Once you’ve baked, roasted, boiled, or steamed food for your baby, you’ll need to make it a little more “baby-friendly” by pureeing (or mashing) it. Remember, your baby’s age will determine the consistency of the food he eats: younger babies need smooth, runny purees, while older babies can handle lumpy, mashed mixtures.
Use the tips and techniques below to puree or mash your homemade baby food:
4-6 Months (“Stage 1” food):
Babies this age need smooth, runny purees.
Tools to use: A blender (free-standing or immersion) or food processor work well for this stage. Set your device to “puree” or “liquefy” to get the smoothest purees possible.
7-9 Months (“Stage 2” food):
At this age, babies are ready for lumpier, thicker purees.
Tools to use: Blenders and food processors work well; you can also begin using a food mill or ricer, as well a mashing device (anything from a potato masher to a fork!) If you’re using a blender or food processor, set your device to “mix” or “blend” and pulse food.
10-12 Months (“Stage 3” food):
Babies this age are ready for chunky, lumpy textures as well as small bits of table food.
Tools to use: The tools listed above will work for this stage as well. Set your device to “chop” or “mix” and pulse food a few times to keep it chunky. You may also want to consider hand-slicing food into small pieces; this will provide your baby with an opportunity to feed herself (an important skill at this age).
Pureeing and Mashing Tips
When using a blender or food processor to puree food, keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t overload! Never fill your blender of food processor more than halfway full; adding too much food makes pureeing difficult.
- Don’t “overthin”! To puree foods, you’ll likely need to add at least a little liquid. Don’t add to much, however — many foods become watery the longer they’re stored, so if they’re too watery to begin with, they’ll be downright soupy when it comes time to serve them! Instead, add a scant amount of liquid to start and then add in a little at a time, as needed, while you puree.
- Allow food to cool. Hot foods expand quickly, so it’s best to allow your foods to cool before placing them in a blender or food processor. You don’t want your freshly-steamed peas ending up all over your kitchen walls, after all! (Note: If you’re using an immersion blender, you can puree hot foods with no problem).
Pureeing and mashing baby food is easier when you have the right tools. Consider investing in a good blender or food processor if you plan on making lots of homemade baby food. Or, you could purchase a product specially-designed for homemade baby food, like The Baby Bullet.
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