1½ pounds asparagus spears
Snap off and discard the woody ends of each asparagus
spear (the woody part naturally breaks off at the right point
when the spear is bent). Place trimmed asparagus in a
steamer basket and set in a pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of
simmering water. Cover and steam for 4 to 8 minutes,
depending upon thickness, until the thickest part slightly
softens and can be pierced easily with a fork. Uncover and
remove from heat to let cool, reserving the cooking liquid.
Place the asparagus in a blender or food processor and
puree, and, if necessary, add reserved cooking liquid (¼ to
½ cup), until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic
wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer
for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen
cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage
bag.

Legumes
Legumes are a type of vegetable pod that opens along
a seam. Most legumes are considered high-protein
vegetables.
Fresh Beans and Peas
There are two basic categories of fresh beans: (1) edible
pod beans, so called because the pod that holds the
beans is edible, and (2) shelled beans, which are beans
that must be removed, or “shelled,” from their pod
before eating, because the pod is not edible. Both types
of fresh beans are suitable for baby when properly
prepared. Some peas also have edible pods, but infants
should only consume shelled peas like sweet peas,
because edible pea pods are difficult for infants to
digest.
GREEN BEANS (AKA STRING BEANS OR SNAP
BEANS)
late spring–fall
Green beans are edible pod beans that enjoy a long season of
availability, starting late spring and lasting into the fall. When
selecting fresh beans, choose those that are bright green in
color, crisp, and free of blemishes. Sweeter beans will be slender
(no thicker than a pencil). Do not purchase beans that have
seeds visible through the pod or those that are too stiff, as these
beans will be more fibrous. Store fresh green beans in the
refrigerator, where they can last four to five days. Green beans
combine particularly well with sweet potatoes and squash (see
Flavor Compatibility Guide).
HARICOTS VERTS (AKA FRENCH GREEN BEANS
OR FILET BEANS)
late spring–fall
Haricots verts (pronounced “ah-ree-koh-ver”) are edible pod
beans that are longer, thinner, and more delicate than regular
green beans. Haricots verts may be used interchangeably with
regular green beans, though their fibers are softer and their
flavor is slightly more complex. When selecting haricots verts,
choose fresh beans that are bright green in color, crisp, and free
of blemishes. Do not purchase beans that have seeds visible
through the pod or those that are too stiff, as these beans will
be more fibrous. Store fresh beans in the refrigerator, where
they can last four to five days.
EDAMAME (AKA IMMATURE GREEN SOYBEANS)
mid-August–September
Edamame is a highly nutritious shelled bean that offers one of
the very few vegetable sources of complete protein, making this
an excellent staple in a vegetarian diet. Edamame is rarely sold
fresh in the United States, as very few farms are dedicated to
producing this type of soybean. If you are lucky enough to find
it, fresh edamame should be used within twenty-four hours of
harvesting, so it is best to purchase this legume directly from a
farmer. Select edamame with green pods that have not started
to yellow. Edamame is readily available frozen year-round in two
forms: shelled or in pods. Since pods are inedible, save the
trouble and purchase shelled frozen edamame for baby food.
When baby gets older (around one and a half to two years old),
it will be fun to eat edamame out of the pod as a snack.
Edamame combines well with squash (see Flavor Compatibility
Guide) as well as plain yogurt.
SWEET PEAS (AKA ENGLISH PEAS)
early spring
Sweet peas come from a pod that is not edible, and so they must
be shelled. Fresh peas have a relatively short season. Once peas
have been harvested, their sugars immediately start converting
into starches, so fresh peas should be used as soon as possible
after purchasing for optimal sweetness. Frozen peas will actually
taste better than fresh peas that have been stored too long after
harvest and have subsequently become too starchy. When
selecting fresh peas, choose smaller pods, which contain
sweeter and more tender peas than larger pods. Select pods
that are firm and green, avoiding those that are yellowing or
wilting. To really know whether peas are fresh and sweet, break
open a pod to look at the peas inside. Peas should be bright
green, small, and firm. Once the pod is open, taste a pea or two;
the pea should be tender and sweet. Store fresh peas in the
refrigerator for no more than two to three days before using.
Sweet peas pair particularly well with orange veggies, like
carrots and sweet potatoes (see Flavor Compatibility Guide), and
they also make for a great simple finger food when baby is ready
to move beyond purees. Although whole edible pod peas, such
as snow peas and sugar snap peas, are not appropriate for baby,
they can be introduced as a nutritious snack food when baby is
around one and a half to two years old.

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