Newborn males are normally born with their prepuce fused to their glans penis by a membrane. This tissue connection is normal at birth, making it so that the prepuce cannot be retracted, or pulled back from the glans. A study of 100 newborns found that less than 5% could fully retract their prepuce. If left intact (uncircumcised), the prepuce usually becomes less attached and more retractable over childhood and adolescence. By 10 years of age, more than 50% of boys can completely retract their prepuce, and by 17 years of age, less than 1% of boys will be unable to retract their prepuce with gentle manipulation.
Care of the intact penis is simple. It can be washed with water during the infant’s bath (non-irritating soapy water may also be used). The main thing to remember is that when the prepuce is still attached to the glans, it should never be retracted, or pulled back toward the abdomen by force (for example, during a bath or a medical check-up). Forced retraction can cause pain, tearing and bleeding (Dave et al. 2017).
There is no need to wash beneath the prepuce until it is more easily retractable later in childhood or adolescence. In fact, the natural buildup of oils and old skin cells beneath the prepuce (called smegma), along with occasional erections, helps the prepuce to gradually separate from the glans until it is fully retractable. The white substance called smegma that builds up in moist folds of genital tissue is normal for males and females (where it can build up between the labia and around the hood of the clitoris) and can be wiped away with washing.
Once a boy discovers (on his own) that he can pull his prepuce back, he can be taught to clean the area between the prepuce and the glans as part of a regular bathing or showering routine. Simply pull back the prepuce gently and rinse underneath with water.
Bottom line….. You don’t have to worry about your son being left intact. His body was born perfect! Learning how to support the natural process of his growing body is all part of the process.
There are so many decisions to be made for your newborn baby…….and it’s important to start researching and educating your self before your birth! What ever you decide should be listed in your birth plan.
The medical model of care is for every newborn baby to have a Vitamin K injection within 24 hours after birth to prevent Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB).
The following information is intended to help educate and inform you of your choices.
What is VKDB?
Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding is a non-inherited disorder that can occur in babies during the first 6 months of life. There are three different types of VKDB.
Early onset VKDB present with bruising or spontaneous bleeding within the first 24 hours of life.
Classic onset VKDB is the most commonly seen and occurs within the first week of life.
Late onset VKDB typically present by 6 weeks of life, but can occur in babies up to 6 months old.
When bleeding occurs early on it may resolve on its own or may be treatable with vitamin K supplementation. Classic onset VKDB usually responds well to treatment. Late onset VKDB is the most severe and damaging type of bleeding. It is typically caused by liver disease or absorption problems. This is seen primarily in exclusively breast-fed babies.
VKDB can have devastating effects on a baby. Intracranial bleeding can occur very rapidly and can result in long term brain damage or death. Depending on the severity in which the hemorrhage occurs will effect how severely the baby is affected.
Frequency of VKDB:
VKDB is a life threatening disease, yet is considered rare. The incidence of bleeding is between 3: 2,000 and 1:10,000 babies. Of the babies affected by VKDB 1 out of 5 will die.
Risk Factors of VKDB include, but are not limited to :
Maternal use of anti-coagulant, anti-convulsant or anti-tubercular drugs
Vacuum or forceps delivery
Inadequate nursing in the first days of life
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is an essential factor in the production of several substances needed for blood clotting. It is a fat soluble vitamin that occurs naturally in the body, and is absorbed in the gut. Normal intestinal bacteria play an important role in the production of vitamin k. Newborn babies are born with out this bacteria and are unable to start the production of vitamin k the first few weeks of life.
There are many natural sources of vitamin k including alfalfa, olive oil, liver, cows milk and dark leafy green vegetables. No matter how rich in Vitamin K a mothers diet is , almost all babies are still born with very low levels at birth.
How is Vitamin k given?
Vitamin K can be given as a single injection into the muscle at the top of the baby’s leg.
The injectable Vitamin K is shown to be the most effective prevention against late onset bleeding.
Side Effects of Vitamin K injection:
Pain and redness at the injection site
Jaundice- as the liver is working harder to process a foreign substance
All medications carry the risk of a allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock and death
Vitamin K can also be given in a liquid form that is given orally. The baby must receive a 2g dose ( 4 drops) of Bio-K-Mulsion after birth, followed by a 1 gram dose ( 2 drops) every week for 12 weeks.
International studies have shown the oral supplement to be very effective, but it must be given carefully to insure that the whole dose is swallowed by the baby, and that follow up dose are given on time. Failure to do so may put your baby at risk of VKBD.
**Bio-K-Mulsion is a high quality vitamin supplement that is used regularly in the midwifery community but it has not been approved by the FDA for use in newborns.
The most important aspect in making the decision about vitamin K supplementation is understanding all of the information before the baby is born. This is the time to spend researching and educating your self. This is one of the first decisions you will make as new parents and it will reinforce what responsibilities are placed on you in this roll.
All parents, and especially those who chose to make the informed choice to decline vitamin K therapy, should learn and know the early signs of VKDB. This is essential in obtaining early treatment to reduce the severity if bleeding should occur.
-Bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, umbilicus or digestive tract
-Pale stools or dark urine
**Because the majority of babies have received Vitamin K therapy at birth, most pediatricians tend to assume that all babies have been treated. It is essential that you tell you pediatrician or any provider that is treating your baby that your child has not received vitamin K, especially if you are concerned about any of the above warning signs.
Please talk with your Midwife or Doctor if you have any questions. Feel free to reach out to Thrive Birth Center as well, we’re happy to answer any questions for you.
All women in the US are offered GBS testing around 36 weeks. The following information may be useful in making informed decisions regarding your Group B Beta Strep (GBS) Screening and Treatment option.
What is Group Beta Strep?
GBS is a normal bacteria that can be present in the digestive tract of 15-30% of healthy adults. People who carry the bacteria generally do so temporarily. If GBS is present in the lower intestines during labor and birth, it may migrate to the vagina and a small percentage of newborns may pick up the bacteria from the vagina during their birth and can become ill. GBS infection is a very serious newborn condition, with a mortality rate of 5-20%. Babies who develop a GBS infection and survive may have long-term neurological problems, such as hearing loss, vision loss or learning disabilities.
Rates of newborns with GBS infection
In the general population (both positive and negative mothers) .2-.3 in 100
In mothers who test positive of GBS .5-1 in 100
Risk factors for infection
It is not clearly understood why some babies become sick from GBS exposure while others are unaffected, however the following factors are known to increase the likelihood of infection:
Babies born before 37 weeks gestation
Prior pregnancy with a baby infected by GBS
Bladder infection caused by GBS at anytime in current pregnancy
Rupture of membranes greater than 18 hours before delivery
Sign of infection in mother during labor (i.e. fever)
Testing and treatment options
Because GBS colonization can come and go in a persons system often, it is recommended that women be tested for GBS every pregnancy between 35-37 weeks (estimated to miss only 3% of women who will be positive during labor).
The test consists of a culture swab of the vagina and rectum.
If the culture is positive
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends antibiotic treatment intravenously (IV) in labor with penicillin (or an alternative antibiotic if you have an allergy) to prevent GBS infection in the newborn (by approximately 86%).
You also have the option of antibiotic treatment only in the presence of one of the previously stated risk factors (50-68% of newborn infections prevented).
In mothers who have one dose of antibiotics in labor for treatment of a positive GBS culture, approximately 1 in 4,000 babies may acquire GBS infection.
In mothers who have 2 or more doses of antibiotics in labor that number is reduced 1 in 20,000.
Risk of antibiotic Treatment:
~ Risks of treatment include allergic or anaphylactic response to antibiotics.
~ Approximately 1 in 10 will have a minor reaction such as a skin rash to antibiotics.
~ Approximately 1 in 10,000 will have an anaphylactic response, which could include increased irritability, difficulty breathing and/or convulsion.
~ Approximately 1 in 100,000 will have a response so severe it results in 7death.
~ Risk of discomfort and/or bruising at IV site.
~Treatment of mothers for GBS during labor may mask other infections in newborns, making appropriate diagnosis more difficult.
~Increased risk of thrush in the newborn.
~Increased risk of other bacterial infections after the IV antibiotic treatment.
Talk to your Midwife or Doctor about your risk factors and options.
Recently I had a new apprentice midwife call me to debrief a birth that I wasn’t present at. She just needed to bounce a few thoughts and feeling around with someone she trusted. This was only the third birth she had attended. She described a water birth that quickly needed to become an earth birth a few moments after the baby’s head was born. A change that let the rest of the body easily, (and a little to fast) be born.
As she told me the story I could hear her fear bubble up, I could hear her questions and doubt about what had happened. “Was that right? Was that normal? Why do I feel so traumatized? Will it always feel that way”?
My initial response was to talk through the birth……Step by step. I’ve attended hundreds of births, and I find it so interesting to listen to a student’s perspective, but reflect on the situation from my midwife perspective. Do babies sometimes come faster then we think they will? Oh, yes they do! Can meconium really not present until the whole baby is born? Shouldn’t the midwife have noticed that? Shouldn’t we have moved the mom to her hands and knees instead of standing? Who knows……. The answers are not always clear. Midwifery is an art, not a science and our intuition plays a HUGE part in each and every birth that we attend.
Having this conversation with the apprentice pulled my memory back to the beginning of my training and to some of the first birth I attended. I shared with this student midwife that I remembered crying at almost every birth that I witnessed. My eyes would be blurred with tears the moment that baby was born… which made it difficult to do my job, but non-the less I was overwhelmed with emotion, even at the sweetest, most simple birth. When you add any kind of sudden shift to the birthing dynamic, be it poor heart tones, meconium, a mother who is frantic and unable to focus, a tight nuchal cord…. Any and all of the above add a significant level of additional stress to the energy of birth. Like I said, even the most straight forward birth is BIG, it’s profound, it’s life changing for everyone in the room.
So, I was reflecting with her on why I cried. I know now that there were many layers. The first and most obvious is that it’s just so beautiful to watch a women become a mother! That moment of transition is amazingly heartfelt…. And overflowing with Oxytocin!! There was more to it for me though. Sometime I would go home and sit in my shower and just cry a deep cry, letting the hot water wash away my sorrow. When I started my formal apprenticeship I was 2 moths postpartum with my second daughter. She was a planned homebirth that ended in an unnecessary transport to the hospital. I think, now on looking back, that I cried for those first two years for the beautiful and sacred moments of birth that I missed. Of being honored as the powerful mother I was becoming and having the loving care of my midwife tend to me and my daughter, not a grumpy OB with terrible bedside manner!
I finally did learn to stop crying. I become a fantastic and skilled midwife. I have had the honor to love and support many, many families welcome their new babies into the world….. And then, somehow, about 10 years later I started to find my eyes blurred and teary again. The overwhelming power of birth had somehow caught back up to me. I know I wasn’t crying for my lost homebirth any more. I learned too much from my own transport to have regret around that.
Maybe it was my age? Maybe I was just tired and that left me vulnerable? Maybe I started to get scared of bad outcomes or legal prosecution? Or maybe I was feeling the loss and grief that the baby was feeling from being born? Maybe it’s the increase in birth violence and trauma that I have seen? I still don’t have the answers…. I must not need them yet, but they will come.
For the last decade I’ve had the chance to work in second and third world countries providing midwifery aid, and education. I have also learned a great deal of knowledge that is absolutely unteachable through a classroom or books. The indigenous midwifes that I have had the honor sit with, pray with, eat with and birth with have touched my midwife soul with a whole new light. My eyes continually are opened to the mystery of birth, blurry or not.
I recently came across a book called “The Smell of Rain on Dust”. I was on my way down to Guatemala to meet Mayan Midwives who were running a birth clinic called ACAM, a locally run and owned center serving low/no income women in the western highlands. Words can not describe how breathtakingly beautiful it was. Surrounded by volcano’s, shaken a little by earth quakes, drenched in rains, and on clear days the massive blue skies were hanging with white fluffy clouds and full of colorful kites.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to travel to Central America, you will know that, beside being stunningly beautiful, life…slows…way…down. Electricity is unpredictable, internet is rarely available, and hot water is not a daily luxury. In being able to open myself up to this life style, this pace, and allowing myself to learn the ways of these wise women, I was gifted with the time and space to quiet down and reflect. It’s been an intriguing and soulful exploration of everything! Reading this book has given me a new perspective and understanding of my tears, and of my grief. I still don’t know all of the answers….. but I do have bigger questions.
The author of the book, Martin Prechtel says “Our very lives start out from the very beginning by us crying out as hard as we can in a newly found voice, not in a complaining squeal of rage for not having things stay the same, but in a sorrowful musical wail, tiny and beautiful, that says, “Mama, where are you? Where am I? I’m cold and alone here without your drumming heart. It’s the first grief pome, a song.”
My midwife tears are also not a complaining squeal of rage or a sorrowful wail, but a pome of gratitude… a heart song that sings to all of the women who have become mothers under my watch.
Consuming your placenta postpartum can balance your hormones after birth, boost your mood and your energy, increase your milk production and help to restore your iron levels.
“Baby blues” is a common occurrence – 80% of mothers experience it in the first days and weeks after giving birth. Because it is so common, nothing is typically done about it until it worsens into a diagnosis of postpartum depression, at which time anti-depressants may be prescribed. Anti-depressants, like almost all drugs, are passed to the baby through breastmilk, and mothers who don’t want to expose their babies to these medications are often faced with the decision to either stop breastfeeding or struggle with depression. Women suffer through the baby blues almost as a rite of passage to motherhood – but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and diminish postpartum fatigue. Some women have cooked the placenta in a stew, mixed it into a smoothie, or even taken it raw to tap into its powerful effects. For many who feel squeamish about this or want to reap the benefits of placenta for more than just a day or two, there is another option: encapsulation. The placenta can be dried, ground, and encapsulated. The capsules can then be taken daily for a number of weeks. Powdered placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. In the postpartum period, placenta capsules have been shown to:
Increase and enrich breastmilk
Decrease baby blues and postpartum depression
Decrease lochia, postpartum bleeding
Decrease iron deficiency
Decrease insomnia or sleep disorders
Decreases postpartum “night sweats”
Placentas are rare and powerful – make the best use of the ONE available. Encapsulation is by far the optimum choice for ingestion and preservation.
The Placentas Healing Chemicals:
The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties are:
Gonadotrophin – the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Prolactin – promotes lactation
Oxytocin – for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others and is often referred to as the “love” hormone
Interferon – stimulates the immune system to protect against infection
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – boosts energy and helps recover from stressful events
Cortisone – combats stress and unlocks stores of energy
Prostaglandins – anti-inflammatory
Hemoglobin – replenishes iron deficiency and anemia
Gammaglobulin – immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections
Urokinase Inhibiting Factor & Factor XIII – stops bleeding and enhances wound healing
The placenta is full of feel-good hormones and healing chemicals, so it makes sense to safely welcome them back into your system during your postpartum period, in order to have a happy babymoon.
Methods of Encapsulation
TRADITIONAL CHINESE (TCM) METHOD
With the raw method of encapsulation the placenta is also cleaned, sliced and dehydrated, ground into a powder and then placed into (vegan) capsules. As a result of being dehydrated at a lower temperature and not steamed the raw method capsules can have a more potent effect on energy levels.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) Method
With the TCM method of encapsulation the placenta is cleaned, steamed, dehydrated, and then ground before being placed into (vegan) capsules. With the traditional Chinese medicine method pills can be stored indefinitely for help with hormone balancing later in life as well as early postpartum.
Again and again, we hear from clients why they chose midwifery care over hospital care. Here are the top reasons:
- Individualized clinical care in a small practice
- Hour long prenatal visits
- Continuity of care during labor and delivery
- Safe Birth Outcomes
- In-Home Postpartum Care and Lactation Support
Safe, Affordable and Gentle Care For Mom and Baby. The World Health Organization consistently supports midwifery care because the statistics reflect what we know and practice at Thrive; births attended by midwives have lower infection rates, lower C-section rates, fewer complications, and healthier outcomes – thus, lower overall medical costs.
Thrive is a lush and professional space, one where families know that the care they receive before, during, and after birth will have a dramatic affect on the health of the whole family. In the UK, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made sweeping recommendations for mothers with low-risk pregnancies to birth out of hospital. Let’s explore why this works at Thrive.
Hour Long, Family Centered Prenatal Visits with Licensed Midwives. We use these visits to discuss mother and infant health, physical exams, emotional and nutritional counseling, perinatal education. We answer ALL of your questions while having ample time to get to know you and your birth partner. Our care is based on your body, your needs, and your desires.
Evidence Based Care And The Midwifery Model Of Care. The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. We provide:
- Monitoring of the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
- Individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
- Minimizing of technological interventions
- Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
- Thrive Midwives collaborate with clients to achieve informed consent regarding every aspect of clinical care; resulting in an informed clientele base who feel respected and empowered as they step into parenthood
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
Highly Trained Midwives for Normal Pregnancies. A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy and birth, offering expert individualized care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle.
A midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. When the care required is outside the midwife’s scope of practice or expertise, the woman is referred to other health care providers for additional consultation or care. We are midwives who are trained in the art and science of birth. We are experts in low risk pregnancies, VBACs, and natural birth.
I have a dear friend and Midwife who is 8 weeks pregnant right now. We check in every couple of days and the first thing we talk about is this constant state of nausea that so many pregnant women are dealing with. Until you have felt this queasy, hungry, not-hungry state of rocking sea sickness that really never leaves you…. at least not for the first 15 weeks or so, you just don’t understand! It can be hard to conquer even the simplest tasks. But, hang in there mama! All of these feelings are good signs of a healthy pregnancy. Try a few of these tips below.
Morning sickness ( but don’t be fooled….this is an all day – all night sensation) , nausea, or vomiting can be caused by one or many of the following factors: Hunger, low blood sugar, strong smells, hormonal surges and imbalances, pregnancy related changes in digestion, & vitamin deficiencies. There are MANY remedies for this common early pregnancy discomfort. You may only need to try one or you may need to try them all. If at any point, you are unable to hold down any fluids or foods for a full day call your midwife or doctor to be evaluated for dehydration. Diet- Try eating many small meals and snacks frequently throughout the day and keep crackers by bedside to eat before rising in the mornings to maintain blood sugar and reduce stomach acid. Make sure your protein intake is adequate. A high protein and complex carbohydrate diet helps stabilize blood sugar longer then simple carbohydrates alone. Dehydration can aggravate nausea, even when the thought of drinking sounds horrible. Take small sips and add a little honey or lemon to your water to help get it down. Supplement support- 20-40 mg of B-complex 2x daily . Herbal Remedies- Ginger tea with honey is proven to help relive nausea. Steep 1 tea. of ginger root in one cup boiling water. You can also take ginger capsules, 2 caps every few hours. Not to exceed 10 caps or two cups of tea. (Ginger should not be used if there is a history of miscarriage) Dandelion Root supports the liver in filtering all the extra hormones of pregnancy. Chamomile tea relaxes the stomach, reduces acid in the stomach, supports the liver and improves the appetite. It also relieves anxiety and tension. Herbs in the mint family relive digestive upset: peppermint, spearmint, catnip, and lemon balm. Wild Yam reduces vomiting and nausea by relieving spasms in the stomach. 30 drops of tincture 4 to 6 x daily . Homeopathic Remedies- Ipecac 30x or Nux vomica 6x .
Fresh air, sunshine and short walks outside can also ease queasiness and sooth the soul. Be sweet and patient with yourself. You are doing such big work right now!
Lara Sodergren has been a home birth midwife of seventeen years and recently joined Thrive’s midwifery team. Merging evidence based care and informed consent into every interaction with our clients, Lara upholds our vision for quality midwifery care through the childbearing years. We asked her to share her 5 favorite tips for a healthy pregnancy and birth, and here is what she has to say:
Pregnancy is a time of profound transformation; a journey into the unknown that encompasses a full range of feelings, emotions as well as a myriad of physical changes. There is a whole host of things that a woman may experience while pregnant, from joy to fear, elation to uncertainty, profound love to curiosity. Each woman’s experience of pregnancy is completely individual and unique. Here are five suggestions to help you rock your pregnancy, labor and birth experience.
1. Find a provider that you trust! Explore your options. Interview. Dive deep and figure out where it is that you feel the safest having your baby. Whether that be at home, at a birthing center or in the hospital. Only you can decide where that is! If you have a provider and it isn’t feeling right, keep looking. Don’t stop until you know you have found that person who can meet your needs and can support you and your family in the best ways possible. Even if that means changing providers a month before your due date.
2. Keep your mind and your body healthy. Try to do something daily that moves your body or quiets your mind. Walk, swim, find a yoga class that works for you, dance in your living room. In addition to movement, quieting your mind is one of the best ways to prepare for labor and birth. Even if you only find 5 minutes a day to sit and still your thoughts, this will help you when it comes time to have your baby. Your body knows how to give birth! We just have to ‘get out of the way’ so to speak and meditation is a great way to prepare your mind to step aside and let your body do the work.
3. Boost your immune system by building up your gut flora. It is a well known fact that the seat of our immune system lies in the gut. Eat a diet rich in probiotic foods to help build up healthy gut flora. This includes fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, dairy kefir as well as probiotic beverages such as water kefir. By cultivating a strong immune system, you can prevent things like Group Beta Strep, which is tested for at around 35-37 weeks and can require IV antibiotics in labor if you test positive.
4. Learn about optimal fetal positioning. Help your baby find the best position before labor by going to www.spinningbabies.com and working some of the exercises recommended there. Avoid reclining back in big cushy chairs and keep yourself upright in order to keep your baby aligned with your spine thereby preventing positions that can make labor longer.
5. Trust yourself and your body! Your body knows how to grow and birth your baby. If something doesn’t feel right or you need more information, seek it out. Talk about it and don’t push it aside. Your body is your guide, trust it!
We are so excited to have a guest post by the mama who was voted “Best Acupuncturist in Sonoma County” five years in a row! Lorelle Saxena is a licensed acupuncturists who we continually refer to because, like her website states, she is a strong believer in “slow medicine”–that is, addressing the root cause of symptoms from a lifestyle perspective–rather than seeking quick, temporary fixes, and we see that work well for our clients. If you’re not already following her blog, we highly recommend it. It’s filled with gems on creating a health and family, just like in this sweet post she wrote for us. Hope you enjoy!
Eight years ago this August, Adam and I moved into our home. The big old fig tree and the little old plum tree in the backyard were exploding with fruit, dropping it all over the ground. Our big mutt, Toby, happily ate fallen fruit for hours on end, even after it gave him indigestion.
We like making jam, but that’s a focused and time-consuming endeavor, and we had our hands full trying to settle in to the new place. Still, we couldn’t bear to have all that fruit go to waste. What we needed was a quick way to preserve the fruit, a method that didn’t require the watchful eye and constant stirring and temperature-taking that jam needs.
So we bought a great big Excalibur dehydrator, with nine trays. It was a pretty substantial purchase for new homeowners, one starting a business, in a dicey economy–and we’ve never regretted the purchase. With minimal effort, we filled jar after half-gallon jar with delicious dried figs and prunes. Since then, we’ve dried lots of other fruits, and Adam has also used the dehydrator to make delicious yogurt or raise yeasted dough.
And this year, our almost-four-year-old, Kamal, has fallen in love with fruit leathers. Which can be a really terrific, healthful snack–but they tend to be relatively heavily packaged, and sometimes they contain added sugar or preservatives.
So this summer, we bought even bigger piles of berries from our favorite berry stand, Farmer Lao’s on Route 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Every year, starting in the spring, we drive past Farmer Lao’s hoping it’ll be open. And as soon as it is, we buy piles and piles of berries–mostly strawberries, but blueberries, too, if Farmer Lao has them. We eat as many fresh berries as we can, which, especially if you’re Kamal, is a LOT. Adam makes enough jam to keep our toast covered for a whole year. And this year, to Kamal’s delight and thanks to our dehydrator, Adam turned a bunch of berries into fruit leather.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t need exact measurements or complicated instructions: you just need berries, a dehydrator, and maybe applesauce and lemon juice, if you’d like.
After washing the berries and trimming the hull, Adam used our old Vitamix to turn the berries into beautiful red and purple purees. You can also combine the berries, but Adam decided to keep them separate.
Then he mixed the purees with an equal part of applesauce–so for each cup of berry puree, he mixed in a cup of applesauce. This is completely optional; we just had a lot of beautiful applesauce that Adam put up earlier in the year from apple’s we’d picked at our friends’ orchard, and it seemed silly to leave it out.
At this point, you can taste the puree and decide whether you’d like to brighten the flavor with a bit of lemon juice, or whether you’d just like to keep it as sweet as possible. Another consideration: lemon juice will also help preserve the bright colors of the fruit by preventing oxidation.
Adam lined the dehydrator trays with parchment paper, spread the puree across the paper to about a quarter-inch thickness, slid the trays into the dehydrator and and left it to dry at about 135 degrees (Fahrenheit) for several hours, till it felt fruit-leathery. Depending on the moisture content of your fruit and the humidity where you’re located, the length of time can vary pretty widely, so don’t forget to check every so often, unless you’re okay with ending up with crispy fruit puree.
Next, Adam pulled the trays out and let them cool. Then he lifted the parchment paper of
f the trays, rolled the paper and fruit leather into the cylinders you remember from back in the day, sliced them into manageable lengths, and stored them in an airtight container.
Now they’re ready to be doled out to Kamal and his friends over for playdates (or me rooting around in the cabinet late at night with a sweet tooth), and they’ll taste like summer until the very last one is gone.