I will be spending most of the day steaming, freezing and food processing fruit and vegetables from my Dad's garden. Not only will they be handy to grab out of the freezer for dinner dishes and sauces this winter, a lot of the vegetables will be used for Wyatt's baby food.
Wyatt won't be ready to eat baby food for a few more months, but when he is, it will be nice to know exactly were his food came from and that it is free from pesticides and additives. I don't feed the kids anything I would not eat myself ( such as pre canned baby food) It really is not that hard to make your own food from local sources, all it takes is a little planning ahead.
Buy your food from local farms, grow your own, or buy organic.
If you are processing large amounts of food and want it pureed to freeze for later (to add to sauces and for baby food), you may want to use a food processor. However, you really don't NEED all the fancy equipment especially in the beginning when baby is only eating one teaspoon of food at a time - all these foods can be mashed by hand with a fork- baby food only needs to be pureed for about 6 months- you can get inventive without all the machinery:) The food processor is handy if you are busy and want to plan ahead, it is all a matter of personal preference.
If you are going to be steaming lots of vegetables in one day, make sure you change the water or the bitterness from the water will leach into the next batch of veggies you are cooking.
Steam food such a broccoli and squash for about 5 to 7 minutes before freezing or pureeing.
Butternut Squash can be cut in half and roasted in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 45 minutes. When they are done roasting you can either puree them for baby or put a little butter and cinnamon on them and eat them yourself - Yummm!
I like to puree foods such as avocado and banana right on the spot- these fruits are so soft it can be done by hand with a fork on a cutting board -these are great first food by the way:).
Fruit can be frozen or pureed fresh.
Tips: Feeding babies first foods
Know the foods that are common allergens!
Good First Foods
Many commercial baby foods as well as foods targeted to babies and toddlers contain allergenic ingredients!
If your baby has a food allergy or your family has a serious history of food allergies - read the labels when purchasing commercial baby food!
A few examples:
- Cheerios (wheat, soy protein)
- Instant Infant Cereals (soy)
- Stage "2", "3" and Toddler Meals (wheat, soy, casein (milk protein), albumin (egg)
- Gerber "Puffs" (wheat, soy)
Babies don't need anything added to breast milk or formula before 4-6 months so don't believe anyone who tells you to add rice cereal to milk to "hold them over".
Below is an excerpt from the article In the Kitchen With Baby by Cythia Lair
"Have you checked out the taste and texture of commercial baby cereal? Pour some commercial rice cereal in a bowl. It has no smell. The taste is the very definition of bland. The cereal is made from refined rice that has been processed and precooked. Refined grains have nothing to offer but carbohydrates. Whole grains, on the other hand, contain not only carbohydrates but also protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, essential minerals, and life. The germ is still intact. If you put a whole grain in water, it sprouts. If you put commercial baby cereal in water, it makes paste. Why train your baby to want this? By pre-toasting organic whole grains, grinding them in a small electric grinder, and cooking the grains with water, you can create a fresh, delicious, nutrient-dense cereal with taste, texture, and aroma.Commercial baby food is convenient, it’s true. But the price for this convenience is high. Besides paying companies to blenderize food and put it in jars, you also pay them to dilute the food with water and sometimes to add starchy fillers such as tapioca, rice flour, and modified cornstarch. Even the companies producing organic baby food sometimes use fillers. Such additives lower production costs and help mask off-flavors"
Here is Cythia's recipe for homemade whole grain baby cereal
When your baby does show signs he/she is ready for solid foods, introduce one food at a time for 3 or 4 straight days- that way if your baby does have food sensitivities they will be easy to spot.
If your baby does not act ready to eat solids stop for a few weeks and then try again later if the baby seems ready- no rush.
Use local and organic foods- or grow your own (of course without pesticides)
Begin with a small amount of food (only about a teaspoon) once a day- when you are introducing first foods you can mix your pureed food with breast milk so the taste is more familiar to baby.
After several weeks of successfully eating your baby can then graduate to organic healthy protein such as organic plain yogurt, egg yolks (whites can be a common allergen so start with the yolks), organic butter, and homemade soup stock.
Talk to your baby, model for your baby (tasting the food yourself) and have fun!!!
Resource Cythia Lair