Making your own baby food can be daunting especially if don’t cook from scratch yourself. There are lots of benefits to making homemade baby food, and it’s not as hard as you think. Check out our easy to follow tips and we’ll show you how.
Top Tips for Making Baby Food
There are no hard and fast rules to making your own baby food. You can use frozen or canned fruit and vegetable for convenience or to save money. Choosing fresh food can be difficult when you want to get the best value for money.
- Inspect it – Have a good look and smell of the food, it’s the best way to judge how fresh each item is. Look out for bruising, shrivelled skins, mould or slime, as these are all signs the food is ‘off’. If it smells odd then it’s best to avoid it.
- Plan ahead – Unless you’re planning a day of batch cooking, most fresh foods only have a few days shelf life. If you buy more than you’ll use the rest will go to waste, so save money and buy only what you need. Bulk buying can save money if you are willing to freeze what’s not used.
- Pack carefully – When you fill your trolley or pack the bags, try to keep the fruit and vegetables on top. This avoid heavy items crushing or bruising the fruits and vegetables, prolonging their shelf life.
- Buy in Season – We are lucky to have access to most fruits and vegetables at any time of the year. The reality is that this produce is grown in far flung countries and shipped here old to be frozen and thawed before being displayed. Fruit and veg which is in season contains much more nutrients and are a lot cheaper than ones which are not.
- Use Vouchers and Deals– Buying fresh food every few days can add a lot to your shopping bill. Look out for shop vouchers or deals which can bring down the costs. You can also try shopping around local greengrocers or farmers markets for great bargains.
Now the fun begins. Once you get into the routine of cooking it’s a rather simple process and can be done in around 30 minutes.
Wash, chop, and peel fresh fruits and vegetables if necessary. If you are using frozen foods, simply open the package. If you are using canned foods, pour them into a colander or strainer and rinse in cold water for one minute.
There are a few methods you can use to cook baby food including oven baking, boiling, slow cooking or grilling. Our favourite methods is steaming as it’s the best for maintaining nutrients in foods. If you are looking for convenient methods a baby food maker can cook and puree or mash all in one. Some food such as bananas or avocados don’t need cooked before the next step.
Create a smooth puree or a mash by blending, ricing or mashing your cooked foods. Young babies need smooth purees with no lumps. After 6 months babies can advance to eating mashes and chunks in their food.
Spoon the puree into weaning pots to store fresh in the fridge or freezer for later use. Remember to date when the food was made. Frozen purees can be removed from the tray and kept in a freezer safe bag to refill the tray. Frozen baby food cubes will keep fresh for 2-3 months in the freezer.
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- Thaw – you should defrost any frozen baby cubes for a few hours before they are needed. If you are in a hurry you can place the cubes into the microwave on a defrost setting.
- Heat – Heat the food to warm or room temperature before serving to baby. We don’t recommend using a microwave to do this as it can create heat pockets which can scald you baby’s mouth. A baby food warmer or water bath does the job well.
- Plate up – Serve the food to you baby in an appropriate bowl. Younger babies will need you to spoon feed them with a spoon. As baby grows let them explore their food by practising with baby friendly cutlery.
If your find the consistency of your puree is too thick or too think once defrosted these are a few tips for fixing it.
- Mix – Try mixing together two complementary foods to thicken or thin the puree.
- Thickeners – Great puree thickeners for a thin puree include baby cereal, banana, tofu, yoghurt and sweet potato.
- Thinners – If you babies food is too thick simply add some water or baby milk to the puree (breast or formula) you baby will already be familiar with the taste.