Apr 152014
 

beet root baby foodBeet Baby Food

Purple beets have such a lovely spring color.  I thought it would be nice to do an informative post on beet baby food – How to select the beets, how to prepare them, how to store them and why they are so gosh darn good for your baby.

How old to feed baby beets and why are beets so good for baby

The prevailing wisdom tell us baby must be 8- 10 months months old to eat cooked beats.  I say keep it safe and use the nine month mark as your guide.  Raw and grated beets, a bit more rare to feed baby, is for the 10-11 month old. Although beets are not one of EWG’s dirty dozen, there is a nitrate issue with beets.  By 9 month’s old however, that nitrate  risk is no longer an issue.  Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and high fiber.  With such a great nutrition report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby.

The ins and outs of feeding your baby beets

Grated beets can be fed to your baby raw. Cooked beets are tasty and very colorful. They can be used as a decorative touch or even a food coloring in baby’s food. Beets do stain, so use a good bib when feeding your baby beets. Beet stains are impossible to get out of cloth, plastic surfaces and wood. Stool alert: Be aware that several hours after your baby eats beets, her stool will be quite red in color.

Choosing and Storing Beets 

Equivalents: 6 medium beets = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced.

In season: Available year round; peak June through October.

Choosing: Beets are sold with or without their green tops. The tops, called “beet greens,” should be fresh-looking, thin-ribbed, and deep green, with no brown or red edges, and with no trace of slime. If they are a little wilted, the flavor of the red root should not be affected because the greens rapidly deteriorate while the root remains good. Beet greens are edible.

Beets without their greens should have at least 1⁄2 inch of stem left on top and their bottom roots should be at least two inches long. The bulbous root should have a lush, deep red color and smooth, firm skin with no cuts or soft spots. Roots should have no scaly areas or circles on the top and they should be a nice round shape, not elongated.

Buy small to medium-sized beets, as large beets tend to be tough with inedible, woody cores.

Storing: As with other root vegetables, immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Preparing and cooking beets for baby food preparation

Preparation for cooking: Scrub well under cold-running water.

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months.  Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

For even more information, take a peek at Super Baby Food, 3rd edition. It includes a complete alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with same information included as shown above!

 

Oct 042011
 

When parents consider making their own baby food the first concern is invariably:  Is it safe to make my own baby food? Or said another way…Is commercial baby food better for my baby?  Let Super Baby Food dispel the myths.

Myth #1: Commercial baby food is superior to homemade baby food.

The food that you make at home from fresh, whole vegetables and fruits is nutritionally superior to any jarred commercial variety on your grocer’s shelf.  The cereals you can quickly and easily make at home from brown rice (and other whole grains) cannot be compared to the processed, refined white rice commercial baby cereals.

Myth #2: It takes too much time to make homemade baby food.

Making homemade baby food is easier than you think.   Check out WholeParenting.com’s pictures showing how simple it can be to make your own nutritionally superior baby food.

Myth #3: Homemade baby food may cause my baby to get sick or get food poisoning.

Some parents think that there is something magical that goes into the preparation of commercial baby food that can not be done at home, which somehow makes it the only food suitable and safe for their baby. Not so, baby food can be made easily, nutritionally, and safely at home.

Myth #4: The convenience of commerical baby food is worth the price.

Actually, making your own baby food is the cheaper alternative.  Check out this handy dandy chart prepared by WholesomeBabyFood.com to see the price per baby food manufacturer as compared to homemade baby food from your ice cube tray.  Homemade baby food is much cheaper!

Can you think of any other myths surrounding commercial baby food vs baby food made at home?  Share them with us so we can dispel more myths!

May 122011
 

Choosing, Picking, and Preparing Carrots to Feed your Baby

Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that is not toxic, even in large doses.  Your baby should get a vitamin A veggie every day!  Here are some details for feeding you baby carrots:

Age: Baby must be at least 7 months old for cooked carrots, 10 months for finely grated raw carrots.

Choosing: Carrots should be firm, and not pale.  The smaller the carrot, the sweeter the carrot.

Storing: Carrots need cold temperature and high humidity.  Store in the refrigerator in plastic bag with holes.  When properly stored, carrots retain their nutrients for up to two weeks.

Preparation for cooking: Nutrients are most concentrated in the peels of carrots and just below.  You don’t have to peel or scrape young or small carrots if you give them a good scrubbing with a vegetable brush.  Older, bigger carrots are probably better peeled.

Steaming: Steam whole carrots 15 minutes, carrot slices about 10 minutes.

Baking: Large carrots can be baked in the oven.  Scrub them and leave whole and unpeeled. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Freezing: Freeze pureed carrots using the food cube method for up to 2 months.

For tips on preparing and feeding more vegetables, check out Super Baby Food book or check right back here at the Super Baby Food Blog.

Mar 152011
 

Pureed, cooked vegetables are a large part of the Super Baby Food Diet.  To save time and energy, cook and puree large batches of veggies all at once and freeze them in ice cube trays using the Food Cube Method.

The Food Cube Method involves two steps:

1) Placing the food in ice cube trays and letting it freeze until solid, and

2) Transferring the frozen food cubes into plastic freezer bags.

Remember, the pureed food in the ice cube trays should be frozen as quickly as possible.

After the the food cubes are frozen solid (8-12 hours), transfer them to freezer bags (you must use Freezer bags, not storage bags) removing as much of the air in the bag as possible. Label and date each bag with a freeze date and a expire date.  It’s safe to say that frozen vegetables will keep up to two months.  A timesaver tip is to mix together several days worth of orange and green vegetable cubes and avocado cubes in the same freezer bag.  This trick makes it easier to find, pull out, and open ONE bag instead of three!

For more details on the Food Cube Freezing Method check out  Super Baby Food or check back to the blog for more informative blog posts!