Making Fruits and Veggies for Your Baby

28 Mar

Making baby food is simple – if you have the right tools – and doesn’t require as much time as you may think. I spend 30 minutes to 1 hour once a week preparing baby food and I have a well-stocked freezer for my ravenous little 11-month old. I’ve been making his food since he was 5 months old.

TOOLS

These items will make preparing your baby’s food fun and your clean-up quick and easy:

1. Steamer insert and pan with a lid.

Simply Calphalon Multi-Pot – this one is my favorite. It’s got a large capacity and is so easy to clean – nothing seems to stick to it. You can put it in the dishwasher, but I prefer to hand-wash my pots and pans. I’ve had this set for about 3 months now and love it.

My Simply Calphalon steamer set that I Simply love.

Calphalon Universal Steamer Insert – this insert comes with a lid and if you already have Calphalon pots, it should fit. I like it, but I only use this one now when I have a small amount of food I’m making or if I’m cooking multiple batches. It does work well, however, it’s not easy to clean in my opinion and has a much smaller capacity than the multi-pot steamer above.

2. High-powered blender.

I purchased a VitaMix blender at Costco last fall before undergoing jaw surgery. I have no plans to go back to a regular blender, but if you have one that can get the food smooth, there is no need for you to buy something else. Baby J is at an age where he can have more texture. But for first foods, it’s important that they are very smooth, with no chunks lurking.

Note: a food processor is a good alternative if you already have one. 

VitaMix blender I purchased at Costco

3. Wilton Silicone Brownie Mold Pan.

I’ve tried many other options and this one is simply the best. I just ordered another one while writing this blog post, so now I’ll have three.

Blueberry puree before freezing in my Wilton silicone brownie mold pan

4. Plastic wrap

5. Gallon-size freezer bags

6. Sharpie marker or label-maker.

I used to think that my friends who owned label-makers were a bit eccentric…until my friend gave one to me as a gift. I seriously don’t know what I did before having one…oh, wait…yes, I do – I spent hours looking for things!

INSTRUCTIONS

Step One

Wash and chop fresh food for baby or use frozen bagged food.

Most foods for your little one need to be steamed before being eaten, including fruits. Two that do not are bananas and avocado, which simply can be mashed with a fork and served immediately.

Frozen food has several benefits:

1) It’s super-fresh when it’s frozen

2) You can keep it on hand longer than fresh food

3) You can give your baby his/her favorites even when they are not in season.

It’s your choice if you want to use organic or not. For me, it simply depends on the type of food and where it was grown. If it’s in a tough outer skin like mango or banana or avocado, I’m not as concerned about it being organic.

–Use ~2 inches of filtered or distilled water in the bottom of your pan.

–Place desired amount of food into steamer insert and close with a tight-fitting lid.

–Turn stove on to medium-high until you see steam through the lid.

–Set the timer for ~10-15 minutes depending on whether or not the food is fresh or frozen and what kind of food it is. For example, fresh blueberries steam very quickly. Butternut Squash takes longer, sometimes 20 minutes.

–The fruit or vegetable is ready when it’s bright in color and tender but not mushy.

With the exception of carrots, you can use some of the cooking water to help the solid food move more easily in the blender in Step Two.

Step Two

–Place food (probably not more than 2-3 cups of steamed food) and some cooking water (except for carrots, which release toxins into the water) into the blender.

Note: You won’t need much water – maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on your desired consistency. For many of the darker fruits, such as blueberries and cherries, the cooking water makes a delicious hot tea for you. Add a bit of honey (never give honey to an infant under 12 months old) and enjoy drinking your antioxidants!

–If your blender has a puree setting (variable speed 4-5 on the Vitamix), use that and blend your baby’s food for ~1 minute. Use a spatula to ensure that it’s thoroughly blended.

Step Three

–Pour the mixture directly into your brownie mold(s). Don’t worry about making it perfect – just pour away. Then use a small spatula to wipe off the excess and direct the mixture into the square cavities. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer on a flat surface. I typically keep mine in overnight.

Step Four

–Once frozen, empty the fruit or veggie squares into a large bowl or directly into the ziploc bag. You will find your own system.

Step Five

–Use a Sharpie marker to write the name of the food and the date. I use a label-maker because my hand-writing is terrible and I want to be sure my husband can read it. The food should keep for up to 3 months for your baby. My little guy now eats several foods mixed together – his favorite combination is butternut squash and spinach.

–To warm the food, you can thaw the frozen squares in the refrigerator or use a microwave for 15-20 seconds to heat it. You can mix the food with rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, etc – whatever your baby likes.

Have fun in your kitchen and at mealtime!

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical or health professional. I’m simply a new mom sharing my discoveries. Please discuss all of your baby’s nutritional needs with your pediatrician before deciding to give your baby solid food or using any of the tips outlined here.

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5 Responses to “Making Fruits and Veggies for Your Baby”

  1. Doc Carter March 29, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Very informative information. As a grandfather, and a believer in natural foods, I am always looking for ways to improve the lives of my grandchildren, so I will notify their parents of this site. I’m sure they will love it. Thanks for creating it. You are obviously a good mother.

    • mbolke March 29, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      Thank you for your encouraging comments! I’m so glad that it sounds like your family will benefit from the information posted here.

  2. Gram B. March 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Your instructions for making baby food sound easy and not time consuming. If I had known how easy it is to prepare the food, I would have made my babies home made food also. I will let some mothers to be know about your interesting site.

    • mbolke March 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      Glad to hear that some of your friends may be able to use this information. It really is all about having the right tools.

      I’m not sure when your babies were babies, but things change over time. I’ve often thought that many of the tools I have in my kitchen were probably not around when my mom cared for me as a baby.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Love Your White Sink in Less Than 10 Minutes « Around My Home - May 5, 2012

    […] I made some fresh blueberry puree for my baby boy. When I was finished cleaning up the pots, my sink wasn’t looking too […]

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