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Preparation and Storing Baby's First Foods
As your baby approaches the sixth month mark, it is a very exciting time. Along with all the other changes taking place, you can finally start to introduce solid foods to him and begin to develop his palate. I wanted my baby to have a wonderful first eating experience. To know from the start that food can be fresh and tasty and is to be enjoyed. I decided early on that I would cook and prepare the majority of her food here at home instead of buying hundreds of jars. There are endless reasons why this is a great idea from economic to freshness and taste. But of course there were the times when those jars came in handy in a pinch. So I am not here to talk bad about jar baby food. But if you have the desire to make your baby's food, it is very simple and convenient to do.
First you want to decide what foods are best to start with. Each month you can add more as your baby gets older and can eat more different things. The recommendation though is to wait a few days each time you introduce something new in case there was an allergic reaction, so you would know what it was from.
I think a great beginning is carrots,pears and peas. Here is how I prepared and stored the food:
I bought fresh baby carrots (you can use frozen) and frozen peas and a few fresh pears. The method is the same for all. In a medium sauce pan, put about an inch of water. The carrots and pears will have to be chopped up small and the pears must be pealed. Put the fruit or vegetable in the water and steam until very soft. (test with a fork). When they reach the desired tenderness, it is time to puree. I used a hand held stick blender but you can use a traditional one, just wait until the food cools down. I blended the food until mushy and no big lumps remained. Then I drained the excess water until i was left with a nice consistency, not too watery or to thick. Let it cool and it is ready to eat! That simple.
You could make these three batches on a Monday and have food for the week for under $10. Each baby food jar costs .89 and feedings are 3x a day so you do the math.. Not to mention that it comes from your own kitchen!
After the food has cooled, you can leave some in the refrigerator tightly sealed for a day or two and freeze the rest. Get some square shaped ice cube trays and put some puree into each section. Place in the freezer. When the purees are frozen, remove them from the tray and store in airtight freezer bags. At meal time just take out the cubes you want to serve and put them in the microwave for a few seconds. Voila, dinner is served! Try variations such as mixing carrot with pears or peas and carrots etc.. Soon you can try sweet potato, spinach, apple, summer squash,blueberries. There are endless possibilities. I also liked to add some puree to her rice cereal for more flavor.
It is such a wonderful feeling to prepare your baby's first meals and join in her excitement for this new experience.
For more information and lots of creative suggestions for preparing baby and toddler meals, check out "First Meals" by Annabel Karmel.