Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How To Make Your Own Baby Food Using the Microwave

Jeremiah, 6 months old, is eating solids like a champ these days, so I'm stocking up on homemade baby food (and some jars, too).  He started with bananas and applesauce.  Now he is enjoying butternut squash and sweet potatoes.  While I was making up some trays of baby food yesterday I thought I would put up a tutorial on how to make baby food in your microwave.  It's easy, inexpensive, and actually tastes good - I know because I've tried it!

Following are the steps to make butternut squash, but you can apply the method to pretty much any food that requires cooking.  I'll put some suggestions of other fruits and veggies at the end.  So, here goes:

You'll need:
-A butternut squash
-A microwave-safe baking dish
-Plastic wrap
-A spoon
-A big, sharp knife
-1/4 cup water

1. Wash the squash, then cut in half from top to bottom.  Butternut squash is hard, so be prepared to use some muscle.

2. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

3.  Place the squash into a microwave-safe baking dish and pour 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the dish.

4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Poke holes in the plastic wrap using your really big knife or a fork.

5. Microwave the squash on high for 15-20 minutes.  Check the squash every 5 minutes to make sure the bottom is not burning.  The squash is cooked when it is soft throughout.  The bottom portion (where the seeds were) will cook faster than the neck.

When it is thoroughly cooked you should be able to easily scrape the inside with a fork and have it look like this:

 6. Scoop the squash out of the skin and place it into your handy dandy food processor and add 1/4 cup water (a blender or mixer could also work but may not produce the same texture as a food processor).

7. Puree the squash until it reaches your desired consistency.  It can be a bit stringy, so don't hesitate to puree it for a few minutes.  Mine took about 2 or 3 minutes on high.

8. For Easy Storage: Spread the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for at least 2 hours.

9. Remove tray from freezer and run the bottom under lukewarm water.  Empty the cubes into a freezer bag.  Don't forget to label the bag and include the date.

10. To Prepare for Your Little One: Remove desired number of ice cubes to a microwave-safe bowl.  Defrost for 10-30 seconds on high.  I usually check it every 10 seconds to make sure it doesn't get too hot.  Different foods defrost at different temperatures, so checking is important.  Mix with baby cereal or serve as is.  The above photo is the equivalent of 1 cube of squash.

Some other ideas for baby food using the microwave:
-Applesauce: quarter and core, leave skins, microwave on high 10-15 min., check and stir every 3-5 min.
-Pears: quarter and core, leave skins, microwave on high 10-15 min., check and stir every 3-5 min.
-Sweet Potatoes: wash, leave skins, poke several holes in potato, microwave on high 15-20 min., check and rotate every 5 min.
-Broccoli: try using frozen florets, microwave on high for approx. 10 min., check and stir after 5 min.
-Carrots: wash, may take a while to be soft enough to puree, microwave on high 15-20 min., check and stir every 5 min.
-Peas: try using frozen peas, microwave on high for 5-10 min., check and stir every 3-5 min.

So, what baby food making tips do you have?

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