Can You Use Frozen Fruits & Vegetables to Make Baby Food
Making your own baby food is a great way to ensure that your little one receives all the essential vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow healthy and strong without having to worry about the added preservatives contained in prepackaged food. A challenge arises, however, when things like colder weather, seasonal changes or other shortages make finding fresh produce next to impossible. So what are your options? Are frozen fruits and veggies an acceptable alternative to fresh? The answer is yes, and here’s what you need to know.
The reason most parents opt to make their own baby food is to avoid the many “additives” that are often found in mass-produced baby food products. Obviously, if something sits in a warehouse, is then shipped across the country before sitting for weeks on the shelf at the grocery store and possibly in your cupboard at home before it’s finally consumed, preservatives are necessary to avoid spoilage. But that’s not the only thing leery parents are trying to keep out of their babies’ bodies. There are also things like added sodium and sugars to worry about.
The first thing you should do when purchasing frozen fruits and veggies to make your own baby food is to examine the label. Many people don’t realize how many frozen produce products on the market today actually contain a ton of added salt, sugar, syrup and more. It may take a bit longer, but taking the time to go through labels and know exactly what is contained in each package (and what not-so-great ingredients might be hiding in there) will be well worth the extra effort.
Quality frozen veggies in particular are relatively easy to find any time of year, regardless of whether they are in season or not. Simply stroll down the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket and you’ll have your pick of everything from peas, carrots and green beans to sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, squash and more.
The types of frozen vegetables to look for are those that are “flash-frozen,” that is picked at their peak of freshness and almost immediately frozen. This locks in the valuable nutrients and minerals contained within. Another fun fact that many people don’t realize is how long so-called “fresh” fruits and vegetables actually take to get from farm to plate. In reality, “fresh” produce may sit around on trucks and in warehouses and even travel multiple times cross-country before it ever makes it to your grocer’s stand. Does that really sound fresh to you?
Once you’ve selected the frozen fruits and veggies of your choice, the next important point to note is how to cook them properly. Most commonly, these items are simply cooked and pureed before being served. Sometimes parents will refreeze the pureed end-product to be reheated and served at a later date. The good news is, the amount of nutrient lost during the cooking and/or refreezing process is extremely minimal. Just bear in mind the following health/food safety tips when cooking/refreezing:
Frozen Cook Refreeze = OK
Frozen Thaw Refreeze Without Cooking = NOT OK
If you’re interested in trying frozen veggies in your homemade baby food, we invite you try the Hanover Foods line. Our veggie products are frozen at the peak of freshness and contain little to no additives, so you can be confident in the quality food your baby enjoys.