The Essentials of Homemade Baby Food
By Clancy Cash Harrison.
Find more of Clancy’s recipes at http://www.fieldsofflavor.com!
The essentials of making homemade baby food is simple, nourishing, and fun. Allowing your baby to eat home-cooked food provides your child with more flavor, variety, and nutrients. Here is the great news- all you really need is a fork! Honestly, a fork can get the job done and you do not have to buy expensive baby food blenders, as some manufacturers would have you believe. By the time your baby is old enough to start solids (6 months of age), he is old enough to eat the same food as the rest of the family. Technically, all you have to do is mash your dinner up with a fork and thin with breast milk or formula, if needed.
SIMPLE APPROACHES & TECHNIQUES FOR HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
Now, let’s get real here; life happens, and parents work, nannies are busy driving older children to activities or with household tasks. I do not want you to feel overwhelmed or even worse, guilty if you cannot make all the food you feed your little one. To save you time and energy, follow the recipes below using the Fast Tips for Busy Moms or by substituting commercial baby food in the recipes where you feel fit. The good news is you can still teach taste by adding cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, or any other flavor to commercial baby foods using the Baby Food Herb & Spice Guide.
Don’t forget about the nature’s ready-made baby foods- banana, avocado, and baked sweet potato. At minimum, you can mash up a banana, avocado, or baked sweet potato without any effort. Of course, the types of foods served to the infant should be determined by the existing feeding skills of the child.
BABY FOOD EQUIPMENT
• Blender or manual food processor (fork, food mill)
• Sauce pan (prefer stainless steel)
• Chopping knife
• Cutting board
• Glass covered containers
• Vegetable brush
• Freezer storage tray with 1 Tbsp. compartments (glass deviled egg container, silicon ice cube tray, mini-silicon cupcake pans) with covers, if possible.
• Freezer safe storage container
• Boil water
• Bake and roast vegetables
• Steam vegetables and fruit
• Push a button on a blender
• Use a fork to mash
• Understand food safety
BENEFITS OF MAKING BABY FOOD
• You know the food source (fresh, organic, local, frozen, etc.).
• You know what was added to the food (preservatives, food colorings, etc.).
• Control over allergen content (gluten).
• It tastes better.
• It looks and smells better.
• It is fun.
• More economical.
BASIC BULK RECIPES
Batch-cooking fruit and vegetable purees is a terrific way to stay organized and have a variety of fresh food available at any given moment. However, feel free to mix and match purees to make your own creation. Bulk recipes can be made ahead of time and kept frozen in the freezer for future use, saving you time, energy, and money. You will be able to grab a cube, defrost, and serve.
The Basic Bulk Recipe
· In a saucepan, steam desired amount of vegetable or fruit.
· Cool and drain steamed produce, reserving cooking liquid.
· Add to a blender and blend. Add cooking liquid back into the blender until you reach a desired consistency.
· Favorite steamed bulked purees: apples, pears, apricots, peaches, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, butternut squash, and much more (Nature’s natural soft baby food: banana and avocado!)!
FREEZING & STORING
1. Prepare the bulk purees.
2. Let puree cool to room temperature.
3. Don’t worry if your puree seems too thick; you will have an opportunity to thin it before you serve it.
4. Pour puree into clean freezing trays (glass deviled egg container) with covers. If your tray does not have a cover, use wax paper followed by plastic wrap. Do not over fill the tray, as it may expand when frozen.
5. Freeze puree for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen.
6. Remove purees from trays and place in a freezer safe container with lid.
7. Label container with name of food and current date.
8. Return to freezer and use within 6 months.
PREPARING & SERVING
1. Remove as many cubes as needed for an infant feeding.
2. Defrost in the refrigerator, covered, or melt in a saucepan over low heat.
3. Meat, pork, and chicken should reach a temperature of 165 F.
4. Prepare puree with a recipe, serve solo, or create your own fun creation by mixing and matching with other bulk purees using the Baby Herb and Spice Guide.