Most of the items outlined below are common sense and things you should probably be doing anyway in the kitchen but needless to say, you can never be too safe when dealing with your little ones health. For example, when in doubt if you washed your hands- wash them again!
1) Wipe all surfaces with soap and water before and after preparation.
2) Use clean cloths for washing and drying
3) Use chemical free cleaners on food surfaces
4) Use separate cutting boards for meats/chicken and your fruits and veggies
5) No double dipping. Not Ever!
6) Don’t cook if you are not feeling well or think you may be sick. This is the time to use those purchased baby food jars.
7) Make sure to baby food is cooled before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Preparing the food
After washing, cook vegetables – and fruits like apples and prunes that need to be softened – before pureeing or grinding. Bake, boil, or steam the produce until it’s soft. If you boil the food, use as little liquid as possible and add some of the leftover liquid when mashing the food (or add it to your family’s soup stock).
Peel and pit the produce if necessary and strain out any seeds. Some fruits and vegetables don’t require any liquid – simply mash, add a seasoning or two, and serve. For others, you may want to add a little liquid (breast milk, formula, or water) as you puree or grind to get the consistency you want. As your baby adapts to solid foods, you can add less liquid.
Grains like quinoa or millet can also be pureed or ground in a food mill. Cook them first according to package directions. For older babies, whole grains make fabulous finger food.
To prepare meat and poultry, remove the skin and trim the fat before cooking. Then puree the cooked meat in a blender or grind it up in a food mill with a little liquid. For older babies, simply chop the meat into very small pieces.
If this all sounds like a lot of trouble, keep in mind that “homemade baby food” can be the very same food you feed the rest of your family. It’s an old-fashioned idea that deserves to be resurrected. Simply use your food mill or other tool to puree, blend, or mash some of the same food that your family is having for dinner.
Soups and stews, for example, can be processed and fed to your baby. The same goes for most healthy foods your family might eat. Pack empty baby food jars with extra so you’ll have a meal for the next day.
- Serve the food no warmer than body temperature.
- Use caution if you heat meals in the microwave. Microwaves heat unevenly and can create “hot spots” – areas of the food that are much hotter than others – so be sure to stir microwaved food well and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
- Only dish out the amount of food you think your baby will eat at that feeding. You’ll need to toss what’s left over because your baby’s saliva will get into the mixture and make it easy for bacteria to grow in the food.
- Don’t sweeten your baby’s food. Babies don’t need any extra sugar. And never use honey or corn syrup, which can cause botulism – a potentially fatal form of food poisoning – in babies.
- Use seasonings. Despite the tradition of feeding babies bland food, they can tolerate and enjoy different flavors.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and use them up within a couple of days. You can also freeze leftovers in ice cube trays or similar devices. After the cubes are frozen solid, remove them and store in plastic freezer bags. Fruits and vegetables frozen this way will last six to eight months. Meat (including poultry) and fish will last one to two months.
Information obtained from BabyCenter