Permit me to say that homemade baby food are the best for babies. I am not against the bottled ones but there is definitely something different when it is made by you…talk of being healthy, fresh and more yummy. Having once tasted the bottled one once, no one told me to rekindle my old habit of making all my baby’s puree by myself.
Bottles are for me more of an emergency grab-quick solution. So if you are like me, then settle down, puree and store your baby’s food and vegetable. It may seem tasking but once you start, they are all very easy to prepare, quite rewarding and your baby will love the fresh taste.
The good thing is that most of these foods and veggies are all freezable once puréed and all you need to do is investing in small containers for storing them. Ok, i know some of us may have to contend with the magnanimity of NEPA or PHCN (hope it is still their name). Don’t bank on it so much, just prepare as when needed to avoid it get bad and harming your baby.
The process of puréeing the foods & vegetables are very straightforward and all you need is a good hand blender and some small storage containers. I love the small ones because I just pick up one and add to any food I’ve made. You can equally use ice cube trays and cover with a plastic wrap.
Carrots – This is one vegetable that is really good, can be puréed and added to baby’s food like brown rice cereal or other pureed food and yogurt. Wash them well, peel the back off and cut into chunks. Boil a little water in a pot and steam the carrots for about 5-8 minutes. Discard the water in a bowl and purée carrots, adding some of the discarded water to it to get your desired consistency.
Green Beans and Peas – You have to patiently blend these two well and with more liquid too if you want to get a very smooth purée. Wash them, cut of the ends of the beans and cut into small pieces . Steam in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and purée, adding some water that you used to boil it to get your desired smoothness.
Green Leafy Vegetables – Full of nutrients that are good for babies but preferably pureed and used up immediately. I prefer mixing spinach, ugu and greens with other vegetables in order to give it bulk. Steam separately after washing as they get done and lose nutrients fast on cooking. You don’t need to add water to steam them as they release their own liquid, otherwise you end up with a puddle.
Avocado – This is technically a fruit but it is quite fleshy and filled with more nutrients than other fruits. It can be added to baby’s food, porridge or cereal. Avocado does not require any cooking or blending…just scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork.
Yam & Potatoes (Irish or Sweet) – These are root tubers that can be mashed or pureed as baby’s first solid food. You can either boil till done or otherwise cut them and bake in the oven until tender. Mash and mix with other veggies for a filling meal.
Ripe Plantain – The sweetness of this food makes it one that you can puree just alone and serve your baby. Wash and cut without removing the back, boil in water till soft and then puree to desired consistency.
There are other foods that can be pureed for babies like parsnip, swede, butternut squash etc for mostly mothers in the diaspora. Check out your grocery stores or the market.
Finally, I like adding a bit of flavour to my vegetables especially after the first taste for baby, so a little onion, garlic, cinnamon, dawadawa/okpei, herbs (scent leaf) and tomato stew are not a bad idea.