Being a foodie, I couldn't wait till I had a child so that I could make them homemade baby food. Many of my friends who already had children said to me "oh you'll try it once or twice but it's a lot of work." Little did they know, I made some baby food for my niece long before I ever became a mommy and I was hooked! Not only is it more nutritious for your child, it's really not all that hard to do and doesn't really take all that much time. Give it a try, I bet you will be hooked too!
Baby Food 101
There are two main methods that I follow for making Griffin's baby food. I either steam the fruits and veggies or I roast them. Roasting is your best bet because you retain the most nutrients and the flavors are more concentrated and intense. Either method is fine. I don't recommend boiling any of the items you plan to puree. When you boil, the flavors are definitely lost in the water and the fruit or veggie often tastes water logged. If you're nuts like me and want to know more about steaming vs. boiling, see here.
I started Griffin on solids at 6 months but realize that some people like to start at 4 months. The methods below can be used for any of the fruits or veggies that you chose make your child. Whether you start solids at 4 months or 6 months, some great first food purees are Avocado, Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Pears, Apples and Bananas.
I am sharing the method for steaming today and will post the method for roasting tomorrow
Always make sure your food prep area is very clean. Your hands should be thoroughly washed and the counters and cooking vessels and utensils should be very clean as well.
Steamed Organic Sweet Potato Puree
6 organic sweet potatoes (again, steam as many or as little as you want)
Water, formula or breast-milk (to adjust consistency)
Step by step:
Wash sweet potatoes and peel the skins.
Place the potato chunks into the basket of a steamer insert over water. Make sure that the vegetables are in a single layer in the steamer insert. Place over medium heat and cover with a lid.
Steam the potatoes until fork tender making sure to check the water level now and then to be sure it hasn't evaporated before the potatoes are fully cooked. Add more water if need be.
Tip: Do not allow the water to actually touch the vegetables. The steamer insert should just sit above the water line.
Allow the potatoes to cool and process in your food processor until smooth. Adjust the consistency so that the puree is as smooth or as chunky as your baby needs it to be.
Tip: Save the steaming water to add to your puree if it needs to be a thinner consistency.
Store/Freeze and don't forget to label and date each batch. (See detailed storing info below)
**Purees can be frozen for about 3 months and refrigerated for about 2 days.
I purchased 2 types of baby food storage products. One was the Baby Cubes which can be purchased in stores such as Buy Buy Baby or online at One Step Ahead . I bought both the 1 oz and 2 oz sizes. I also bought the Kidco Food Storage Trays (which are basically ice cube trays with lids on them). I bought both because when I am home, I like popping the food out of the ice cube trays right into Griffin's Dish. If I am leaving the house, I like the ease of grabbing the small Baby Cubes container as if I would a regular glass jar of commercial baby food. If you don't like a lot of gadgets or are low on cash you can surely use your ice cube trays and cover them with plastic wrap and some heavy-duty foil.
All homemade baby food should be heated until steaming hot, just to be safe. I usually pop it into the microwave for a few seconds and then wait till it cools off before I feed it to Griffin. Of course you can always use a small saucepan with a little bit of water added to it as well.
After your baby has tried each fruit and veggie individually and you have ruled out any possible allergic reactions, you are free to mix and match. This is where the fun begins because you can begin to experiment with exciting flavor combinations.
Favorite Flavor Combos:
Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes - Add a 1/4-1/2 tsp of Cinnamon to you batch of sweet potato puree.
Apple Sweet Potatoes- Mix your Apple Puree with your Sweet potato Puree and store
Banana Sweet Potato Mash- Combine 1/2 mashed banana with the above sweet potato puree