Making your own baby food at home is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to feed your baby. I can’t think of many baby foods easier to cook up than carrots, so this is a great place to start if you have never made any cooked baby food before. Carrots freeze well, so you can make a large batch of pureed carrots and store them in the freezer in individual servings for later use.
Carrots are naturally sweet and make a great addition to the first foods given to baby. They are also great to mix with other veggies and fruit when baby starts to eat mixed foods.
You will need:
1 lb of Carrots
Ice Cube Trays
Peel and slice the carrots in to 2-3 inch pieces and put in a steamer for 20 minutes or until tender. If you don’t have a steamer, you can boil the carrots as well. Add just enough water to completely cover them. If you can steam them, it is best to do it this way so that they retain the most amount of nutrients. I have also used a metal colander or strainer in the bottom of a pasta or sauce pot and that worked wonderfully!
Save the water in the bottom of the steamer or if you are boiling the carrots, don’t drain the water out of the carrots, instead scoop the carrots out with a slotted spoon, saving the water for the puree.
I make carrots as baby food according to three different stages in a baby’s eating development.
For the first stage eaters, to make carrots for your baby you will add all of the carrots to the food processor and puree, adding a little bit of water at a time until you get a smooth creamy consistency. You will prepare the carrots this way when you first give your baby carrots, at around 6 months of age.
The second stage eaters can eat foods with chunks, so I like to take half of the steamed carrots and add them to the food processor and puree them into a smooth consistency. The other half of the carrots are diced into chunks small enough to be mashed by small teeth and mashed with the gums in the back of baby’s mouth. I then mix the two textures together. This is good for babies around 7-9 months, or after they have a few teeth and are able to sit unsupported and eat chunkier foods without any trouble or choking.
The third stage eaters are self feeders and can eat small bite sized chunks. Start out with smaller chunks, based on how well your baby can mash up food. After they become full fledged eaters, you can cut them into larger slices or chunks. This is good for babies who are around 9-12 months and are doing well with finger foods.
Give the carrots time to cool off and spoon the carrots into ice cube trays. You need to make sure that the carrots have cooled down, as adding hot carrots into the plastic trays can cause a chemical reaction that will leach chemicals into the baby food that can harm your baby. Cover the ice cube tray with plastic wrap, or slide into a large freezer bag that can be reused at a later time. Put the baby food in the freezer immediately and do not allow it to sit out on the counter.
Once the food is frozen, pop out the baby food and place into a freezer bag and label with the date and contents and return to the freezer. You can store carrots in the freezer for about 3-4 months and it should be eaten within that time.
When you are ready to use the frozen baby food, you will need to take it out of the freezer with enough time to let it defrost in the refrigerator. You can pull out a portion at night before bedtime to feed your baby the next day. Once it is defrosted, it has to be eaten within 24-48 hours. If it is not used within that time, it needs to be thrown away. You can heat up the baby food, but only once, baby food should not be reheated more than that. You can also reheat food directly from the freezer, but you need to make sure that it has been heated through completely until hot, and then allowed to cool down to a warm temperature for baby.
When your baby starts eating mixed foods, you can pull out a cube or two of carrots and a cube or two of peas, apples or potatoes. Carrots also go great with other foods, try mixing up different foods and see how your baby likes it.