I bought some dried apricots the other day while we were out shopping. I should explain. I don't do the food shopping with my son anymore. He is a little tinker for falling asleep in the car even on short journeys which messes up his day and my two weekdays at home with him a week are too precious to waste in a supermarket so normally he stays at home with Daddy on a weekend and I brave the supermarket around 6:30am on a Saturday which has the bonus of being really quiet. I have to admit listening to "The News Quiz" podcast from Radio 4 on a Saturday morning is a guilty pleasure.
We decided at the weekend though to buy a nice thick winter coat for pumpkin and, if you know UK supermarkets, you'll know they are some of the better (and cheaper) places for kids clothes. I'd been umming and ahhing though when seeing the coats, wondering if they'd fit him. So, family outing to Asda, not the most fun way to spend a Sunday.
We found a really cute duffel coat for him in size 2-3 years (he's 17 months, he'll grow into it...) This, however, was his opportunity. He had a busy aisle in a superstore and he was not going to miss the chance to have a tantrum. What happened was he saw this hideous Hallowe'en decoration which was a fake headstone with skeleton attached who danced with lights flashing to Gloria Estefan "Do the Conga". Irritating. So he raced across the aisle, refusing to be carried, refusing to hold my hand (in my head it was like him running across a road as he darted in front of the trolleys) and then he refused, point blank to move. He even worked out how to make this blooming thing work.
So, I warned him I needed to take him away and then I just had to pick him up. So he goes poker straight, then floppy so I can't carry him, I gently put him down in a quieter aisle and before I know it, it's happened, I have a toddler flat on his back in the middle of a supermarket screaming at me, full on horizontal strop. I was surprised at myself to be honest, I thought I'd feel embarrassed or worried about other peoples reactions, in the end I didn't even notice them. I figure every parent has been there. So in the end I carried all 2 stone plus of him to the other end of the supermarket and was browsing the dried fruits for future snack times, by which time he'd calmed down. He then spent the rest of the shopping trip on Daddy's shoulders slapping his head (my husband is bald and this is one of pumpkin's favourite activities). I remember respecting and being slightly scared of my parents. Hmm.
Anyway, dried apricots. Jury is out on whether to go for sulphured or unsulphured. In the UK, most dried fruit is sulphured and so many foods use it as a preserving agent so just deciding to use unsulphured apricots will not completely exclude it in your child's diet unless you're very careful but it's up to you. I didn't bother, I have to be honest but if you have a sensitive child or one who is prone to asthma, use the unsulphured kind.
So, yes, you can just give your child the dried fruit as it is but also it's worth thinking about making something else as it includes different fruits (and so different micronutrients), reduces the overall proportions of suphites and is lovely and warming to have a crumble on a chilly autumn day like it's been recently. Perhaps preceding it with jacket potato was a mistake. I feel like I need a snooze now and Aidan fell asleep straight after lunch, no story, just wanted bed.
No Added Sugar Apple and Apricot Crumble - Serves 1 mummy and 1 toddler (see baby adaptations below)
2 Dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped
10 Dried Apricots, cut into quarters
15g (half oz) Unsalted butter
30g (1 oz) Plain flour
Pinch of mixed spice (I think this might be called 'apple pie spice' in the US?)
Half tsp cinnamon
Simmer the apples and apricots in enough water to cover for approx 10 mins.
For a young baby (e.g. 6-8 months): Put the apples and apricots in a blender with as much of the water needed to make a smooth puree. Serve as it is or mix with yoghurt, tastes a lot like apricot custard! The apple and apricot puree freezes really well.
For older babies and toddlers: Either puree the fruit as above or for a toddler, puree two thirds of it and then mix the rest of the fruit back in. Put into two ramekins.
Rub the butter and flour together with the spices to resemble breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on the top of the fruit, if your child is older and you want to, sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (I didn't and he still loved it). Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the crumble topping is browned.
Allow to cool well before serving, crumbles are hotter than lava from the oven! Serve with some single cream. I'm no nutritionist but most kids need fat and some butter and cream is going to do no harm.