Sarah from Spoon Fed Baby is sharing tips for making homemade baby food:
I am so honored that Alea is allowing me to invade her blogosphere space and do a little guest posting! How awesome is she? Spreading the love for sure (smile). Confession: I have decided that I am an “Alea wanna-be”; gardening organically, living intentionally, & spending wisely. Sounds pretty awesome to me!
I don’t think I will ever get there totally, but I am trying in little ways here and there. When my husband Jason and I found out we were pregnant in December 2010 we knew that we wanted to try cloth diapers. It saves us money, trash, and our little guy’s bum from diaper rash! We also decided to try our hand at making our own baby food. Our son is 7 months old now (yikes!) and so far so good! We’re in a groove now that we have a system down. Starting out was tricky though because there are lots of choices out there. Dying to know what we have learned?? Let’s get started!
Fresh or Frozen
When shopping in the grocery store it feels very satisfying to be picking out fresh veggies and fruit for our little guy. Fresh is best when making baby food, but frozen is a very close second, seeing that the veggies are frozen in their freshest state. If I am buying fresh (carrots or sweet potatoes for example) I look for signs of a short shelf life. For example you don’t want the carrots that have a lot of little hairs on it and growth on the top. I then will cook and puree them within a few days of purchasing. I have also been trying to abide by the “dirty dozen” list.
Frozen is also a good choice, especially when buying peas. Much easier than popping pods all afternoon!
Steaming or Baking
When cooking the veggies (we have yet to try fruit) steaming or baking is your best bet. Those methods hold the most nutrients in the vegetable. Boiling allows the nutrients to leech out into the water, therefore not packing the nutritional punch for baby you were hoping for. What is handy about steaming is that when you puree the veggie you can use the leftover water to add back in for a smooth consistency. Voila! Nutritional powerhouse!
Let me tell you…baby food making companies make it easy on you! There are all sorts of gadgets that help you with the pureeing process. For myself I use the Beaba Babycook because it steams it AND purees it, but other moms have said a basic blender does the trick also.
When I puree any vegetable I always add the leftover water from steaming back in, and blend until I get a smooth fine consistency. Often I will add in breast milk to make it even thinner. When adding in breast milk make sure it is milk that has not previously been frozen. Also, formula should not be frozen in a puree. Another option for thinning the puree is to mix in the steaming water, freeze the puree, and then thin it when you are ready to defrost it and serve it. Then frozen or fresh breast milk can be used as well as formula.
Freezer or Fridge
For storing the pureed baby food, I opt to put it in the freezer. It seems that from what I have read that it is best to keep baby food in the fridge for no longer than 48 hours, so I usually use it up within 24 hours (if you know me, you know I worry about all this safety stuff!!). It is the same with freezing. Using frozen baby food within 1-3 months is best, so I use it up in 1 month. To freeze my purees I use a BPA free ice cube tray with cover. After 24 hours I pop them out and put them in a zip-lock bag with the date written on it.
I do cook for my family, but I don’t know if I would say I enjoy it, but making food for my son makes me giddy! I love watching him eat the food that I have made him, knowing exactly where it came from, and how it was prepared. I hope by doing this, I can bring a little of Alea into my life!
You can find Sarah sharing more recipes at Spoon Fed Baby. Sarah also shares play ideas and discusses some of the parenting decisions she has made in her versus series. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.