Weaning Foods ‘a DIY guide’
What you need to make your own baby food:
A cheap hand held blender (Argos sell them for £4.99). If you can not afford a hand held blender then a sieve can do the same job but it will take a little more work on your part, as you will have to push the cooked food threw the sieve with a metal spoon but you will end up with puree the same as with a blender. Of course if you are Miss Money bags then a £400.00 blender will do the job too.
Ice cube trays, just any cheap plastic ice cube trays, I bought mine in Morrisons for 30p for 2. The more you have the better but 8 is probably a good number.
Spoons, saucepans and a cooker or microwave, plastic storage containers (old ice cream tubs are great) or freezer bags. Remember to label the containers/bags and date them so that you don’t keep them for longer than 3mnths.
Most fruit and vegetables can be boiled in a small amount of water and then pureed and frozen in individual ice cubes, once frozen they can be emptied out into either a plastic container or a freezer bag and stored in the freezer for when you need them. The easiest way to get the cubes out of the trays is to twist the ice cube tray and the frozen contents will pop out. Never add salt to any vegetables that you cook as salt is harmful to babies and children. Try not to add sugar unless you feel the fruit is very sour and then only add a small amount.
The good thing about making your own baby food is you know exactly what is in the food. There are no added colours, preservatives or anything else that you would not normally eat. It is also incredibly cheap; a jar of baby carrot food can cost around 48p where as a large bag of carrots costs about the same price and will probably make you enough cubes to last a month. Once you have made up your cubes of food you can mix and match them as much as you want and vary babies’ diet accordingly.
Once moving away from just veg and fruit purees you can blend up roast dinners, spag bol, cottage pie, the list is endless.
(Contains Beta Carotene which converts in the body to Vitamin A. High in Vitamin C.)
Butternut squash is a great first baby food as it has a light, sweat nutty taste. It makes into a nice smooth puree and so is an easy first food. Can be found in most supermarkets.
Cut off the neck of the squash as close to the rounded end as possible. Peel the neck with a sharp knife. All of the neck part of the squash can be eaten. It is quite a firm vegetable to peel a bit like suede in texture. Once you have completed the neck cut the rounded base in half that you have left. Scoop out all the seeds and discard them. The squash looks very much like a pumpkin in the rounded base end. Peel the base and chop up into cubes. Add all the peeled and cubed squash to a saucepan. Put in a small amount of water about enough to cover half the veg, you don’t need to drown it. Place on a hob and bring to the boil. If you do not have a hob, bring to the boil in the microwave using a little less water. Once boiling, cover and cook for approx 10mins. Try not to over cook the squash as you will destroy the vitamin content of it. Test frequently with a knife to see if the squash feels tender.
Once cooked, drain the water but do not throw it away, save it. Let the squash cool a little and then blend or sieve it to a puree. If you feel the mixture is to thick then add some of the saved water that you cooked the squash in (the saved water also contains vitamins so is better than adding just plain water) until it is a good consistency, then discard any unneeded water. Divide up the mixture into your ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen empty the cubes into bags or containers.
The principle is pretty much the same for any fruit and veg that you choose to cook. If boiling fruit I keep the water and use it as juice as it tastes of bland fruit juice and babies love it. It has the added bonus of being sugar free and containing vitamins.
Avocados are great for babies and can be used as a savoury or sweet dish. They contain the highest protein and oil content of any fruit. They are 30% fat, but good fats not bad ones (monounsaturated) which is meant to guard against cancer and heart disease. Avocados are also very good for premature babies to eat and help them put on weight. You do not need to cook avocados. Pick some nice soft ripe ones. They have a large stone in the middle of them so cut around the avocado and twist to break it in half. Remove the stone and scoop out the soft flesh of the fruit. Blend them with a little cooled boiled water to modify the texture, and then freeze in your trays. You can use the avocado from fresh and not from frozen, the downside of this is they go black if left, once frozen they don’t go black. I use one cube of avocado to two cubes of normal pear and mix for a pudding. You could use any fruit puree or add to a savoury meal as they do not really taste of anything.
Other fruits and veg I use are:
Nectarine (gently boiled)
Peach (gently boiled)
Apples (gently boiled)
Pears (gently boiled)
Strawberries (gently boiled)
Gooseberries (gently boiled)
Raspberries (gently boiled)
Bananas (great finger food or as a first food ripe banana mashed on its own or with a little milk. If you microwave for a few seconds they are even easier to mash)
You can either serve them individually or mix them together to give a variation on taste. Once you have established solids and your baby is around 7th month old you can add the fruits to plain yoghurts to give a new flavour or even some ice cream.
I blend any left over foods we have that I feel appropriate and add them to the veg purees. Roast dinners have been a favourite of all of my children but make sure you do not use a lot of salt in your cooking if you use your own food.
If you have any recipes you would like to share why not post them by following the comments link below.
This is a members article written by MumSam