Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby food basics

Allow me to begin this post by saying that I am in no way a baby food making expert.
Nor am I a comprehensive guide to baby food making.
There are TONS of websites with MUCH more information about making baby food. (but I'm not going to link to them, cause I'd like you to keep reading this post instead of clicking to the better sites hehe!)

All that being said, I'm still going to share my method of making baby food in hopes that it will be helpful to someone and maybe you'll decide to make some homemade baby food for your own little one.

First of all, you don't need this:
I'm certain there is nothing wrong with having a Beaba babycook machine, but it's not cheap and it's not necessary. One of my friends used one and loved it, but I'm just as happy with my results without one.

Making baby food is simple.

Step 1:
    -Buy whatever foods you're wanting to make for baby.
    -Side note: Fresh is best...maybe. I know we've all heard fresh is best, but if produce food isn't local, you have no way of knowing how long ago it was picked and how it was stored during transportation and storage times. I've read that fruits and veggies begin to lose nutrients as soon as they're picked. Frozen fruits and veggies are flash frozen at peak ripeness and are often in better condition than what we can buy fresh from the grocery store. Anyway, I'd recommend purchasing fresh or frozen, but not canned.

Step 2:
    -Determine cooking method.
    -Side note: For nearly all vegetables, you'll either steam or roast (bake) or not cook at all.
     I would suggest you steam: peas, carrots, green beans, and parsnips.
     I would suggest you roast: sweet potato, butternut squash, and acorn squash.
     For some fruits, such as apples and pears, I'd suggest you cook on the stove, in a pot, until softened.
     For naturally soft fruits and veggies, such as avocado, banana and mango, no cooking is required.

Step 3:
    -Prep the produce as needed before cooking.
    Side note: just your basic food prep, such as peeling carrots or parsnips, cutting squash in half and de-seeding before roasting, peeling apple and pear, etc.

Step 4:
    -Cook, using whatever method is best for the food you're making, until food is soft. 
    -Side note: for baby food, go a little beyond al dente. It's better to be a little mushy than too hard.

Step 5:
    -Allow food to cool before pureeing.
    -Side note: I think this step is optional. I've read that you should allow it to cool, but I don't think any harm will come if you don't.

Step 6:
    -Puree the food.
    -Side note: There are many ways you can puree food. I use a teeny little food processor and it gets the job done just fine. I think you'll end up with satisfactory results with either a food processor or a blender. You can even mash/puree by hand, it'll just be more work and you won't have as smooth of a puree.
    -Side note: You have the option of thinning out your food by adding a liquid to the cooked food. It's recommended you thin the puree with either breast milk or formula. If your food isn't pureeing very well, add a bit of liquid while you puree, otherwise, if you're planning on freezing, it's best to add the liquid prior to serving, not prior to freezing.

Step 7:
    -Use or store baby food. 
    -Side note: You can use the puree now, package and refrigerate to use within the next few days, or freeze for later use.
    -Side note: For freezing, I recommend using a silicon baking mold (cupcake or similar sized) to portion out small amounts of pureed food. I've read many recommendations for ice cube trays, but I find you can remove the food easier if it's in something flexible, like silicon, as opposed to rigid, like plastic. After the puree has frozen, I double bag the little "cubes" in ziploc freezer bags, label (food and date), and then you're free to defrost just small amounts for baby.

Step 8:
    -Remind your husband that you just worked so hard to make nutritious homemade baby food for your little one and it's only fair that he does the clean up. :)

Coming up soon!!
Step by step with pictures of preparing several different foods.

8 comments:

  1. I don't know if you did this just for me, but thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. When my two were little I was always curious about homemade baby food but never did it. Doesn't seem so hard after all. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just wrote a post about this topic that I'm putting up tomorrow morning, hopefully you can give me some helpful hints :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is great, I just love making our own baby food. Kolbe pretty much eats what we eat now.

    I think maybe part of the reason to wait for it to cool is in case your blender/processor is plastic, if it's cool you don't have worry about BPA's as you would with really hot food hitting the plastic.

    I found some silicon ice cube trays at Bed Bath this go around that worked splendidly for us! I always like when I planned ahead and put stuff in the fridge a day in advance, then I didn't need to worry about microwave defrosting.

    Great post, and good for you. Between breastfeeding and homemade food it sure gives baby a healthy start!!

    ReplyDelete
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