Wednesday, June 30, 2010

mango banana sauce

mangoes

We’ve covered applesauce, we’ve covered pears, carrots, peaches and even spinach which means I’m overdue to get to an early fruit sauce, one so good I might be burying the lede to have made you wait this long.

mango porcupines


Because the baby’s eyes rolled back in his head while he was eating it. He was making those gaspy excited noises we’d gotten used to by then from the peaches and all of a sudden the next spoonful landed in his mouth and he blinked twice and nearly fainted from joy. It might be the only moment of his childhood I failed to catch on film, but there were witnesses, it happened. Pinky swear.

bananas

And who can blame him? Mangoes and bananas are that good. I’d first decided on the combination early on — bananas are sweet, and also a little binding so although I knew the baby, being a monkey, would like them straight I wanted to cut them with something else. I always thought mangoes could go over well, and their acidity would be a nice contrast with the sweet, buttery banana while keeping with that tropical theme. Still, it took me a couple tries to get it right. The first time, I cooked the mango a bit but not the banana, rationalizing that since it was soft, it would puree fine uncooked. It didn’t, or at least not in my Vita-Mix-free kitchen. The second time, the mangoes hadn’t ripened enough; they were stringy and sour. The third time was the charm. I did strain this sauce — pressing it through a fine-mesh colander — an always nuisance-y kitchen task but mangoes have string fibers, bananas are surprisingly seedy and if this is a very early on purée for your baby, you might want to do the same. As they get into textures, definitely skip this step.

The end result is a surprisingly sweet sauce so a great thing to mix with cereal or yogurt. Or just let the baby enjoy it as a sweet, gasp-inducing treat, it’s natural, right?

Mango Banana Sauce

3 mangoes, ripe and sweet, about 1 pound each
3 bananas, very ripe
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice, if you’re feeling fancy

Peel and chop your mangoes into 1/2-inch chunks. I like to cut down along each flat side of the pit, slicing the mango into almost-halves. I score each half without cutting through the skin and flip the mango side inside out. From there, it is easy to use a spoon or your fingertips to drop the chunks into your bowl or pot. As for what is left around the pit, you can try to cut it off with a knife or you can peel what is left and snack on it. I bet you can guess the method I choose.

Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch coins. Mix in medium/large saucepan with water and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the banana is broken down the bits of mango can easily be flattened with a fork. Cool in cooking juices and add lime juice, if you’re using it. Purée in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. If this is an early purée, then run the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the mango fibers and the banana seeds.

You can read more over here about how I process and store baby food.