By Lisa Barnes
Pears are usually a pleasing first food to baby, because of their sweet, mild flavor and creamy texture. There are more than three thousand know pear varieties grown around the world, but only a handful have been cultivated into the fruit we enjoy. Luckily you don’t need to know about all three thousand! Any variety such as Anjou, Comice or Bosc, will work for steaming as long as they are ripe.
4 medium (3 – 4 ounce) organic pears, washed, quartered and cored just before cooking
Steamer method: Place prepared pears in steamer basket set in a pot filled with a small amount (about 1 – 2 inches, but not to touch fruit) of lightly boiling water. Cover tightly for best nutrient retention and steam for 10 – 12 minutes or until pears are tender. Pears should pierce easily with a toothpick. Set pears and cooking liquid aside to cool. Scrape flesh from skin and puree in a food processor with a steel blade. Add reserved cooking liquid by tablespoons to puree to make smoother and adjust consistency.
Microwave method: Place prepared pears quarters in microwave safe glass dish. Add ¼ cup water and cover tightly, allowing a corner to vent. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir pears and re-cover and cook for 3 – 6 minutes or until tender. Check for doneness, cool and proceed with directions above.
Makes 16 – 18, one ounce baby servings.
Note on Picking Pears: Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree. They are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity but before they are ripe. Choose a pear that is bright and fresh looking with no bruises or external damage. Test for ripeness by pressing gently near the stem; if it gives to gentle pressure it is sweet juicy and ready to eat.