January 27, 2007
Going Homemade on Baby Food
Resources abound for those wanting to make baby food themselves. Read on for some cooking tips.
EquipmentIt doesn't have to be big, fancy or expensive. A fork, blender, small electric chopper and a strainer will work as well as a food processor or food mill.
Ice-cube trays, small plastic containers and plastic freezer bags will do for long-term freezing and storage.
You can bake, boil, microwave, steam or stew the food. Steaming, however, is widely recommended in baby food cookbooks as the best way to preserve the fresh taste and vitamins.
If you boil, use just enough water to cover what's in the pan. Don't overcook fruits or vegetables, especially, because nutrients will be lost.
Whatever method you choose, keep some of the liquid from the pan to use as a thinner, if needed. Breast milk and formula are other options.
Also, when making batches of food, cool contents and freeze immediately.
-- Spoon mixture into plastic ice-cube trays. Once the food freezes, pop out the cubes. Store in a freezer bag. Seal and label with the contents and an expiration date. Frozen purees will keep for about six weeks.
-- Defrost cubes as needed.
-- Don't refreeze previously frozen meals.
-- Thaw frozen food in a microwave or saucepan. Cook until hot. Cool and stir thoroughly before serving.
-- Don't reheat food more than once or save leftovers. Both will have bacteria from the used spoon.
-- Serve food warm, not hot.
For recipes and more pointers, visit these sites.
--Sources: "Naturally Delicious Meals for Baby" by Gerrie Hawes (Marlowe & Co., $18.95); "Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby" by Annabel Karmel (Atria Books, $14)
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