Carrot baby food is a great way to add some variety to your baby's diet. The Carrot is a root vegetable, a domesticated form of the Daucus Carota. We are all familiar with the orange colored carrots but, this taproot can actually be found in many beautiful colors such as yellow, white and even purple.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta - carotene and a good indicator of that is their vibrant orange - yellow color. When we eat carrots, the beta - carotene that they contain is converted by the body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your little ones eyesight and for overall good health. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin K and B6.
Carrot baby food can only be introduced to babies who are 4 - 6 months of age or older - for good reasons. Firstly, babies under the age of 4 months should not be having solid foods yet. The WHO recommends exclusively breast feeding ( bottle feeding for babies on formula) babies from birth to 6 months. And secondly, because foods like carrots and other vegetables such as beets, turnips, green beans and spinach contain nitrates. Nitrates can cause a condition in which a baby's red blood cells ability to transport oxygen is compromised. This condition is know as methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome.
Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plants, including green leafy vegetables such as spinach and collard greens. Nitrates are also found in root vegetables such as beets, turnips and carrots.
Nitrates can be toxic to small infants. The AAP advises against giving these foods to babies younger than 3 months of age as younger babies are not yet developed enough to deal with nitrates and are therefore more susceptible to nitrate poisoning.Nitrate poisoning from eating nitrate containing foods is extremely rare but it's always best to play it safe. Babies who are over the age of 4 - 6 months and older can handle nitrates and carrots baby food can safely be added to their diets. Like with all foods it's always a good idea to consult your pediatrician before introducing carrot baby food to your baby.
Fresh carrots should be firm, crisp and not limp and should have no cuts or pressure marks on them. Some carrots are cut into small cylinder like shapes and are sold as baby carrots. It is a good idea to stick to the unprocessed "mother" carrots because you want the best and freshest possible carrots for your homemade baby food.
For the best tasting and nutritious carrot baby food - steaming is the way to go. Just steam the carrots until soft before pureeing. You can also boil carrots or cook them together with other foods to make a mixed vegetable puree or a tasty soup. Carrots should be stored in the crisper center/bin in the refrigerator.
Basic carrot puree (from 6 months)Carrot Puree is so simple yet tasty. It has such a mild and sweet taste that most babies will easily like. I use carrots a lot in my cooking. I used this puree as one of the first vegetable purees for both my girls. They both like carrots, actually they love them, be it cooked, steamed or raw. Whenever I am making food that involves carrots, there they are both munching away (and there I am chopping more so I can have enough left for my cooking!).
Wash and peel the carrots. Chop them up and steam for about 15 minutes or until soft. If you want you can boil them in a bit of water until soft. Puree the carrots adding a teaspoon of unsalted butter or a teaspoon of vegetable oil. To adjust puree consistency to suit your baby, add a bit of cooled boiled water or breast milk.Carrot And Potato Puree (from 6 months)
Directions:For the potato...
Wash, peel and chop potato and boil until in some water until soft. Mash potato with a potato masher (If you use a processor your potato puree might get kind of gluey)
For the carrot... Wash, peel and chop carrot. Steam the carrot pieces using a cup of water in your steamer pot until soft. Puree carrot until smooth or alternatively for older babies, mash the carrot pieces with the back of a fork Mix the carrot puree together with mashed potatoes Add a knob of unsalted butter or a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
Just double or triple the amount of each ingredient for a larger quantity.
Wash peel and chop all the vegetables. Combine and steam for 15 minutes or until soft or alternatively, you can boil them in as little water as possible. Puree the vegetables until smooth. Add breast milk or cooled boiled water for a lighter consistency.
Carrot And Leek Puree (from 8 months)
1 Large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Medium sized potato, washed, peeled and chopped into small cubes
A handful of chopped leeks
A tiny pinch of fresh chopped oregano
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Half a Clove of garlic, chopped or crushed finely
350ml homemade chicken stock or water
Heat the oil up in a heavy base sauce pan on medium heat. Cook the leeks and the garlic in the oil until soft. Add in the chopped carrots, potato and oregano. Stir constantly for about a minute or two before pouring in the chicken stock. Cook for about 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
Depending on your baby's age, you may puree or mash with the back of a fork.
Carrot And Chicken Soup (from 8 months)
2 Large carrots, peeled and then chopped
1 Chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
200g Potatoes, peeled and chopped
60g brown onion, chopped
100ml Crushed tomatoes in juice( then pureed with hand-held processor)
3 Cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
A sprig of rosemary
Fry the onion on medium to high heat until soft and fragrant. Add in the chicken and stir for a minute or two while stirring constantly. Add in the chopped carrots, potato, the water and the pureed tomatoes in juice. Reduce heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cream and cook for a further 5 minutes. Discard the sprig of rosemary and puree the chicken and vegetables to a smooth consistency.
For toddlers: Remove the chicken pieces from the soup and set aside. Puree the remaining ingredients until smooth before returning the chicken back into the pot. Season to taste and serve with whole - wheat bread.