Basil for Baby
Related to peppermint, basil’s fragrant leaves pair perfectly with a wide array of tasty dishes. In fact, basil pesto might just be the most famous puree perfectly acceptable for both adult and baby! Basil is versatile and tasty but also nutritious and high in vitamins K, A, and C, helping boost baby’s immune system and support healthy bone growth. This fragrant herb has also been shown to have anti-bacterial and DNA protection properties as well as anti-inflammatory effects similar to those in aspirin. When it comes to basil, the options are endless. Garnish a dish with fresh basil, add it to a baby puree, or puree it on its own for a fragrant, healthy sauce perfect for you and baby.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Basil
Vitamin K – necessary for blood clotting and promotes healthy bone growth
Vitamin A – vital for baby’s vision and helps build healthy bones and teeth
Vitamin C – a potent antioxidant that helps build a healthy immune system and keeps baby’s gums healthy during teething
Folate – this B vitamin helps support the nervous system and brain
Manganese – helps to form bone and cartilage and plays a role in the formation of carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol
Calcium – helps convert food into energy within baby’s cells and is important for building strong bones and teeth
Iron – necessary for making hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through our blood
Magnesium – essential for a steady heart rhythm and for maintaining strong bones
How to Select and Store Basil for Baby Food
Whenever possible, choose fresh basil over dried since it has much better flavor. Look for leaves that are vibrant, deep green in color and free from any yellowing spots or blemishes. If you decide to purchase the dried version, go organic to ensure the basil wasn’t irradiated (exposed to radiation as a preservative) since this practice has been shown to greatly decrease Vitamin C and carotenoid content.
Fresh basil can be stored in the refrigerator in a damp paper towel until it’s ready to be used. You can also freeze fresh basil, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Freezing fresh basil in ice cube trays with water or broth is a creative and fun way to add flavor to soups, stews, or any dish. Dried basil will stay fresh in airtight containers for about 6 months when kept in a cool, dark place.
When it comes to preparing basil for baby, the options are endless! Puree basil with lemon, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper and you have a flavorful, nutritious sauce to serve alongside proteins, veggies, or even fruits. Not only will baby love the flavor of basil, they will also enjoy the health benefits of this nutrient-packed herb.
Recipes using Basil