by Lisa Barrangou Ph.D

The summer season is upon on and what better way to cool off than with these fantastic frozen puree cubes.  Based on RealSmart recipes, they are guaranteed  to bring conversation at your next summer garden party or cookout.  And we love the cocktail recipe…
Frozen purée cubes can be used to create small/individual servings of items below. Most homemade recipes yield enough for several people. The small cube purées make it easy to create 1 serving at a time, or more as desired.
(1) Smoothies: thaw cubes together overnight, and wake up to a morning smoothie (sample recipe: combine 3 banana cubes, 1 blueberry cube, and 1 spinach cube in a mason jar with lid. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator, at least 12 hours. In the morning add 1 tsp flax meal and 1 cup of water (or chilled green tea, made the night before). Tighten the lid and shake until combined. Morning smoothie without the need to pull out the blender!
(2) Soups: place frozen vegetable purée cubes in a pot and combine with broth and optional lentils and/or rice to make a soup meal (sample recipe: Combine 2 cups water or broth with 2 cubes kale, 2 cubes carrots, 1/4 c red lentils in a small pot and bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Turn heat down to low and simmer 20 minutes. At salt and pepper to taste.
(3) Flavored yogurts: create any yogurt flavor desired using thawed fruit cubes of your choice. Combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt and the purée from 4 thawed fruit cubes (thaw overnight in the refrigerator). Stir until combined. Add a dash of maple syrup for extra sweetness if desired.
(4) Drinks/Cocktails: liven up simple drinks by using frozen fruit purée cubes to chill them (sample recipes: add frozen peach purée cubes to sparking water; frozen watermelon cubes to vodka, etc); or thaw frozen fruit purées and blend/shake with alcohol of choice to create fruity cocktail.

(5) Bean Dips: Thaw frozen bean purées to create dips. (sample recipe, Hummus: combine 4 thawed garbanzo bean cubes, 1 T tahini, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp lemon juice, and a pinch of salt)

(6) All RealSmart Baby Food recipes can also be used as is for elderly persons, or others with trouble chewing or swallowing.
(7) Dessert Topping: Thaw desired fruit purée and use a topping for ice cream or cake. (sample idea: thawed strawberry purée is a lovely topping on chocolate cake.)
(8) Moisten/reduce fat of baked goods: add fruit or vegetable purées to baked goods to increase moisture and/or partially substitute for oil in the recipe (sample idea: many fruit and vegetable purées can be used to substitute for oil at a 1:1 ratio in cakes, muffins and breads. Apple is a common fruit used because it has a very mild, neutral flavor. Other fruits can be used to add flavor. e.g. raspberry purée in chocolate cake or brownies, or blueberry purée in lemon cake.
(9) Fruit-sicles:  Prepare RealSmart Baby Food fruit recipes, add a Popsicle stick to each cube, then freeze to create pure fruit-sicles.
(10) Add nutrient spike to pasta sauces: Use frozen vegetable purée cubes to give additional nutrients to traditional pasta sauces (a la The Sneaky Chef). (sample recipe: combine one 24oz jar marinara sauce, 2 cubes frozen spinach purée and 2 cubes frozen broccoli purée in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until frozen purées completely thaw and warm. Use sauce for pasta, pizza, over polenta, or any other you would normally use marinara sauce.

Lisa Barrangou, Ph.D. is the creator and author of RealSmart Baby Food™. Lisa is an experienced mother, food professional, food enthusiast, and advocate for healthy living. She previously created and founded The Green Baby Chef™, a homemade baby food company offering personal chef services for infants, as well as private cooking instruction and baby food making workshops. She holds a B.S. in Nutrition, Food and Agriculture from Cornell University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science from North Carolina State University.

As a food scientist who previously worked for three different Fortune 500 food companies, she knows first hand what processed food truly is. When she had her first child, she knew that homemade baby food, made from whole, real foods, with no additives or fillers, would be her baby’s primary food source. She has been making homemade baby food since 2005, for each of her 3 children, her friends’ children, and for clients.

Through her homemade baby food service company, Lisa developed an efficient system to create 3 months worth of baby food within 3 hours, all safely made in her clients’ kitchen, conveniently packaged and compactly stored in their freezer, taking up no more space than a small basket. After realizing how many parents wanted to learn how to use this efficient system for themselves, she integrated the system into a comprehensive baby food plan and resource that became the book, RealSmart Baby Food™.