Is there a little one or the thoughts of a little one in the future for your family? Ever looked at the cost of pre-made jarred foods in the health food store or your local grocer? Ever wondered why they put additives and preservatives in your little ones food? Yikes! Yes, the thought of making baby food sounds tremendous, but really consider making your own baby food.
There are a variety of reasons to make your junior’s food. You know exactly what is in the food, you have control over the quality and if you are in our organic CSA, you have the confidence of pesticide and additive free food. Hey, your little baby is brand new after all, so why not give the little tyke a good start to life with your very own organic baby food. It’s a dinner you can be truly proud of. It certainly is easy enough, and not time consuming if you make it while you prepare your own dinner or take at least one to two hours per week and make lots ahead for future use. Making your own baby food is such a wise decision to make and it’s a wonderful way to use up left overs.
There are loads of recipes to choose from that will appeal to the wee ones and Mom and Dad too.
One very handy tool is a Baby food Mill purchased at the Babies R Us section at Toys R Us, or any kitchen supply store. If you just happen to own a small kitchen food processor that could be an option, however the baby food mill uses no electricity and therefore very environmentally green. Use a stainless steel steamer over water and steam your vegetable of choice until very tender and easily mashed. Place food in the food mill, turn the crank, and voilà, Baby Food!
Save that steam water for your baby’s juice and water bottle.
The next step is to become creative with the veggies. Make sure to start your baby with the appropriate foods for your baby’s age, and as the foods are tolerated, you can mix and create new and exciting combinations for more variety.
To save time and plan ahead, you can always make a large amount of purée and put the extras in ice-cube trays to freeze the mush, once it has cooled. After the food has frozen solid, remove it from the trays and secure in air-tight zip lock bags or vacuum bags. Another great storage idea are tiny plastic food containers found at dollar stores or from your local plastic-container party lady down the street. When it is time to heat up your little ones food, the tiny ice cubes thaw rather quickly placed in a plastic container in a bowl of boiling water, or in a steam basket over boiling water on the stove. You can also put a cube in a zip-loc sandwich bag, and immerse in hot water for a few minutes until warm. Most babies are not fussy for hot food, so some like it cold or room temperature. Try to avoid using the microwave for your baby’s food, even though it is a quick convenience item. Studies show that there are many unhealthy effects used in re-heating food in a microwave.
Carrots or Sweet Potatoes are one of the first foods that are introduced to young babies. After steaming, straining and cooling the veggies, keep the leftover steam water to use as a drink. Once cooled in the refrigerator, offer the “juice” to your baby as a fortified, vitamin packed drink of water. You can also add this water to your vegetable purée if the mixture is a bit thick. Carrots and Sweet Potato mixed together is a great combination. Remember, if you decide to make baby food from your own leftover dinner, it is important that you do not use butter, salt or pepper in your dish. Those items are rather difficult for babies to digest. Introduce those things as their tiny systems mature.
Being the Mother of a baby with a tricky tummy, I learned quite early how to make baby food, and hoped that she would eat it. One of the greatest hits was a Dried Bean and Colby Cheese combination that she enjoyed from about 9 months on. Pinto Beans were a hit with her, and actually still are. There are many beans and lentils that baby can have to provide protein, minerals and vitamins A, B and C. Lentils, Mung Beans, Kidney Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Chick Peas, Pinto Beans, Butter Beans to name a few. In the early fall and winter, there is a huge selection of beans in our share boxes, and what better convenient food for the vegetarian baby. No matter what type of dried bean you are preparing, the cooking instructions are the same. While soaking the beans overnight is not an absolute must (and we often forget to do this), soaking the beans will reduce the length time that you have to cook them for. Prior to soaking and cooking, be sure to wash and pick through the beans. When soaking the beans, measure the desired amount to a lidded jar or plastic container. Pour water (warm or cold) over the beans so that they are completely covered. Close the container and go about your activities. Come back in 6 to 8 hours and your beans are ready to cook.
To cook dried beans, use 3 cups of water per 1 cup of beans. If the beans have not been soaked, use 4-5 cups of water. Bring beans and water to a boil in a pot, cover and immediately simmer until the beans are tender. Be sure to check on the water level and never let the water level get below the beans. The beans are ready when they are easily squished between your thumb and finger, using very light pressure. Run the beans through the food mill, along with about an ounce of Colby cheese or other mild or soft cheese and serve warm. Yummy right off the spoon. When baby becomes an mature eater this recipe can be altered with the addition of onion to the beans during cooking time, and used as a spread on a cracker or a dip with veggie sticks when baby enjoys feeding itself. When baby becomes a toddler, spices like chilli powder and cumin make an amazing bean dip for the whole family.
If you like, I will continue to add more recipes for our young Baby Members. I have loads of tips and ideas. Babies, please just ask your Mom.
Also, Visit Wholesome Homemade Baby Food . com which is an awesome site: #mce_temp_url#