Here are a few hints for making your own baby food.......
• Do use ice cube trays to freeze puréed foods. Once frozen, pop out the cubes, store in a sealed plastic bag, and use within two months. This system is great, you can prepare a few different purees, and when it's meal time, one cube of each "flavour"is all you need!!
• Do throw away any unfinished meals. Bacteria forms very quickly.
• Do introduce new foods at the rate of one every few days, so you can pinpoint any allergies.
• Do make sure your child has accepted most vegetables and fruits before trying any meats.
• Do steam or microwave vegetables and fruits to retain as much vitamins and minerals as possible, instead of boiling.
• Do use as thinners: water left from steaming, breast milk, formula, and broth.
• Do use as thickeners: wheat germ, whole-grain cereal, mashed white or kumara.
• Don't feed nuts, raisins, or popcorn, to children under the age of 2.
• Don't give honey to children under the age of one year due to potential contraction of infant botulism.
• Don't add salt, sugar, or strong spices to homemade baby foods. If you are using part of the family meal for the infant, remove the infant's portion before seasoning food for the family.
• Don't put diluted foods into a bottle with a larger hole in the nipple for night feedings. It's dangerous, bad for the teeth, and doesn't build good eating habits.
• Don't feed egg whites to babies under one year of age, due to potential allergic reaction.
• Don't force feed your child. To begin solids foods, start with one or two spoonfuls and let your baby guide you.
• Don't limit your child's fat intake during the first two years. Fats are necessary to development.
A few simple recipes...
Baked Apples (4-6 months)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C., then wash and core apples. Wrap each apple in a square of aluminium foil, and seal tightly. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, testing with a fork for desired softness. Remove foil, skin, and core. Mash apples. Count on two to three apples to produce 1 cup of mashed apple. You can use the same method for pears, which will reach the desired softness within 15 to 30 minutes.
Puréed Meats (from 6-7 months)
Cut meat into 3cm cubes. Trim off all fat. Add 1 cup of stock (either meat or vegetable) to 1 cup of meat. Simmer until meat is tender (crock pots are great for this). Drain stock, reserving the liquid. When you purée, use l/2 cup of cooking liquid for each cup of meat. Freeze extra portions immediately.
Scrub kumaras and bake at 190 degrees C. for 40 to 50 minutes, testing with a fork for desired softness. Allow to cool. Peel, then mash with a fork, adding vegetable cooking juices, breast milk/formula, or a bit of apple juice.
Vegetable Purées (4-6 months)
Cut vegetables (potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, kumara etc) into small pieces and steam them in a vegetable steamer over 3-5 cms of water in a tightly-covered pot. Use this water as a thinner when puréeing vegetables. The approximate ratio of vegetables to liquid is 2 cups of fresh vegetables to between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of liquid. Place steamed vegetables and a little of the steaming water in a food processor and purée to a soft consistency. Thin mixture with breast milk/formula to desired consistency. Freeze unused portions immediately.