When introducing solid foods to baby, at about four to six months, many parents choose to puree fruits, vegetables, and meats rather than purchase the ready-made baby foods that are available, often at an expensive price.
Price is one advantage of pureeing your own foods for baby, but there are others to consider, as well. You may purchase, or grow, those fruits and vegetables that are baby’s favorites; by buying fresh fruits and vegetables, or growing your own, you know exactly what is going into the food that baby will be eating, and by making your own baby food you can puree as much as you like, in your own broths and juices that are appealing to a baby’s growing taste buds.
Both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables can be steamed or stewed, according to the baby’s own taste, without added salt or margarine until the baby is ready for the full flavor that comes with such additives.
Because vegetables that are served for older tastes are often high in sodium and seasonings, you may wish to set aside a portion that is right for baby before adding seasonings when you are planning on feeding to baby the vegetables you have prepared for your family. Puree the vegetable you have set aside, unseasoned, in the blender and freeze for later use at baby’s mealtime. An excellent way to stock up on veggies for baby is to pour the puree from the blender into clean, plastic ice cube trays.
The size of the cubes is just perfect for baby; once frozen, you can store and label the cubes into the strong freezer bags that are so popular today. Just take out the amount of cubes you prefer at each feeding and let thaw for baby’s meal. These cubes can also be thawed on the low, or defrost, setting on your microwave.
Strained cereals being the first foods that are offered to baby, vegetables come next. They can be cooked in either homemade beef or chicken broth, or in plain water, if baby has yet to acquire a taste for the meat broths. Cook the vegetables until very tender and then puree. If you prefer, you can add a bit of the broth or plain water into the vegetable mixture while you are blending to a desired consistency. Depending on baby’s ability at the time to successfully chew ‘chunky’ bites, you may wish to leave some of the vegetables in very small bites, rather than leaving the whole dish pureed.
Which vegetables work best in pureeing in a blender? Experts say to offer carrots, potatoes, green beans, squash and peas. All these more easily blend into a nice consistency when pureed.
Fruits, also, make wonderful purees for baby, and add a nutritious source of sweetness to baby’s palate. The best bets are fresh fruits or canned fruits; if using canned fruits, make sure they are either packed in their own juice or water. Try to stay away from fruits that come canned in heavy, sugar syrups. The best fruits with which to begin for this age are bananas, peaches, applesauce and pears.
After your baby has mastered his pureed fruits and veggies, if desired, it is now time to introduce meats; they are easily pureed, too. The best way to puree meats for baby is to first stew the meat in water to make a broth that can be used as a liquid while pureeing. It is best, as mentioned above with the vegetables, not to add salt or spices while pureeing the meat, whether it be chicken or beef.
Both beef and chicken have many fibers in their textures that can make it difficult when attempting to achieve a fine puree, as is necessary for the safety of the baby. A good rule to remember is to cut the meat into very small pieces before stewing. This will greatly reduce the stringy consistency of the meats, and also helps in softening while being stewed.
Most parents who puree homemade foods for baby find it convenient in that once stewed and pureed, fruits and vegetables, and meats, can be packaged, labeled, and stored for later use. If time is allotted in cooking a large quantity of these foods that baby is beginning to appreciate, a whole month’s worth of meals can be ready at hand in your freezer, requiring only a little time for thawing in the refrigerator or in the microwave before baby’s meal or snacktime.Most parents