A blogging friend emailed me wondering what types of homemade baby food I was making for Violet. Instead of just sending a recipe, I thought it was important to read up on how to go about making baby food, and how to store it, heat it, etc. The following is information I found from a great cookbook, First Meals by Annabell Karmel.
I typed this out by hand from the book, so please forgive any slight punctuation/spelling mistakes.
PS - This has got to be one of my all time favorite pictures of Violet. Her resemblance to a giant tomato is startling. She is about a week old in this picture, and just under 10 pounds. hehe!
PPS - Consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about what foods are appropriate or how to make homemade baby food. I did this at length and I am currently following the pediatrician's guidelines of what to feed Violet.
Homemade Baby Food Tips
- steaming helps preserve the taste and nutrient content of fresh food. The water-soluble vitamins B and C can be destroyed by overcooking: broccoli loses 60% of its vitamin c boiled, 20% steamed
- boiling can destroy nutrients, so ingredients should be cooked until just tender in the minimum amount of water. Be careful not to overcook.
-microwaving allows fast cooking of fruits and veggies (and later fish) with minimal nutrient loss. When fresh ingredients are cooked rapidly at full power, most of the nutrients are retained.
- baking is a nutrient retaining, labor saving cooking method. potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash can be washed, pricked with a fork, and baked until tender. The flesh can then be scooped out and mashed.
1. cook small pieces of veggies or fruit until tender. Drain, retaining a tablespoon or two of the cooking liquid, then pour into the food processor bowl.
2. process the food until a smooth, even-textured puree is produced. If necessary, add a little of the cooking water to thin the mixture, then pulse briefly.
3. the final texture of the puree should be completely smooth. It can be thinned with cooled boiled water for young babies. (Ali's note: I just use regular water, haven't had any problems - just don't use bottled mineral water b/c it has a high sodium content)
Freezing and Reheating:
1. allow the freshly cooked puree to cool to room temp then spoon it into clean ice cube trays. transfer trays to the freezer.
2. when the puree has frozen solid, take the trays from the freezer and quickly push out the cubes onto a clean plate. (Ali's note: if they wont come out, dip the bottom of the tray in hot water for a few seconds and try again)
3. set aside the required amount of cubes and heat in a pan or in the microwave until piping hot.
4. transfer the remaining puree portions to a freezer bag, seal tightly, then label and date the contents. return to freezer.
it is safe to thaw purees in a microwave or saucepan, as long as the food is then heated all the way through until piping hot. be careful using the microwave since it can heat food unevenly, creating hot spots, but leaving other areas of the food cold.Let the puree cool after heating and test it before giving it to baby. it is dangerous to reheat purees more than once, so only reheat one portion at a time so you aren't wasting any food.
Freezer Storage Times:
Food and Time
breast milk - 1 month
veggie purees - 6 months
fruit purees - 6 months
purees w/milk - 2 months
Food Safety Tips:
- only reheat once, and make sure it is reheated at a high temp to kill off the bacteria
- do not keep baby's half eaten food for a later meal, because saliva introduced from your baby's spoon will breed bacteria quickly
- always date food stored in the freezer so that food that is past its prime, or that hs even deteriorated and become harmful, is never eaten
- don't leave food unrefrigerated since bacteria multiply rapidly at room temp. cool food quickly if it is to be refrigerated or frozen.
- don't add salt, sugar or honey to baby food. (salt strains the kidneys, sugar and honey encourage a sweet tooth and honey carries a slight risk of botulism infection)