From Farm to Baby

baby-food-21Even our youngest locavores deserve the fresh taste from the farm and all the rich nutrients local food provides, don’t you agree?

Making homemade baby food is a simple process that both you and baby will enjoy!  All you really need is a food processor or food mill, ice cube trays and a little bit of creativity!

From salmon to sweet potatoes, to cabbage and cauliflower – all items are found from your friends at Farmers Market of the Ozarks.  Salmon provides baby with natural DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids, so it’s an excellent choice for a baby food puree and Chris Perkins with Express Foods provide delicious salmon to market. Or check out produce from a variety of our local farmers in the region for the freshest picks from the farm.

Don’t be afraid to put in some seasonings in your homemade baby foods as well. Just as long as you don’t include sugar or salt in the food. Fresh garlic or herbs can help your little ones develop an early palate for good foods.

The older your baby gets the less finely pureed the food will become. Follow your babies reaction though, all babies are different and are ready for chunkier and more dense foods at different times. By the time most babies are 8 months old they can have some table food that the family eats, like potatoes, beans, carrots, cottage cheese, yogurt, and many other items. See more here.

Try to buy vegetables that are in season and local. Much of the produce we buy in stores is at least 14 days old by the time your purchase it in the stores and has traveled over 1,500 miles from farm to the store. If you can’t find it local and fresh- choose frozen.

When pureeing foods, reserve the water the vegetables or fruit was cooked in to add back a little in the puree to mix easier. The water holds many of the nutrients your baby needs.

After you have made your fresh baby food, simply spoon the food into ice cube trays, cover and freeze.  When froze, pop-out the 1 ounce food portions and place in freezer bags.  Label the freezer bags with the type of food and date.  When ready to use, simply thaw in the refrigerator or the microwave in a safe glass bowl.

Remember, just because you don’t like a certain food, doesn’t mean your baby won’t. My little ones ate beets, turnips and a mountain of other vegetables that most kids wouldn’t even touch. Be adventurous when making baby’s food- he/she will thank you.

Here are some baby approved recipes that my kiddos devoured when they were still tots!

Fancy Salmon
2 (3 oz) salmon filets, poached and fully cooked
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp. onion powder

Cook salmon fully and set aside. Boil potatoes until soft. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree to desired texture.

Asparagus Delight
1 lb. of fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder

After washing and trimming the vegetables- stem until tender. Add all ingredients in a processor and puree. Add back the cooking liquid to reach the proper texture.

Spinach and Cauliflower Oh My

1 lb of spinach leaves (or use 1 bag of frozen spinach), cooked
1 head of cauliflower, steamed
1 clove of garlic
2 apples, peeled and cooked

Place all cooked items in a food processor and puree. Add back the cooking liquid to reach the proper texture for baby.

Red Cabbage Fun
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups of red cabbage
3 T. of golden raisins
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients in a pan and boil for 10 minutes and then puree. Add the cooking liquid back to the mixture to reach proper texture.

* As baby gets older, add pureed chicken breast into this mixture to make a complete meal!

Berry Bounty
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of strawberries
2 bananas

Simmer the berries in water for 6 minutes, then strain. Place berries and bananas in food processor and puree. When you serve this, you might have to add some cereal to thicken it up. Cereal is great to thicken up fruit purees.

 Pure Peas
1 lb frozen or fresh peas
Olive oil
onion powder

Steam peas for 6 minutes, reserving your cooking liquid.  Puree the peas, oil and onion powder.  Add reserved liquid to reach the proper texture you wish.

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