Healthy Baby Food Straight From Your Kitchen
March 3, 2020
Preparing homemade baby food puree is a great idea for the health of your baby, and it is very simple to do. It is not time-consuming and is very gratifying. Hopefully after reading this article you will be inspired and even excited to pull out your blender or food processor and puree healthy, organic food for your baby.
The reasons to make your own baby foods are simple. You want your baby to have the freshest, most nutritious food available, and you want to be aware of the ingredients it contains. You know that it is best to feed your baby pure, whole foods.
One important rule is that salt and sugar are never needed when making baby food. These extra flavorings are not good for babies, so making food for baby yourself is also a great way to limit his intake of unnecessary ingredients.
One of the easiest ways to make baby food is to take a ripe banana or soft avocado (preferably organic, but if that is not possible, the next best thing is to buy your fruits and vegetables at a local farmer’s market). Mash the banana or avocado with a fork. You can add a little water, formula or breast milk if it’s too thick.
Another simple homemade baby food is pureed vegetables. Cube and steam a sweet potato, (sweet potatoes are a great favorite with babies!) and then blend it up with a little water and olive oil (to smooth out the consistency). Mashed potatoes and butternut squash are great to use, as are fresh pears, apples, peas, and carrots.
For the older baby a little organic chicken and rice pureed together with chicken stock and a little extra virgin olive oil will work well. Pureeing vegetables and fruits for baby is very simple.
Cooking and Pureeing:
Start by chopping the vegetable or fruit and cooking it either by steaming, baking, or boiling. Steaming holds most of the nutrients in the food. Steaming, baking or boiling will also allow for a greater quantity of food to be made at one time.
Set aside the liquid that the vegetables or fruits were cooked in. This can be added to thin the puree. Adding this liquid also helps to preserve any nutrients that may have boiled into the water during cooking. Again, a little breast milk or formula can be used as thinning liquid if needed.
Take the cooked vegetable or fruit and place it in the blender or food processor.
Set your machine to puree and begin to mash the vegetables or fruits.
As you are pureeing or blending, add the saved liquids or a little water. Pureeing without adding any liquids is also an option, but the food may be thicker than desired. Many parents prefer to thin the foods before they serve them to their babies. This makes it easier for baby to eat.
Microwaving is not recommended, although sometimes considered a short cut. Microwaving food robs it of many of the very nutrients we are trying to preserve by making our own baby food.
Once you have a nice liquid baby food puree you will then transfer the puree into ice-cube trays for freezing/storage. Fill each cube with the puree, as though you were filling the tray with water to make ice cubes.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap or, if you have covered ice trays those can be used as well. Place the trays in the freezer. Each cube makes approximately 1 ounce of food.
After the cubes of pureed food have set and are frozen, take the trays out of the freezer and transfer the cubes into freezer bags. Be sure to label the bag with the date of preparation as well as the type of food. The baby food cubes should be used within a month of freezing.
When it is time to feed baby, take out the number of food cubes needed and thaw and then reheat.
It is recommended that fresh pureed homemade baby food be stored no longer than 48 – 72 hours in the refrigerator, thus limiting the growth of bacteria. This rule applies for all types of baby food, whether it be vegetable, fruit or meat.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby. It is also recommended that you discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.