By making your own baby food right at home, you can ensure that your child is getting exactly the foods you want him or her to have.
Preparing homemade baby food provides a number of benefits for both you and your baby. Not only will you save a large amount of money, but also you will know exactly what is in your baby’s food and know that your child is receiving healthy and nutritious ingredients. The majority of store bought baby foods are processed and refined. They usually contain additives and preservatives that may not always be good for your baby. By making your own baby food right at home, you can ensure that your child is getting exactly the foods you want him or her to have.
What You Will Need
In order to properly make and store homemade baby food, you will need to have the right kitchen tools and storage items. While preferences may vary, the following are some of the more popular tools needed to make homemade baby food:
– Blender or Food Processor—A food processor or blender is needed for mixing, blending or mashing foods into a proper consistency.
– Stick Mixer—You may find a stick mixer handy for travel or quick meals.
– Colander or Strainer—A colander or strainer is needed for draining excess liquid from foods after they have been cooked.
– Fine Mesh or Small Holed Strainer—A small-holed or fine mesh strainer can be used for more textured foods. For example, you will likely want to separate green bean or pea skins from the pulp.
– Steamer Basket—Use a steamer basket to steam fresh fruits and vegetables.
– Storage Containers—Make sure to use freezable storage containers. Many people like to use ice cube trays to freeze the food and then store the cubes in freezer bags. A single ice cube is approximately 1 oz. of homemade baby food. This is often the perfect serving size for baby.
Cooking Homemade Baby Food
You will first need to cook the vegetables, fruits or meats. Make sure to properly peel off any skins and remove all pits and seeds. You may choose to steam, boil or bake the foods. Many people prefer to steam fresh fruits and vegetables in order to retain as much nutritional value as possible. Cooking is necessary in order to mix the foods into a proper consistency. However, be careful not to overcook them. Excessive amounts of heat remove essential vitamins and nutrients from fruits and vegetables, which is one reason steaming is generally preferred. Make certain that all meats are thoroughly cooked however.
Straining Homemade Baby Food
Once the food has been properly cooked, you will need to strain it. A fine mesh or small-holed strainer is useful for removing skins from smaller vegetables, such as peas and beans. Small seeds in fruits like kiwi or strawberries can also be removed this way. Be certain that all seeds and skins are separated from the food. Young children, espeically, can easily get choked on something as simple as a skin from a green bean.
Mixing and Blending Homemade Baby Food
Once the food had been properly strained, you will need to mix it in a blender or food processor. You may want to add a small amount of breast milk, water or formula to the food to make it blend a little easier. Very little liquid is required however because you don’t want it to be too runny. The specific consistency you blend the food at should largely be determined by the age of your baby. Very young babies will require a very fine consistency, while older children may be ready to add a thicker texture to their homemade baby food.
Storing Homemade Baby Food
It is not recommended to store homemade baby food in the refrigerator for more than 48 to 72 hours. If you are preparing a large amount of food, you should adequately store it in freezable storage containers. Ice cube trays provide a convenient method of freezing and storing homemade baby food. The size of an ice cube is equivalent to approximately one ounce of food. This portion size is generally ideal for a single serving. Simply add the food to each ice cube compartment, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once the homemade baby food is adequately frozen, remove the portions from the tray and store them in freezer bags.