Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homemade Baby Food -Fruit!

Wholesome Homemade Baby Food-Fruit!! 

I wanted to share my experience of making my own baby food with you! It is so easy and rewarding (economical & eco-friendly too!) to make your baby, fresh homemade food!
If you haven't already, Please Read my "Baby Food Introduction" FIRST before reading this and the veggies post! Thank you!
You can also Read my post on Baby Food-Veggies Here!

Please be advised!:

Salt and Sugar are Never needed when making baby food. Omit these items, preferably at ALL times, in your baby's meals. Other spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, pepper etc. may be introduced as early as 7 months with your pediatricians consult.
**Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Certain foods such as Strawberries should not be given to babies under the age of 1 year old due to possible allergy risks. As stated above, please consult with your Pediatrician first. *I DID** and now that "DD" is over a year old, I was able to introduce all foods to her and as far as I know, she has no known food allergies.

Preparing Fruit! 

*A couple of Basics for everything:
-Food should be placed in Freezer as soon as possible after preparing.
-When ready to place tray in Freezer, make sure to place on a flat surface to Freeze evenly.
-Keep in Freezer for at least 6 hours to ensure a good freeze. Can be kept in Freezer overnight if need be.
-Do Not put anything on top of Tray while the process of Freezing
-Preparing fruit can sometimes be messy, so be forewarned *Don't wear your nice clothes when making*!
Blueberries can stain horribly and sometimes don't come out!
*No need to Add Water when preparing fruit! They have plenty of natural water in them that will make for perfect blending. You do however need to add water when preparing Veggies.  

**Certain fruits with small seeds such as Berries, can be strained after being pureed by pushing them through a metal mesh strainer. It will push through the juices and leave the seeds behind. This is optional. Babies can't really digest the seeds, but its definitely not going to hurt them to eat it either. I've never strained mine and its worked out just fine.  

**When Blending in Blender!! Use the "LOW" Speed Setting there is a "Low and High" setting. If you leave it on High when you first start to blend, you will have much difficulty because it will blend too fast and spray away the food instead of slowly grinding it up. Start on Low and then you can change to High if you choose once its more liquefied** Settings I like to use are "Low" Speed and settings on "Grind or Blend". **

I usually buy 2 large bunches of Bananas. They are enough to make at least 2 trays. 
First: I wait for the Bananas to get nice a ripe which takes at least a week. 
**Fact**Did you know if you leave Bananas together on the vine, they will ripen faster than if you separate them!?

*Second: I Peel all the bananas and place them in a Large Mixing Bowl. I then use an old fashioned Potato Masher and mash them up really well. I like that they end up with small chunks after I'm done. The texture is perfect for "DD".

*Then I grab a Spoon and fill up as many Ice Cube sections as I can!

When you get to the bottom of your bowl and think you are done, *CHECK* first:
IS there still some food left on the bottom of the bowl? It doesn't look like much, but you will be surprised how much is actually there! As you can see in my photo below, there doesn't appear to be much banana left, but after taking a Spatula and scraping out the remainder, I was able to get 1 more cube full!! That's one more serving of food! So make sure to scrape the bowl! Waste NONE! :-)

*Once you are done, place Seran Wrap or any kind of plastic wrap over the tray and try to seal it as best you can without smearing around the food. Only to prevent as much frost/freezer burn as you can. 
*Then place the tray in the Freezer on a Flat surface to freeze evenly. Do Not place anything on top of tray!
Leave in Freezer for at least 6 hours to ensure a good freeze. Can be left in overnight as well if need be. 

Once it has set for at least 6 hours in the freezer, take the tray(s) out and let them sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes to slightly thaw out (Enough for food to easily pop out of tray). I always remove the Seran wrap and place it on the counter, frost side up, next to the tray. When it is thawed enough, turn tray food side down, over the Seran Wrap and twist tray just like you would with Ice. The Cubes will pop out nicely onto the seran wrap! Now you have some Beautiful Baby Food cubes!!

Now, place your cubes in a Ziploc Freezer bag! Your choice of size. I like to use the Sandwich size bags because they fit in my freezer better that way. I have half the bottom shelf in the Freezer dedicated to these. And Luckily I have an extra Freezer where I can store lots of Extra batches of food so I don't run out that quickly!

You can Label  your bags however you like! Some people like to add the Dates to theirs, but I don't bother with mine. We go though the food quickly enough that I don't need to. If you were going to be very determined with it, you could make several months worth of batches and freeze in an extra freezer. You would definitely want to date them then. Your Homemade Baby Food will stay freshly frozen in the freezer for 3-6 months, but I recommend you use it much earlier than that, like within 3 months tops! I have it worked out to where all of mine will be used up within 1 month which works out perfect for us. Any longer than that, the cubes start to develop more and more ice crystals and a lot of the nutrients may leach/evaporate upon thawing because of the water crystals.

Here is an Example of what it looks like after 3 months!
"DD" isn't too fond of Avacado quite yet. She certaintly isn't a picky eater, but Avacado has a fairly strong, unique taste and smell to it that she doesn't like yet. So unfortunately, my batch of it is ruined after not using it. But its ok. I'm thankful its the only thing she doesn't approve of yet. 

Oh, and I almost forgot: You can easily Re-Use your Ziploc Bags! I have a couple extra bags for each item because I sometimes like to get ahead on making the baby food and will make extra to store in the freezer before I get too low on supply. I found that the Ziploc Freezer Storage bags are pretty sturdy and hold up very well. I have been able to re-use the same bags over and over again. When you finish a bag, just rinse it out with a little bit of dish soap and warm water. Make sure to rinse out really well so there is no soap or anything else remaining and leave out to dry! I hang my bags on my dish strainer. Make sure the bag is propped open to air out. i keep all my bags nice and organized together in a Big Ziploc bag! 

Certain foods such as Strawberries should not be given to babies under the age of 1 year old due to possible allergy risks. As stated above, please consult with your Pediatrician first. *I DID** and now that "DD" is over a year old, I was able to introduce all foods to her and as far as I know, she has no known food allergies. 
*I picked up these pretty Strawberries from the Farmers Market! They looked MUCH prettier last week, but it took me a while to get around to preparing them! I'll snap another photo next time when Fresher.

Preparing Fresh Fruit is easy! With Strawberries, remove the top part greenery. I just slice it off with a knife and use a cutting board (Cutting Board that is dedicated to ONLY fruits and Veggies, please be sure to use a separate cutting board for your meats to prevent cross contamination and other harmful bacteria), then transfer to a Strainer in sink and Rinse really well! After the intitail rinse, I like to give it a good extra rinse using the sprayer and toss around the berries as I go to make sure they are all rinsed really well.

Then transfer to Blender! Its easiest and less messy/wet to take the top of Blender and place next to sink, while putting strawberries in it handfuls at a time. Then move back to Blender machine and Blend! I don't bother chopping up the berries, they do just fine as whole, but it just depends on how strong your blender is. I start mine with the speed setting on "Low" (there is a Low and High option) and then select "Grind or Blend") let it blend until your desired consistency!  

When finished, pour into your Cubes Trays! Cover with Plastic Wrap and Freeze for at least 6 hours. 

 Once frozen, remove Plastic wrap, place ice side up on counter, and let Strawberries thaw for 10-15 minutes until thawed just enough to pop out of trays.
 When ready, turn tray over plastic and Twist like you would with ice. Cubes will pop out and look Beautiful!

Then immediately transfer to Ziploc Freezer bag and place in freezer! 

Peaches are a great starter food! They are sweet and easy to eat, especially when blended up! Because they can be a choking hazard, like most other fruits, I like to Blend it up like my other fruits. My daughter isn't quite ready yet to eat them on their own. I'm so paranoid about her choking! 

Since Peaches aren't quite in season yet, I have been buying Frozen. Surprisingly, the Dole brand has been on sale a lot at my local grocery store and has been cheaper than the store brand! I was pretty excited about this! I really like the brand "Dole" and even though the store brand frozen food is just as good, I feel like Dole is a small step up. Anyway, I grabbed a couple bags of the fruit, enough to make 2 trays of fruit after blended. 

I get excited when I can just buy the frozen sometimes because it makes it Extremely easy to make! The frozen fruit is already peeled, sliced and ready to go! Just let it sit out for a while to thaw and then toss in your blender! Once blended to a consistency you like, fill up your trays!

Once your trays are full, Cover with Plastic wrap and place in Freezer for at least 6 hours! Don't forget to set trays on a Flat surface for even freezing.
Once Frozen, let trays sit out for 10-15 minutes to thaw just enough to remove. Then turn trays, food facing down, over plastic wrap and twist trays as you would with ice. Cubes will pop out nicely and look beautiful!

Put your cubes in your Ziploc Bags, and stick'em back in the freezer! Now you have fresh baby food fruit!

Once again, I had to buy Frozen Berries, which isn't a big deal, even though I would prefer fresh, but frozen is the next best thing. So, you let your berries thaw out, put them through the blender and fill up your trays! 

 **I Only fill up the trays Half-Way because Blueberries are are very strong in taste and if you don't strain them (I don't) they are extremely "Seedy" and most babies, or at least my daughter, doesn't like the taste/texture of it when its that overwhelming. So filling up the trays half way is the perfect amount to put in one meal. I like to mix the blueberries in with a couple other cubes of fruit and will also mix in my usual Oatmeal or Rice cereal! 

1 comment:

  1. New follower of your blog thru GFC, Facebook, RSS Feed and G+. Would love a follow back when you get the chance. Hope you have a great weekend!



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