Food Safety 101

  • February 1, 2012 - 9:24 pm
  • admin

Some time people get surprised that I would be encouraging about people making their own baby food, after all, my company doesn’t make money if you make your own, but I think if you have the time and enjoy making your own baby food that’s wonderful. I saw a blog post the other day that really disturbed me due to the fact that the well meaning mom was refilling baby food pouches. She was doing this to save money, what she didn’t realize that in her quest to save money, she was also on a collision course with food poisoning.  Even the pouch manufacturers have a hard time keeping their food safe.  They sterilize the pouches, pasteurize the food (hence the shelf life) and then factory seal the pouches.  They are NOT meant for refilling nor or the glass jars.  They use the same sterilization and pasteurization techniques.

When we cook for our families we of course, do everything in our power to keep the kitchen safe. When you cook for your baby, there is an additional level of food safety that must be observed. Babies don’t just get sick from food poisoning, they can die at the very least they will be very sick. Here are some food safety guidelines that I have adopted from our HACCP procedures we observe in the Jack’s Harvest kitchen.

Dedicated Cooking Tools for Baby

I suggest that you get a bin with a lid.  Scrub the bin very carefully and label the lid FOR BABY ONLY.  Inside the bin put the following:

  • A few cutting boards (I use plastic ones as the wooden can harbor bacteria in the wood grain and can splinter and get into baby’s food).  When they start to look worse for wear toss them and buy a new one.
  • A knife or two
  • Peelers
  • Steamer basket – nothing expensive
  • A saucepan that the steamer fits in with a lid
  • Spatulas with a plastic handle
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Silicone mini muffin tins or ice trays (no plastic – they can have BPA which will be emitted when frozen)
  • Latex gloves

This should be enough to get you started making baby food.  You will also want a good blender (I love Blendtec - they are pricey, but I’ve had mine for 5 year and we used it professionally until I appropriated it for my house!).

Before you get started, clean all surfaces and scrub sinks.  I use baking soda, white vinegar and peroxide to clean and disinfect, but of course, you want to be aware of what works on your counter tops.

Next, dish wash (using sanitary cycle and natural dish washing soap without harsh chemicals) or hand wash using natural dish soap and as hot water as you can stand all your supplies.  Even if you washed them before putting them away, wash them again.  This is all about overkill – you want to channel Mr. Monk from TV.  Be that over the top.

If you have produce with skins fill your clean sink with water and soak for 5 minutes – set a timer!  Even if you are going to peel the produce, the skin needs to be free of debris and bacteria because if you peel dirty skins, the dirt will be transferred to the produce.

Put on your gloves and peel and or prep your produce.  Put in the steamer with filtered water and steam until fork tender.  Reserve your cooking liquid for processing.

Process the produce right away.  Do not wait for it to cool.  You want to keep hot food hot until it prepared and put in the freezer.

Put the finished purees into the silicone molds cover immediately with foil and label carefully with the date created and flavor of food, I know you think you will remember what you made, but trust me, sweet potatoes and carrots look identical!

Put the molds in the freezer and keep them there over night.  Pop the cubes and store in BPA free containers or bags.  Label the bags with flavor and date created.  Frozen food is good in the freezer for up to a year, but since it was made in your kitchen, not a facility, let’s just say 6 months for safety sake.

Finally, clean all the supplies like you did above and store in your container until your next cooking session.  Safety of our babies is our top priority and I hope this helps you feel confident that you have created a safe environment in which to make baby’s food.

Stay tuned for more information about what, when and how to feed baby!




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