As parents, many of us are concerned about the additives and preservatives that are used in the manufacture of store-bought baby foods. As a result, there are hundreds of mums and dads out there who are now taking matters into their own hands and making their very own homemade baby foods. If this healthy practice is something that you are interested in trying, this is the article for you!
What you will need and how it’s done
Making baby food is quite simple. To start off with, all you will need are some fresh and organic ingredients (remember not to utilise any gas-inducing foods in your recipes until your tot is at least 12 months old. These foods include beans, broccoli, cauliflower and garlic). Because you will need to puree the food after cooking it, it is also a good idea to invest in a quality blender.
Alternatively, you can opt to mash the food by hand – although this can be quite time-consuming. Once you have reached the desired consistency, spoon the food into a fine strainer so as to ensure that all lumps and pips are removed. Next, portion up the food into small storage containers and refrigerate or freeze. Simple, easy and hassle-free!
How to store homemade baby food
Safe storage of your homemade baby food is of the utmost importance. For those who plan to cook regularly, i.e. approximately every two days, storing the food in the fridge should be fine. It is recommended that you use small glass containers (that have been sterilised) with lids. Or, if these are not available, small plastic Tupperware containers should suffice. Keep in mind that refrigerated baby food has a shelf life of no more than two days.
If you plan on cooking larger portions, and less regularly, freezing the food is another option. Some parents choose to freeze the food in ice cube trays – although it is essential that these trays are then also placed into airtight containers. Other parents store and freeze baby food as ‘splats’, i.e. as small portions spooned onto wax paper and then placed into airtight containers.
Another option is to simply store the food in zip-lock bags. All of these options will result in a three month shelf life. Just remember that it is unsafe to re-freeze the baby food once it has been thawed.
How to thaw baby food
Parents have the following options when thawing their organic creations:
- Defrosting in the microwave,
- Defrosting in warm water,
- Defrosting overnight in the refrigerator.
How to start
Once you are sure that your little one is ready to try solid foods, it is important to follow these steps:
- Feed your tiny tot a single-fruit/veg puree for five days. We recommend starting with carrot, butternut or banana. If your baby shows any signs of intolerance, stop feeding immediately.
- Once the five days have been completed successfully, you can try a new single-fruit/veg puree.
- After a few weeks of repeating this process, you can begin to get a bit more creative with your homemade purees. Our little ones love the following fruits and veggies:
- Green peas
- Sweet potatoes
- Baby marrow
Just remember that it can get incredibly messy when first introducing your kids to solid foods. So ensure that you have access to a reliable laundry detergent and fabric softener - both of which will assist in effortlessly cleaning up those nasty spills and stains. More importantly though, have fun experimenting and be sure to enjoy this wonderful milestone with your little munchkin. Watching your little one grow and smile as a result of your efforts will be a reward in and of itself.