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Winter Squash Puree

Love in Spoonfuls

25 minutes (mostly hands-off)
Freezer safe
Makes 1 to 11/2 cups (812 fl oz/250375 ml)

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon precut fresh or frozen winter squash or pumpkin cubes, 1 bag (810 oz/250315 g)
Water, Breast milk or infant formula, as needed

Butternut and acorn squash are great starter foods, mild and easy to digest. Orange-fleshed squashes are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene as well as vitamins A and C, minerals and fiber. Look for precut squash or choose frozen squash--no need to thaw it before popping it in the oven.

1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and squash. Using your hands, toss the squash to coat lightly with oil. Spread the squash on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the squash until very tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

3. Puree the squash in a food processor or blender until smooth. If needed, push through a sieve with a rubber spatula, then add water, breast milk or formula to thin the puree to a consistency your baby can handle. Check the temperature and serve.

4. To store, cover and refrigerate puree for 3 days. To freeze, spoon leftover puree into an ice-cube tray or other small freezer-proof containers, cover and freeze for up to 3 months.

Starting Whole

Roasting a whole squash is also easy. Halve it and place cut sides down in a baking pan. Add water to come 1/4 inch (6 mm) up the sides and roast at 350F (180C) until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Toddler Variation

You can keep on roasting squash this way long after your baby passes the puree stage. As she grows, you can start adding salt, pepper and dried or minced fresh herbs (try rosemary or sage). Cut the roasted squash into smaller pieces for finger food or use it to make Barley with Butternut Squash (page 130).

From Love in Spoonfuls, Parenting's recipe book of fast and easy ways to make nutritious food for your baby.

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