil - add cranberries and return to a boil - lower heat and simmer on low until cranberries "pop"; approx. 15 minutes.
Continue cooking until skins peel away from the berry.
Optional: Add a diced apple to the cranberries to make cran-applesauce and a drip of vanilla is nice as well.
Strain cranberries through a sieve or small weave mesh strainer. Transfer to your preferred blender or food processor and puree until cranberries acquire the texture appropriate for your infant.
This puree may be very tart and you may wish to add a spice or apple juice to help cut the tartness of the cranberry. Some infants absolutely love tart flavors. Don't shy away from offering cranberry sauce/puree because you think your baby may dislike tart flavors.
Quick Cranberry Applesauce
1 part cranberry purée or natural cranberry sauce
2 parts applesauce
sprinkle of wheat germ
Add cranberry purée or cranberry sauce to apple sauce, add spices and sprinkle wheat germ mix well. Voila. Cranberry Applesauce.
Cranberry Baby Yogurt
2 parts yogurt
1 part cranberry sauce/cranberry puree
dash of vanilla
Combine all ingredients, mix well and serve
Serve as a delicious side dish with lamb, poultry, or fish.
1 12 oz. package couscous
1 14 oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
Pinch of salt (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup dried cranberries - **you may use fresh or frozen.
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves (optional)
Cook the couscous according to the package directions, using broth instead of water. Add a pinch of salt to the broth.
Wash and finely chop the mint leaves. When the couscous has finished cooking, drain any excess liquid. If more liquid is needed to cook the couscous, add water, a little at a time. Pour the couscous into a serving bowl.
Add the oil and the lemon juice. Stir well to coat all the grains. Add the cranberries, and mint leaves. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Serve immediately.
**If using fresh or frozen cranberries, add them to the couscous while it is cooking.
Recipe courtesy of Spinner Publications, Cranberry Cooking for All Seasons
Foods Good to Mix With Cranberries: