Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby Food: Sweet Potatoes

My child LOVES the orange vegetables: sweet potatoes, squash, carrots. So much so, in fact, that his nose is tinted a slight orange color. Permanently.

I do buy some of those vegetables from the grocery store for at home and for on-the-go, but I have started making carrots and sweet potatoes for him since (A) they are really easy to make, and (B) they are less expensive to make on my own. Here is my process for making homemade sweet potatoes for my 9 month old.

Vegetable peeler
Steamer pot and basket with a lid

Sweet potatoes

1. Start by washing and peeling the sweet potatoes.

For this batch, I used four large potatoes.

Here are my two cooking "tools."
Vegetable peeler

Pot and steamer basket.

*Let me just say that this is such a wonderful kitchen tool to have. I steam all sorts of vegetables in here for our dinners.

After your potatoes are peeled, cut them into cubes. The size is up to you, but remember two things: keep them close to the same size so they will steam evenly, and remember that the smaller they are, the less time they will take to cook.

I don't like to cut mine too small, because I don't want them to totally lose their shape. I am planning to cut mine into small bite-sized pieces for my boy since he is learning to self-feed, but for earlier batches, I would simply puree them, so the size of the cube didn't matter as much.

Put about 1/2" of water in the bottom of your pot. You want to be sure that you have enough water to steam your vegetables. Not having enough water will result in scorching your pot (I HAVE DONE THIS AND IT WILL SMELL UP YOUR HOUSE AND RUIN YOUR VEGETABLES).

Place your cubed potatoes into the steamer basket.

Place basket in pot filled with 1/2" of water and cover. Cook on medium-high heat until sweet potatoes are fork tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. If they aren't fork tender, just continue steaming until they are.


At this point, you can do one of two things:
1. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a food processor. Pulse until they reach your desired consistency, adding water to thin them out. Thinner foods for babies just starting out on solids, thicker/pastier foods for more experienced babies.

2. As I mentioned above, Liam is getting the hang of self-feeding, and I find that soft sweet potato chunks are a great thing for him to eat and practice with. So, I dice my cooked sweet potato chunks into little (Liam) bite-sized pieces.

These four sweet potatoes provided a LOT of baby food. More than Liam can eat in a matter of a few days, so I freeze them by putting them into ice cube trays.

Look how many cubes these four sweet potatoes made! Liam will be so excited!
Cover with saran wrap and place in freezer for several hours. To store, remove cubes from tray and place them in a freezer-safe storage bag. Remove as needed, and defrost in the fridge, on the counter, or in the microwave. Enjoy!

**Using ice cube trays works great for the pureed sweet potatoes as well.

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