I was really excited about this month's Daring Cook's Challenge! I have been wanting to try this for a very long time, I just hadn't forced myself to do it!
The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
I really wanted to make some Apple Butter, but as of right now I just haven't had time! But as soon as the Apple Orchards open up, I am so all over it! I did, however, decide to do something that I have been wanting to try my hand at! I decided to make BABY FOOD!
Now it may not seem that difficult, and really, it isn't. The hardest part of this is knowing when and what to feed your infant. However, there are a lot of really great resources out there, and I learned quite a lot. I am so excited to be able to introduce my baby to the wonderful world of food, and why not do it with wholesome, organic, yummy food that I have prepared myself?! I will know exactly where it came from, under what conditions it was prepared, everything that went into it (including love, aww!) and how long it sat before it was consumed. Of course I am going to make it myself - especially now that I know how easy it is!
I was totally prepared to completely stock my freezer with nothing but baby food this month, but I found a lot of conflicting information as to how long you can keep homemade baby food frozen. Some resources said up to 6 months, some said 3, and some said no longer than 1 month. I was rather discouraged by the fact that it could not keep longer. No one really explained it veryh well, but it had something to do with the ice crystals that form during freezing, and upon thawing can change the consistency, texture, and flavor of the puree. I found the majority of the information went with 3 months, so I decided that was how long I would keep mine for. Which means that since my little cupcake is just now turning 3 months, I could neither make a large quantity of food nor a lot of "flavorful" food. Yet.
I stuck with the basics, some "first tastes". I purchased some organic green beans and squash from the farmers market and went to town.
Green Beans - I thoroughly washed the beans, and snapped the ends off. I then steamed them for 12 minutes, or until they were tender. I then blended them in my food processor and poured them into my steralized specialized baby food freezing container - aka an ice cube tray! BUT this one has a lid! (Everyone say it with me now - oooOOOoooh!) I did not water my puree down, as everything I read said that you should thin it out after you thaw it out. Then you can make it the desired consistency with water, prepared formula, or breastmilk.
Butternut Squash - Peel and cube a squash into 1" cubes. Steam for 15 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a blender and process until silky smooth! Transfer to your prepared freezing container.
I CANNOT WAIT until December for my little one to be on solid foods to see how she likes these, and to make her many other fabulous creations! I just might even post them all! :)
The Healthy Baby Meal Planner - Annabel Karmel (She has several books on feeding infants, toddlers and children that I found to be great. I've created a link on her name which will take you to all her books.
The Everything Organic Cooking for Baby and Toddler - Kim Lutz