Saturday, December 5, 2015

GENERAL INFO

*Cooking fruits is typically recommended for babies under 8 months old to help breakdown sugars and fibers in fruit. Some people also recommend cooking fruit for the first two months baby has solids while his digestive tract adjusts to solids.

*Often the tastiest way to cook fruit is to bake it. Here's how to do it.

*Gina Ford says you can stop peeling fruit after 7 months if you are able to puree them smoothly. Most pediatricians say to peel until 8 months old. Some babies with sensitive tummies will need you to peel until 12 months old. Here is a good article from www.wholesomebabyfood.com about it.

I have recently started getting a few days worth of meals out of the freezer at a time and putting them in bowls (I use the baby gerber ones with lids) with the approximate portions. Then I put all but the next days meals in my inside freezer. This way I don't have to keep going outside to my big freezer to get baby food. Even if I only had an inside freezer, things would still be quicker this way. I only do a few days at a time because the extra oxygen in the bowls isn't good for the food.

The general rule with freezing and thawing is that you use the food within a couple days once thawed. Also, once you thaw something you shouldn't refreeze it UNLESS you cook it first.

*Buying organic is a good idea when possible. The following are especially good to buy organic because they often have a lot of pesticides on them which absorb into their skin: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries. If you cannot buy these organic you might want to at least peel them (when possible) before feeding them to baby.

*I will put fruits/veggies and other recipes on this blog as I make them. Let me know if you have any other useful information to add.

*Thickening purees. Often purees will be thinner once frozen then thawed. For this reason, I usually make them thicker when freezing and will thin it out when thawed if needed. IF something is too thin when thawed you can, age appropriately, mix it with baby cereal (my most common method bc it is so easy to do), yogurt, banana, cottage cheese, cooked egg yolks, wheat germ (not too much or it will taste gross), tofu, cooked and pureed lentils or legumes.

*Constipation: Foods that can make it worse include bananas, applesauce, cereals, breads, pasta, cheese and white potatoes. Food that can help relieve constipation include apricots, prunes, peaches, plums, pears, peas, spinach and fruit juices.

*The riper the fruit the better. It is more sweet this way and easier for baby to digest.

*If you are giving baby fruit/veggie slices or dices, try coating them with crushed and powdered cheerios or wheat germ to make it easier for baby to grip.


*Freezing method- After I puree or mash the food (you can use a blender or a fork--no need to buy anything special) I put it in an ice cube tray (or something similar) and freeze for several hours. Cool it first in the frige if it is warm. Then I pop out the cubes and store in a labeled ziplock bag with the food name and date (see example post I did a while back here). Bed, Bath and Beyond has cheep oxo good grips covered ice cube trays. You can also uses silicone (aka more expensive:) ice cube, mini brownie or mini muffin trays. Buying a tray to freeze food in that is somewhat high quality is worth it. I didn't with Joshua and it took me forever to take frozen food out of the trays. When you take the trays out of the freezer you can either let them set for a few minutes or put the bottom of them in warm water for several moments before popping the cubes out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Acorn Squash

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 4-6 months cooked

PREPARATION:
*Clean well.
*Cook - best to bake/roast (most nutrients retained and most flavor)
  • Bake/Roast. Cute squash in half lengthwise (you'll need a heavy duty, sharp knife). Use a spoon to scrape out seeds. Lay squash face down in a couple inches of water or face up. Bake at 400 degress for 30-60 minutes until skin is puckered, darker tan and flesh is tender. Scoop flesh out of the shell.
  • Steam. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Peel. Cube. Deseed. Steam until tender.
  • Boil. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Peel, cube and deseed. Place in pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until tender.
  • Microwave.
*Puree, using some of the cooking mixture to thin if necessary.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
*Winter squash can be stored 2-4 weeks in a cool, dry, dark, and well ventilated place.
*Buy squash that is bright and hard and thick shelled. Avoid squash with tender rinds, decayed spots, mold and cuts (it is especially important to avoid cuts if you are going to store it for an extended period of time). If squash is cut, make sure it isn't stringy.
*Store cut, uncooked squash in frige, covered, for 5 days.
*If you are having a hard time cutting into the squash, try poking it several times with a fork then microwaving it for around 30 seconds to soften it.

FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 2 months

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 4-8 months cooked

PREPARATION:
*Cut off ends prior to cooking. Clean well.
*Cook-best to boil or steam

  • Saute with oil and spices when age appropriate. 
  • Boil. Boil a scant amount of water (less than 1 inch). Add beans and lower heat. Boil for a couple minutes uncovered then continue cooking the remainder of the time covered.
  • Steam.
  • Microwave. Add water and cover. Cook until soft. Not recommend method.

*Puree.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
*Buy firm, stiff, bright colored beans without any blemishes, brown spots(a sign of bruising, not decay)or squishy parts.
*Fresh beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store them in a plastic bag in the crisper bin.
*Wash, trim and cut only just prior to cooking. You really only need to cut off the stem end.

FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 2 months

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Green Beans

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 4-8 months cooked

PREPARATION:
*Cut off ends prior to cooking. Clean well.
*Cook-best to boil or steam

  • Saute with oil and spices when age appropriate. 
  • Boil. Boil a scant amount of water (less than 1 inch). Add beans and lower heat. Boil for a few minutes uncovered then continue cooking the remainder of the time covered, aproximately 10-15 minutes.
  • Steam.
  • Microwave. Add water and cover. Cook until soft, aproximately 8 minutes. Not recommend method.

*Puree. Skins can be very difficult to puree finely.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
*Buy firm, stiff, bright colored beans without any blemishes, brown spots(a sign of bruising, not decay)or squishy parts.
*Fresh green beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store them in a plastic bag in the crisper bin.
*Wash, trim and cut only just prior to cooking. You only need to trim the stem end.

FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 2 months

Peas

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 6-8 months

PREPARATION:
*Cook-best to boil or steam

  • Boil. Bring a scant amount of water(or stock) to a boil (less than 1 inch). Add peas, lower heat and cover. Boil until tender.
  • Steam.
  • Microwave. Add water and cover. Cook until tender. Not recommend method.

*Puree. Skins can be very difficult to puree finely. A blender may work best. Putting hot cooked peas into a bowl of ice cold water can help make a smoother puree.
*Add extra liquid as needed to thin puree.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
*Shelled sweet peas have a very short half life. It is generally not a good idea to buy them already shelled unless they are frozen.
*Petite peas taste the best, in my opinion.

FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 2 months

Friday, January 21, 2011

Plums and Prunes (aka dried plums)

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 4 months, cooked; 8 months, raw

PREPARATION:
*Clean well.
*Cook
  • Steam. Peel, pit and cut into chunks. Steam in a scant amount of water until tender.
  • Blanch. Carve an X in one side of the fruit. Place X side down in a pan with an inch of water. Bring water to a boil and steam until tender. Peel skin from fruit and remove pits.
  • Boil. Boil water. Place whole plumbs in water and boil for 5-10 minutes until tender. Place in cold water and skins should slip off. Cut in half and pit.
  • Bake. Half and pit. Place open face down in 1 inch of water at 400 degress until tender and skin puckers.
*PRUNES. Soak dried prunes in warm water until they plump up or steam gently and are plump and tender.

*Puree, using some of the cooking mixture to thin if necessary.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
*Choose plums without bruising, soft spots or cuts

*When possible, try to purchase natural prunes--those that have not been dried with any type of sulphurs

FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 3 months. Can also freeze whole, uncooked plums and whole prunes in plastic bags for 3 months, dipping in cold water for 15 seconds before defrosting to rub off peel.

Cauliflower

BABY MUST BE AT LEAST: 8-10 months, cooked. Watch for signs of gassiness.

PREPARATION:*Clean well. Peel away green leaves.
*Cook - best to steam
  • Steam. Chop into small pieces, using just the florets for a better flavor. Steam in a scant amount of water until tender being sure not to overcook to prevent a bitter taste and mushiness.
  • Bake.
  • Roast.
  • Boil. Boil for aproximately 12 minutes.
  • Microwave.
*Puree, using some of the cooking mixture to thin if necessary.

ADDITIONAL INFO:* Curd, or white part, should be tightly crowded, creamy white, smooth or bristly (rather than rice-looking and very granular) and not easy to crumble when scratched. Avoid cauliflower with brown and black spots. If there are a few spots, you can cut them off and eat the rest.
*Try to buy cauliflower wrapped in the most green leafs possible as this protects it from mold and bruising. Leaves should be fresh and crisp and not come off easily.

*Store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, stem side down.
*Old cauliflower develops a stronger taste and odor so use soon after buying.



FROZEN STORAGE LIFE: 2 months