Tips On Making Homemade Baby Food
When making homemade baby food, it’s important to follow basic safe food handling guidelines, such as hand washing before cooking and heating foods to proper temperatures. Besides basic safety measures, there are also specific baby food safety rules to follow:
Homemade Baby Food Safety
- Don’t add fats like oils, heavy spices or salt to homemade baby food.
- Steam or pressure-cook veggies when possible. Boiling vegetables, besides hard items like squash or potatoes, is unnecessary and destroys vitamins.
- Don’t cook in copper pots as this can destroy vitamin C in foods.
- Only serve one serving at a time. Uneaten food that a baby’s spoon has dipped into should be tossed because bacteria can develop in the uneaten portion.
- While sampling for taste during the cooking process, use a clean spoon to dip into the food, and then put that spoon in the sink. If you need another taste test, use a clean spoon.
- Always serve one food item at a time so allergic reactions can be recognized. Once it’s known that a baby is not allergic to different food items separately, they can be mixed in baby food recipes.
- Use organic vegetable and fruits when possible.
- Follow proper produce safety. Unless vegetables and fruits are certified organic, be sure to peel them, and scrub them with a stiff vegetable brush and warm water.
How to make easy and nutritious homemade baby food
Few supplies are needed to make baby food at home. In fact, at bare minimum, all that’s needed is a pot to cook in and a fork to mash with. That said it’s easiest to have the following on hand:
- A pot, a vegetable steamer, and a drainer. For the steamer, nothing fancy is needed. A basic $5 collapsible vegetable steamer insert is fine.
- One blender, baby food grinder, or food processor -- just one will work; no need to own all three.
- Ice cube trays.
- Freezer safe containers or baggies.
- One hungry baby!
The basic recipe for baby food
There’s a general baby food making formula that anyone can follow.
1. Choose a fruit or vegetable.
2. If using organic produce, wash well. If using non-organic produce, peel and wash. If using potatoes boil or bake them in the skin, then remove the peel after cooking. If using a vegetable like spinach, remove the stems. Always remove hard seeds (such as apple seeds) from produce as well.
3. Steam or boil the vegetable or fruit. Occasionally you can bake an item (like a potato, apple, or chunk of squash).
4. Once the vegetable or fruit is cooked soft and tender, mash with a fork, blend in a blender, or grind in a baby food grinder to the appropriate texture. (See below for a note about baby food texture).
5. Serve small recipe amounts right away and save the rest.
6. To store prepared baby food, pour into ice cube trays, freeze, and later pop the cubes out into a freezer container or baggie. Label the container with the name of the food and the date.
7. Homemade baby food can be refrigerated in a closed container for three days or stored in the freezer for up to two months.
8. To serve frozen baby food pop a cube or two into a bowl and allow the cubes to defrost, or the cubes can be gently heated in a microwave or stove pot.
Once the basic formula is mastered, it’s easy to add additional food nutrients to the basic formula, such as rice, pasta, barely, meats, and more to create new recipes.
A word about homemade baby food texture
The basic baby food making formula is all there is to homemade baby food. The only parts that differ are ingredients and texture. Baby food texture depends on baby’s age and eating stage. When making homemade baby food, the following textures should be used:
New eaters or babies up to six months of age should have finely pureed baby food. For example, cook a vegetable or fruit until super soft and then mash to death with a fork or better yet puree in a blender. After mashing or blending add a little breast milk or formula to thin the baby food even more.
Babies older than six months, who are experienced eaters, can have heartier textures. To create a thicker texture, don’t mash or blend to puree standards. Leave the baby food mixture a little thick. If it’s too thick, add a little breast milk or formula to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add a little baby cereal or oatmeal to thicken.
Two yummy and nutritious baby food recipes
Sweet organic carrots: Steam one organic carrot and about half a peeled and cored organic red apple until both are soft and easy to mash. Add both to blender with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend to the desired consistency. A fork can be used to mash instead of blend for a thicker texture.
Fresh green peas and potatoes: Boil one small organic potato in the skin. When the potato is almost fully cooked, use another pot to steam one and one-half cups of fresh or fresh frozen organic peas. Once the peas and potato are cooked, peel the potato, and add both the potato and peas to a blender with a tiny pinch of ground ginger. Blend to the desired consistency.
More homemade baby food recipes: