Monday, November 12, 2012

Fruit Bites

On Pintrest this week I stumbled upon Homemade Healthy Fruit Snacks, and pinned it immediately.  I'm always on the lookout for an easy snack to give my toddler that isn't just Cheerios.  Lately she has been picky when it comes to fruits and vegetables, so I'm having to be sneakier with them.  This snack provided the perfect solution, and since I already had the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try.  

I'm so glad I did, because these Fruit Bites were super easy and quick to make, and my daughter LOVED them.  More importantly, they are not messy at all!  It makes non-sticky solid spongy cubes.  Fruit Bites are much firmer than Jell-O, I promise.  It has the benefit of being substantial enough for little fingers to pick up without it squishing, yet still being soft enough for even toothless babies to chew.  I also enjoyed having them as a healthy snack for myself  too!  I made my Fruit Bites with frozen strawberries (I didn't measure the amount, but used somewhere between one cup and two-thirds of a cup), and came with enough fruit juice by squeezing leftover lemons and limes I had sitting around.  I think an orange would have made a sweeter snack, but my toddler seemed to love the tartness that the lemon and lime created.  

Fruit Bites

1 Ounce Gelatin (4 packets)
2/3 to 1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
2/3  Cup of Freshly Squeezed Orange, Lemon, and/or Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Honey (see note about honey below)
(Optional: If you use a carton of prepared juice, as opposed to squeezing your own, you can probably omit the honey. Do a taste test before adding the gelatin).

1. Place juice and berries in a medium saucepan.  Over medium heat, stir frequently until warm and soft. Add in honey and stir well.  

2. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend until smooth.  

3.  Let it sit off the heat for ten minutes.  

4. Whisk in gelatin, one packet (or tablespoon) at a time, until completely incorporated.  

5. Pour mixture into an 8 x 8 glass dish and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. Cut into small bite-size cubes, store covered and refrigerated.  Should keep for at least a week.

**IMPORTANT NOTE:  The American Pediatrics Association states to not give honey to children under the age of 1, due to risk of botulism.  Some doctors even recommend waiting until the age of 2 to give honey to children.  If your child is under the recommended age, there are many alternatives you can use in this recipe.  You can use store-bought orange juice instead of freshly squeezed fruit juice, and then you can just omit any additional sugar.  Or you can puree dates into your fruit/juice mixture; dates naturally sweeten any dish!  You could also use coconut sugar or maple syrup; both are healthy natural sweeteners.

**Recipe adapted from Thank Your Body**

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