Calling all parents and caregivers of babies! Making homemade baby food might seem like a lot of work — why make it when you can buy it from the store, right? But it turns out that making homemade baby food is beneficial for you, your little one, and the planet (win-win-win).
When you’re ready to introduce solid foods to your baby, homemade baby food ensures that they’re getting their unique nutritional needs met. Meanwhile, going the homemade route is a time and money-saver for you in the long run! By whipping up baby food in bulk, you’re able to freeze it in individual portions that you can reheat in seconds. And by skipping all that single-use packaging that baby food usually comes in (like those pesky plastic pouches) and opting for reusable storage like Stasher bowls, you’re keeping tons of plastic out of our landfills and oceans.
Today, we’re walking you through how to make a super common (and super easy!) first food for babies: sweet potato baby food. To learn how to make it, store it, and reheat it, just keep scrolling!
How to Make Sweet Potato Puree
When it comes to making sweet potato baby food, one one of the most common first solid foods to give your little one, you have a lot of cooking options at your disposal: you can oven roast, microwave, or even boil this trusty root vegetable.
Step 1: To microwave, use a fork or knife to add slits throughout the sweet potato so that steam has a way to escape. Place the sweet potato in a microwave-safe container like the Stasher 4-Cup bowl or 6-Cup bowl and add about ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the container. Pinch your Stasher Bowl to seal it closed, leaving about an inch open at the top to let steam out. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, turn the potato over, and microwave for another 3 minutes. If your potato isn’t quite done at this point, microwave in 1-minute increments until soft.
To bake the sweet potato, first cut it into strips and add a tiny bit of oil to keep the potato from burning in the oven. Lay the strips out on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast at 400F for about 25 minutes or until soft.
To boil, cut your sweet potato into chunks and boil on the stove for about 15 minutes or until you can easily squish them on the side of the pot with a spoon.
Steps 2 & 3: For all three methods, the last few steps are the same. After cooking, let the sweet potato cool, squeeze or scrape the flesh out of the sweet potato skin, and blend it till smooth in a food processor or hand blender.
Optional step 4: For a thinner consistency, add a small amount of liquid (water, breastmilk, or formula) to the puree. Remember: if your baby is around 2-4 months old, puree baby foods till they’re super smooth. If your baby is around 4-6 months old, you can leave in a few chunks by mashing homemade baby foods with a fork.
Sweet Potato Baby Food Ideas
The beauty of homemade baby food is that you can easily adjust or combine recipes to meet your baby’s shifting nutritional needs as they move from stage 1 to stage 2 foods and introduce them to new flavors and textures. With sweet potato baby food, you can make both sweet purees and savory purees by folding in small amounts of baby-friendly spices, herbs, and other purees. (Keep in mind, most medical professionals suggest giving your baby single-ingredient puree without added spices or herbs until they’re about 6 months old.)
For a sweet puree made from your sweet potato puree base, add a pinch of aromatic spice like nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or cinnamon. You can also mix in homemade applesauce for an extra sweet treat.
Make a savory puree by adding a small amount of aromatic spices like paprika, cumin, or mild curry. You can also blend in fresh or dried herbs like dill, oregano, thyme, or fennel, or mix the sweet potato puree with homemade pea or carrot puree (or both!).
How to Store Sweet Potato Puree
Food safety is important for us all to keep in mind, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to how you store baby food. When stored in airtight storage containers, homemade baby food will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to three months. To freeze baby food, dole out your homemade puree concoction into a clean ice cube tray and freeze till solid. Then pop out the ice cubes and store them in a large freezer-friendly airtight container like the Stasher Stand-Up Mega bag.
Alternatively, you can freeze or refrigerate baby food in individual portions by using the tiny but mighty Stasher 1-Cup bowl. The benefit of this method is that you can reheat the cold or frozen baby food right in the Stasher Bowl via the microwave or hot water, and then serve from it too. Because fewer dishes – plus the fact that all Stasher bags and bowls can go in the dishwasher – is definitely something to celebrate.
In order to destroy harmful bacteria and make sure the sweet potato puree is super safe for your little one to eat, reheat thoroughly from frozen or refrigerated until it’s very, very hot. (And of course let it cool and test the temperature yourself before serving!)
Can You Refreeze Sweet Potato Puree?
In general, the answer to whether or not you can refreeze sweet potato puree is simple: nope! Whether it’s store-bought or homemade, baby food that’s already been frozen and thawed shouldn’t be popped back into the freezer a second time, since this can introduce harmful bacteria into the food.
To protect your baby’s health and practice good food safety, discard leftovers that have already been frozen, thawed, and reheated or keep them in the fridge for up to two days in food containers. And to minimize food waste in the first place, consider freezing small, individual portions of baby food in the 1-Cup Stasher bowl or in an ice cube tray so that you’re only reheating – and potentially discarding – very small amounts of food at any given time.
At this point, you should be a sweet potato puree pro. But to recap: cook till soft, remove the skin, puree, dress it up with spices or herbs, and serve. If you’re reheating from frozen or fresh: heat thoroughly. And if you’re refreezing: don’t do that!
From all of us at Stasher, happy cooking!