There are two reasons why vanilla extract is simply the best spice to add to your baby or toddler’s food.
First reason, its sweet fragrant flavor and taste profile makes it a far better choice than refined sugar.
Second reason, whole vanilla beans are packed with vitamins and minerals which are good for healthy bones, skin and hair.
Vanilla beans contain anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and anti-bacterial properties. The simple vanilla bean is not only loved for its sweet fragrance and delicious taste, it’s well-known to pack a powerful health punch.
Vanilla is an aromatic spice and can be added to baby and toddler food from a young age; usually from 7 to 8 months when they start sampling food that the rest of the family is eating. We recommend you use vanilla powder which contains no alcohol or pure vanilla extract that contains no chemicals or preservatives.
To be safe, make your own homemade vanilla extract or vanilla powder for baby or toddler food. It’s really easy and you know exactly what has gone into it. You want only the pure goodness of vanilla in your child’s food and nothing else.
For great tasting baby food that’s packed with vitamins and minerals, try these 5 simple recipes:
Vanilla Extract baby puree
- 2 apples peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or half a split vanilla bean
- 1/3 cup of water
Put the apple chunks and water into a saucepan.
Cover and heat on a mediumheat for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Stir occasionally.
Add the raspberries to the saucepan plus the vanilla extract. Heat for an extra 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
If you are using a fresh vanilla bean, split half a bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds out using the back of a knife. Add the vanilla seeds to the apple and raspberry mix and heat for another 5 minutes. Add the scraped vanilla pod to the apple pieces to infuse more flavour. Remove the pod before blending.
Place the apple mixture in a blender and puree for one minute or until completely smooth. Add a little extra water if needed.
Store in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. Allow the apple and raspberry puree time to cool before freezing for later use. The puree should keep for 3-4 days in a fridge and up to 4 months in a freezer.
Vanilla and almond butter
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 2 teaspoons syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ (quarter) teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the almonds into a blender. Pulse for the first 10 seconds and then leave running at a normal speed for 5 to 7 minutes. Stop blending when almonds develop a creamy consistency.
Add the syrup, coconut oil and pure vanilla extract. Continue to blend to create a smooth puree, for another 5 to 7 minutes. The paste should be smooth and shiny.
Feel free to use the seed and pulp of half a vanilla bean or vanilla powder if you don’t want to use pure vanilla extract that contains alcohol.
Store the vanilla and almond butter in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for at least 1 month.
The vanilla and almond butter is free of sugar and loaded with healthy fats. Use it as a dip for fresh fruit and veggie slices, spread onto bread or toast, spread on top of a cracker or add dollops to freshly-popped popcorn.
Sugar-free vanilla custard
1 cup whole-cream milk
½ (half) cup thickened cream (minimum fat content of 35 percent)
2 egg yolks
1 heaped teaspoon of cornflour
Seeds of ½ (half) whole vanilla bean (or paste/extract/powder)
1 vanilla bean = ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
1 bean = 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Add the milk and thickened cream to a saucepan.
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add to the saucepan plus the scraped vanilla pod.
Bring the milk mixture to almost boiling but do not let it boil. Take off the heat and remove the vanilla pod.
In a glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornflour to combine.Slowly add the milk mixture.
Return the combined milk and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook on a low heat until the custard thickens. Stir continuously. Be careful not to boil, it will curdle if the mixture overheats.
The custard is ready when it coats the back of the spoon. Serve warm or cold.
Vanilla Extract applesauce
- 6 to 8 apples, cored, peeled (optional) and cut into cubes
- 1 fresh vanilla bean, cut lengthways with ends intact
- Water as needed
Add the cored apple cubes to a saucepan.
Add just enough water to cover the apple cubes.
Place on the stove over medium heat and bring to the boil.
Add the split vanilla bean, reduce the heat and simmer covered slightly for about 30 minutes.
Add a little extra water if the apple mixture gets too thick or sticky, but don’t add more than necessary. Stir occasionally.
Remove from the heat when the apple chunks are tender and cooked thoroughly. Remove the vanilla pod and allow to cool slightly.
Put the apple mixture in a blender; pulse until the mixture is smooth. You can add ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder for extra flavor and an applesauce packed with goodness.
Plain yogurt is best for kids because it has no sugar and contains protein, calcium and vitamins as well as natural live culture or probiotics. Plain yogurt is good for your child’s bones, teeth and gut. The only problem is plain yogurt is a bit tarty for kids and needs something to sweeten it naturally.
Add a pinch or two of pure ground vanilla bean powder to a cup of plain yogurt.
If you’re using a vanilla bean instead of powder or paste, use the seeds from a ¼ (quarter) of the bean. Split and scrape the inside seeds, add to the yogurt.
Mix the yogurt until the vanilla powder or seeds blendnicely. For extra sweetness, add a swirl of organic honey.