Homemade baby food is an excellent alternative to salt, sugar and chemical preservative packed commercial foods. Making fresh baby food full of healthy ingredients has to be good for your baby, right? Wrong! Bacteria and unwanted ingredients can sneak into your baby's meals without you even knowing. In this article, we'll share some great tips for preparing, serving and storing your baby's food to prevent any contamination.
There are lots of easy baby food recipes out there using a variety of ingredients, but there are some rules that you should adhere to no matter what kind of home made baby food you make. First of all, when freezing baby food, use an airtight container, preferably a new or very well cleaned one, or use ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out the cubes, store in a sealed plastic bag, and use within two months. Another rule you should stick to is discarding unfinished meals. Saliva from the baby's mouth provides a breeding ground for bacteria, so it's best not to serve leftovers. The "one new food a week" rule is helpful because it allows you to pinpoint potential allergies. Most parents opt to introduce solid foods in the form of fruits and vegetables before feeding their baby meat.
Preparing homemade baby food is preferable to commercial foods, but there are some dangers that you should look out for. First of all, never use honey as a sweetener. Honey can cause deadly infant botulism. In fact, it's best to resist the urge to add salt, sugar and other spices too. These can be hidden in canned or processed fruits, vegetables and meats, so fresh or frozen foods are a better alternative. One thing that parents often forget to check is the temperature of foods. Microwaves can create hot spots in the middle of a dish, so it's best to use the defrost setting and stir the food well before serving.
Now that you know what ingredients should and shouldn't go into baby food, it's time to get cooking. Cleanliness should be your top priority. You'd be amazed by how easy it is for bacteria to find their way into your foods. Cracks, joints and scratches in dishes, utensils, cutting boards and pots and pans are wonderful places for bacteria to hide. Make sure that everything that comes in contact with your baby's food has been thoroughly cleaned with soap and very hot water. Cooking with meats, especially poultry and eggs, requires extra care. Don't use the same knife to cut meat and produce unless it's been washed and make sure that the cutting board is also cleaned. Be sure to refrigerate or freeze unused foods immediately and don't forget to wash your hands!
After scrupulously preparing homemade baby food, you'll want to make sure that it's stored properly. There are important guidelines that need to be followed in terms of refrigerating and freezing food and the amount of time that food can be stored. Storing infant food in the refrigerator is probably the least convenient and safe way to store baby food. If you do refrigerate extra food use it with 48 hours. The best way to use the freezer to store baby food is to freeze purees in ice cube trays and then put the cubes into freezer safe containers or bags when frozen. Label the containers clearly with their contents and expiry dates. Now that you know how to properly prepare and store your favorite baby food recipes, have a great time exploring new foods and flavors with your baby.
Copyright (c) 2013 KD Tisdale
Why choose a baby food maker?
Babies are very sensitive and require the best care and food for growth and health. Because babies require so much attention and care, sometimes mothers and caregivers need all the help they can get. Food making is one of the most the most tedious processes most people encounter. Unlike adult food, baby food needs more attention and procedure to produce what is needed. This doesn't have to be a problem anymore; baby food makers make work much easier and handy. The appliance allows you the convenience of making the food from scratch to the end without too much labor. You can re-direct all the free time to the baby and other chores.
How do they work?
With baby food makers, you only need to put the food in the cooking compartment which will be steam cooked to a required consistency. Steaming is the recommended method of cooking baby food since the food is maintained at a natural state with no additives required. All the nutrients are retained and the food is well cooked. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables are favored for their vast nutrients. After this, the food will be either blended or pureed to a baby friendly state. The food is usually hot at this time so allow some time for cooling.
It is as simple as that!
Baby Food Maker with a Bottle Warmer
A baby food maker with bottle warmer gives you the freedom and versatility to warm a bottle of milk or drinking water when need arises. This includes a bottle of breast milk and even juice. It allows your baby the comfort of drinking fluids at the right temperature Not only does the food maker have the versatility of warming liquids, it also warms previously cooked food. A parent can cook a big batch at one time and only heat the required amount when necessary. This saves a lot of time and energy since it only requires little attention in monitoring. What makes the baby food warmer a favorite among many is the fact that it can perform all these steps and still produce quality results.
All-in-one Baby Food Maker
An all-in-one baby food maker also allows you to defrost baby food with ease straight from the refrigerator. After preparing the food in batches, you can refrigerate them in separate containers for future use. When the need arises, you simply need to put the food in the baby food maker in its frozen state. The food maker will then defrost and warm the baby food.
Baby food makers are easy to use and highly recommended. They allow parents to prepare homemade baby food that is both nutritious and economical than commercially prepared food. If you are looking to provide your baby the very best in health and nutrition and save money, then a baby food maker is the way to go!
Making homemade baby food is really a very simple process and requires very little in terms of kitchen equipment. Additionally, the benefits of preparing food for your baby at home using organic produce are clear. It has been shown that children fed organic foods have one sixth the level of pesticide by-products versus children who eat conventional foods. Add to this the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what your baby is eating and the extra effort in preparing homemade baby food seems minimal indeed.
There really are only four items that are needed to prepare and store homemade baby food, namely a good food mill, a steamer, air-tight storage containers, and a microwave oven.
Baby Food Mill
A food mill is a food preparation utensil for mashing soft foods, and a baby food mill is really the only absolutely essential piece of equipment required for making homemade baby food. This can be either a manual device or an electric device.
The hand-operated mills typically have a hand-operated crank and a strainer for separating seeds and skins from the puree for a smooth end product. In reality the manual mills don't make food really smooth, although they can do a great job of quickly mashing foods provided they are cooked well to begin with. Additionally, the separation of skins from the puree isn't perfect and it is better to remove the skins first. Otherwise, you will likely have to strain the puree afterwards.
A far better choice is to invest in an electric food mill. These devices consist of a bowl to hold the food, an electric motor, and a blade which purees the food. There is no strainer and so again you will want to remove any skin from the produce beforehand or you will have to strain the puree afterwards. Preparing homemade baby food with an electric food mill is very simple and these devices are highly recommended.
A food steamer is a kitchen appliance used to prepare foods in a sealed vessel that limits the escape of air below a preset pressure. With steaming, fewer nutrients are lost relative to other cooking techniques, where most of the nutrients are discarded after cooking. The steamer is used to soften up vegetables and other foods so that they can be pureed in the food mill.
Air-Tight Storage Containers
When preparing homemade baby food, it may be desirable to make enough food at once for several meals. In this case, it is necessary to store the food in air-tight containers to prevent spoilage. Tupperware or similar containers in appropriate sizes for single baby meals are available and are nice because your baby can be fed directly out of the container. You never want to feed out of a container and then save unused food from that same container because of the contamination risk.
A microwave oven cooks or heats food by using microwave radiation to heat polarized molecules within the food. Nowadays they are found in virtually every kitchen. They are useful for heating single portions of food that have been prepared previously and stored in the fridge. It is extremely important to take great care to stir the food after heating and then test the temperature to insure that there is no risk of burns since a microwave oven can heat food very quickly to a very high temperature. It may require no more than 15 seconds to heat a single portion of baby food. Be careful!