~ Pureed Vegetables & Fruits ~
I thought it would be great for me to document this down, just in case it helps in anyway for anyone interested in making baby food from home. My precious little one turned 6 months old last year (March 2014). It feels like yesterday! At that juncture of her development, many questions have popped up and were due for an answer, ranging from what food do I start with, when & how often I feed, where do I find the ingredients, whose recipe to use, which website should I take reference and how I should prepare & store the food. Before I realised, my culinary exploration journey has begun.
I insisted on home-cooked food (even when we were travelling) for my precious little one until she turned 1 year old as I am in doubt with commercial baby food and eat out food. The amount of salt & sugar and food hygiene were well in control when I make my own food. Nothing beats home-cooked food at such a young and tender age. As she turned one, I can gradually relax the insistence of her food intake from home. She now eats out every now & then and they sum up to about 4 to 6 meals a week.
I learnt that the right time to introduce solid food to a baby is when they are around/ at least 6 months old and can sit on their own. In theory, the objective is to gradually introduce solid food to the baby, graduating her for family meals and moving him/her away from breastmilk by 1 year old. The real fact is that, I can only have some relieve about my Precious’s family meals intake when she had most of her teeth grown and she was breastfed until she turned 2 years of age.
Cooked/uncooked foods that can be easily digested by the little ones are recommended. Fruits, vegetables, grains, meat etc. were introduced gradually to enable detection of allergies. As I am neither a nutritionist nor a health food extremist, just one rule of thumb – to ensure the intake of a wide variety of food as time goes by. I have started my Precious with apple puree a week before she turned 6 months old. Eventually, she was given avocado, banana, pear, grapes, melon, carrot, potatoes, yellow/ purple sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, couscous, congee, quinoa, tofu, fish, chicken, beef and the list goes on.
Throughout the baby food culinary exploration journey, apart from the types of food and the timing of introduction being a crucial decision, the texture of the food is an equally important factor to determine whether the little one would eat without making a fuss. Hence, in all my cooking during this time I emphasised a lot on the time of food cooked which has a direct impact on the food tenderness and texture.
Temperature and time of food cooked directly affects the retention of nutritional value in food. The higher the temperature and the longer the time used to cook food, the more nutrition in food will be leached. Temperature affects the growth of bacteria in food too. Hence, cooking with the right temperature could save us (more so, the little ones) from food borned illnesses. Cooking time will determine the food texture, ensuring suitable tenderness in food for easy consumption and digestion for the little ones. Hence, I used rapid cooking for most of the food cooked for my baby.
Bearing in mind that babies do not eat a lot as they first started with solids (it could just be a teaspoon to begin with), proper storage is another big lesson to learn. I am pleased to know that food can be freezed and thawed without losing much of their nutrients when proper storage, (sometimes thawing) and reheating methods are practised. This sounds like a complicated and heck of a lot of things to do? Trust me, it is as simple as it can be. I use AMC Softline Secuquick to make and reheat frozen baby food automatically in less than 5 minutes without raising a doubt whether it is tender enough or if it is heated through for the little guts. No thawing is required. Who has the time to thaw?!
Pureed Vegetables and Fruits Recipe :
- 100 grams Asparagus (add 10-15 ml water)
- 100 grams Pear (add 10 ml water)
- 100 grams Pumpkin (add 15 ml water)
- 100 grams Sweet Potatoes (add 20ml water)
- 250ml Water (to be added in pot, not food)
AMC Healthy Cooking Method :
- Remove all skin as necessary. Cut into 2.0cm cubes, place each ingredient into a ramekin bowl. Add 10-20ml of water into each bowl according to the water absorption level of each type of vegetables.
- In an AMC 24cm 5.0 litre pot unit, fill up 250ml of water into pot before inserting 4 mini ramekin bowls with the cubed ingredients. Rapid cook with AMC 24cm Softline Secuquick lid fully automatically by setting Audiotherm on Soft mode and “P” Program (20 seconds) cooking time.
- When Secuquick depressurised, blend in each bowl with a hand-mixer or with a fork to make puree. Serve warm.
- Scoop and portion out the balance into an ice cube container for freezer storage. This makes frozen baby food cubes for consumption in the next few days upon proper reheating.
AMC Reheating Method (for optimisation of nutritional value):
- In an AMC 20cm 3.0 litre pot unit, fill up 60ml of water before inserting 1 mini bowl with the frozen baby food cubes. Rapid cook with AMC 20cm Softline Secuquick pressure lid for 4 minutes on soft pressure.
- Stir well and serve warm.
- As the size and toughness of different kinds of vegetables and fruits are different, you may want to plan out the 4 types with similar or close to the same hardness and size before cooking.
- With different types of vegetables and fruits toughness, you may vary cooking time set on Audiotherm from “P” to 1 minute. Remember to set on “Soft” pressure which is in the temperature range of 103°C-113°C. “Turbo” pressure, which is in the temperature range of 108°C-118°C, is too high a temperature for vegetables and fruits puree food and may not be able to optimize nutrients in food puree.
- The AMC Premium Cooking System does not just cook baby food. I continue using it to make oil free (no oil for babies below 1 year old) and waterless (for optimum nutrients retention) cooking for my little one. Those little tummies are unable to eat food in large quantity but they can definitely stomach food with quality nutrition values. I am glad that my baby is growing up home-cooked meals with the AMC system!