Vanilla Bean for Baby
The mild, warming flavor of vanilla bean is a perfect first spice to introduce to baby and kiddo. In fact, many kids are probably used to the flavor if they have tried cookies, cakes, or sweet breads, since vanilla is often used to flavor these goodies. Vanilla beans are not only used to flavor some of our favorite sweet treats, but they are also rich in medicinal properties. Vanilla beans help the nervous system function properly and help to regulate the metabolism. They are also rich in certain electrolyte minerals that help control our heart rate and blood pressure. Baby and kiddo will love the taste of vanilla added to their sweet and savory purees, baked goods, smoothies, or homemade ice cream!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Vanilla Bean
Vitamin B2 – an energy-producing vitamin, also known as Riboflavin, promotes growth, vision and healthy skin
Vitamin B6 – this B vitamin helps regulate the body’s natural sleep cycles and supports normal brain development
Vitamin B5 – also known as Pantothenic Acid, this vitamin helps the body use protein, carbohydrates and fats and is essential for healthy skin
Niacin – also known as vitamin B3, this vitamin is essential for healthy circulation and helps to keep skin and gums healthy
Manganese – this potent antioxidant helps support the skeletal system by forming baby’s bone and cartilage
Magnesium – necessary for healthy bones and the skeletal system and helps regulate energy production inside the cell
Copper – this trace mineral is only needed in small amounts but is essential for forming red blood cells and helps support a healthy cardiovascular system
Iron – a blood-building nutrient that enhances the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells
How to Select and Store Vanilla Beans for Baby Food
When purchasing pure vanilla bean extract, look for a variety that is stored in a dark bottle that will block light and prevent spoiling. When selecting fresh vanilla bean pods, look for those that are moist, not dry. The highest quality vanilla pods will be bendy, will be able to be wrapped around your finger, and won’t make any noise when shaken.
Pure vanilla extract has a very long shelf life, and should last an unlimited amount of time. Like wine, the flavor tends to get better with age! Vanilla pods on the other hand, will dry out if not stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. If the bean pod has dried out or is no longer fragrant, it’s time to toss and get a new one.
Vanilla extract is very potent, and very little should be used to flavor sweet and savory dishes. Fresh vanilla beans can be used in higher amounts and are perfect for ice creams, baked goods, and sweet purees. Baby and kiddo will love the subtle, warming flavor of vanilla!
Recipe Using Vanilla Bean