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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 be found in many beautiful colors such as yellow, white and even purple.
Carrot Baby Food – The Nutritious Carrot
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, and a good indicator of that is their vibrant orange-yellow color. When you eat carrots, the beta-carotene that they contain is converted by your body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your little one’s eyesight and overall good health. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin K and B6.
When To Introduce Carrot Baby Food
You can only introduce carrot baby food to babies who are 4 – 6 months of age or older – for good reasons. Firstly, babies under the age of 4 months should not have solid foods yet. The WHO recommends exclusively breastfeeding ( 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 known as Methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome.
Nitrates In Homemade Carrot Baby Food
Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds that you can find 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 three months of age as younger babies are not yet big 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.
Like with all foods it’s always a good idea to consult your pediatrician before introducing carrot baby food to your baby.
Carrot Selection And Preparation
Fresh carrots should be firm, crisp and not limp and should have no cuts or pressure marks on them. Some carrots are cut into a small cylinder like shapes and are sold as baby carrots. It is a good idea to stick to the unprocessed 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. You should store carrots in the crisper center/bin of your refrigerator.
Easy Carrot Baby Food Recipes
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!).
- 350g carrots (3 medium carrots)
- 2 cups water
- Wash and peel the carrots. Chop them up and steam in a steamer pot for about 15 minutes or until soft. Alternatively, boil them in a bit of water until tender. Discard the water (the cooking water will contain nitrates).
- 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)
- One medium sized potato
- One large carrot
- Wash, peel and chop potato and boil in some water until soft. Mash potato with a good potato masher.
- Wash, peel and cut the carrot. Steam the carrot pieces using a cup of water in your steamer pot until soft.
- Puree the cooked carrots until smooth or for older babies, mash the carrot pieces with the back of a fork.
- Mix the carrot puree with mashed potatoes and add a knob of unsalted butter. Serve.
Just double or triple the amount of each ingredient for a larger quantity.
Carrot And Kumara (sweet potato) Puree (from 6 months)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 medium sized/100g Kumara
- 1 small/100g zucchini
Wash peel and chop all the vegetables. Combine and steam for 15 minutes or until soft or 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 in a safe chemical-free heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
- Saute the leeks and the garlic in the oil until soft.
- Add 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
- 2 Chicken thighs filets, cut into bite-size pieces
- 200g Potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 60g brown onion, chopped
- 100ml Crushed tomatoes in juice( then pureed with the hand-held processor)
- 3 Cups water
- 100ml Cream
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- A sprig of rosemary
- Saute the onion on medium to high heat until soft and fragrant.
- Add the chicken and stir for a minute or two while stirring continuously.
- Add 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 to the pot. Season to taste and serve with whole – wheat bread.
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