How to Prepare Homemade Baby Food
Prepare homemade baby food
• Wash fruits and vegetables carefully. Peel and remove stems and ends.
• Cook, bake, or grill meats; do not fry them. Be sure to remove any skin, bone or gristle.
• Mash or purée most food to the consistency of applesauce.
• Food mills work well for fruits such as apples and pears. Wash the fruit, cut it into chunks, and soften it in the microwave. When you add it to the food mill, the juice and pulp will nicely squeeze out into your bowl, leaving the skins, cores, and pits behind.
• A food processor or blender makes puréeing all varieties of fruits and vegetables easy and is also ideal for beans and meats. Fresh vegetables can be boiled or steamed until soft. Thaw frozen varieties and cook according to package directions. Place the cooked produce in the food processor or blender and purée for 30 to 60 seconds. You’ll need to add a little water — usually between 1 and 3 tablespoons (15 and 45 mL), depending on the vegetable — to reach the desired consistency. Meat and poultry require more water and a longer processing time.
• Some foods don’t require any special preparation. Examples include bananas, avocados, and soft tofu, all of which are naturally soft and can be mashed as required with the back of a spoon.
• Prepare batches of food for several meals, cooking a whole bunch of carrots or asparagus, for example, at one time.
• Store freshly prepared purées in the refrigerator or freezer. Refrigerated food can be safely stored for up to 2 days, while frozen food can last for months. To freeze purées, first pour them into ice cube trays. (Some specialty baby stores sell trays with lids specifically for this purpose.) Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them to freezer bags. Be sure to write the contents and date on each of the freezer bags — sweet potatoes and squash can look very similar! Thaw the cubes as needed. Cubes are an easy way to measure out portions.
• Try using food “nets.” Some babies enjoy sucking on larger pieces of fruit using nets designed for this purpose. Pieces of melon, for example, are placed inside the net so that your baby can suck the juice from the fruit without the risk of choking on larger pieces. Both washable and disposable nets are available.