Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fresh Food For Baby

By: Karen Tierney
Preparing and cooking a baby's meals from fresh ingredients are a little less convenient than scooping the food out of the jar, but not as much as you would think. You will see what I mean when you try some of the recipes. The quantities are so small and the cooking is so simple that the extra time and trouble are hardly noticed in the general kitchen work involved in preparing family meals. And when the baby is a few months old, you can make his meals by blending small portions of the fare prepared for the rest of the family. Check with your doctor or clinic about the age at which your baby is ready for home prepared foods, and follow their advice.

You may already have in your kitchen most of the equipment needed to make food for infants. The exceptions might be a small food grinder, which can be purchased for very little, and a blender. To turn family meals into food for an older baby, all you need is an electric blender. If you know the do's and don'ts of canning and preserving, you can puree cooked fruits or vegetables in an ordinary blender and can them for use over a period of four to six weeks. You can make a fruit juice for your baby like, banana juice, apple juice or papaya juice but don't tomato juice because too acid.

Commercial baby-food jars are the best containers to use for this purpose, because they are wide mounted and small. For large amounts, use canning equipment, if you have it on hand. For small amounts, use a baby's sterilizer. All the procedure you have learned for regular canning must be followed closely when you are preparing baby foods.

What to feed the baby?
The first suitable solids for small babies are generally fruits and cereals, followed a little later by egg yolks, vegetables, potatoes, and finally poultry and meat. Since fish can cause a high percentage of allergic reactions if started too early, many paediatricians suggest not starting fish until after the baby is a year old.

The following lists give the age at which each of the popular fruits, fresh can be introduced to most babies' diets; but your doctor or clinic should be consulted before any of them are offered to your infant. Babies under four months; apples, bananas (very ripe, mashed), peaches and Berries are usually not offered to small babies, because it is difficult for them to digest the pips.

Although home canned baby foods will last as long as any other properly canned food, most mothers prefer to can baby foods in small batches of six or eight jars. canning in large batches for monotony in the baby's diet.

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