10 Oct Starting Solids: Equipment And Handy Hints
Having the right equipment makes life easier, so here’s a list of everything you will need when your baby starts solids.
At first, this might seem like overkill but once you really get into three meals a day and your baby is self-feeding, it will start to make sense and you’ll be thankful for the early recommendation.
A must! You will use this more than you could have imagined. From early purees to soups to delicious fruit smoothies, your stick blender will be out every day.
A good peeler
Believe it or not, some are better than others and I cannot stress highly enough the importance of a good peeler. You will find yourself peeling more than ever and to have an efficient peeler will save you both time and frustration. Some can even peel tomatoes and pumpkins.
These are ace and can be found at quality kitchenware stores — look for a serrated edge on at least one side and a blade that swivels.
Again, consider this carefully as you will be grating vegies and cheese a lot. You want it to grate the food and not your fingers, you don’t want it to be rusty, and ideally you want it to work well quickly. Again, some are better than others so have a look around.
A small saucepan and frying pan
This may seem like an odd recommendation but you will be cooking much smaller portions than you are used to and having the right sized pot or pan for the job will not only reduce washing up, but will also help avoid your baby’s food taking on a burnt flavour. Excess surface areas on hot pans can very quickly start to burn, which can affect flavour and be pretty tough to clean.
I have found it useful having a couple of sizes. I’ve always had a big one, but now that I often find myself whisking small quantities it is handy having a small one, too.
Microwave steam jug, with lid
I use mine all the time. I never thought I would as I’ve never really been into microwave cooking, but I was given one and now it’s probably one of my favourite things. From steaming vegies to stewing fruits, it’s become a kitchen staple.
I was forever getting distracted and burning pots of stewing fruit on the stovetop (I even destroyed a couple of pots full of bottles and pump attachments — melting plastic and burnt pots stink!). I blame it on sleep deprivation.
Cubes of baby food are a godsend. When you have a freezer full of snap-lock bags loaded and labelled with baby meals you will feel like Super Parent, and deservedly so. You will be cubing food for many months, so invest in a set of appropriately sized trays with lids.
The lid will help keep out ice burn and stop the food absorbing freezer odours. They will also help you to manage your available space as you can stack trays more effectively. There are many brands available at baby supply stores.
As your baby progresses to eating full-size meals (about five cubes or half a cup of food) you might find it easier to start freezing complete portions rather than cubes, so a set of good food tubs with sturdy lids will come in handy.
Consider the shape (round tubs are not space efficient) and you will want to label them; use a removable sticker or buy containers with erasable label tabs. Sheets of printer labels from office supply stores are perfect.
Measuring cups and spoons
Nothing special required here, just a set of interlocking metric cup and spoon measures. A range of glass or plastic measuring jugs will also come in handy, but are not essential.
Adding this to my essentials list was a bit of an afterthought but they are super handy for all manner of things and great for making vegies invisible. There are many types available so get one that suits your budget and your kitchen storage.
Where possible I have tried to provide measurements other than weight, but sometimes weight is the best option so a set of scales is always handy.
Excerpt from Food Babies Love by Emily Dupuche, published by Pan Macmillan.