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How to Start your Own Baby Food Business Part #6: Manufacturing Vs. Catering

Handmade Baby Food vs. Commercially Produced, Store Bought Baby Food

Food from your baby food catering business will be differentiated from commercial, factory produced baby food in the following ways:

People & Production

Your baby food is made-by-hand by individuals who are committed to the quality of the baby food. At least one certified chef is on duty at all times supervising the process and ensuring that ingredient and cooking standards are met. The food is made in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen like the ones used by top chefs.

Commercial baby food is produced in mass in a factory or co-packing facility. More often than not, baby food is not the only food product produced in the facility. Typically baby food is made by workers that do not have culinary training and do not have a passion or commitment to high quality baby food.

Hand Selection of Ingredients

Each and every ingredient in your baby food, down to the smallest berry, is hand selected to ensure that it is of the highest quality and to make sure that it is completely ripe.

Commercial baby food is made from massive deliveries of bulk produce that arrive on loading docks. Food quickly passes by workers on conveyer beltsthere is little time for manual inspection.

Source & Quality

The majority of the ingredients in your baby food are locally grown. They are picked only when fully ripe and go from the field to our kitchen within a matter of days, sometimes hours.

Produce used to make commercial baby food comes from multiple sources and multiple countries. It is often picked before fully ripened, to withstand the long transport from the field to the factory. Sometimes produce becomes over-ripe or rotten as it sits on trucks, in warehouses, or on loading docks for days or weeks.

Organic

You use only 100% organic ingredients that are never stored near other non-organic ingredients or produced alongside non-organic foods.

Even foods that are made with organic ingredients can be contaminated with pesticides when they are transported or stored with or near non-organic ingredients or produced in a facility that also makes non-organic food products. Commercial baby food is often made in large factories or by co-packers that also produce non-organic foods.

Washing

All of produce used in the production of your baby food is individually washed or scrubbed by hand.

In commercial baby food factories, produce is either rinsed as it passes under a sprayer on a conveyer belt or it may be allowed to sit in a vat of water to be cleaned. Often the process involves cleaning agents or chemicals.

Preparation

All the produce used in the production of your baby food is peeled, cored, or diced by hand. This provides a second inspection of the ingredient before cooking.

Produce used to make commercial baby food is peeled, processed, and cut by machines in large batches. Seeds, stems, rotten spots, etc. can easily go over looked and may be included in the final product.

Cooking

The majority of your baby food made using produce that has been gently steamed to ensure that the vitamins and nutrients are not cooked out of the food. This process also helps the food to retain its natural color. Some foods are baked or roasted whole to ensure that the natural juices are retained.

Commercial baby food is boiled in large vats or cooked quickly in giant, super heated ovens. Both processes are designed to cook the food as quickly as possible so large amounts can be produced at once. The food must be cooked at high enough temperatures to be sterilized in order for it to sit in a warehouse or on a store shelf for long periods of time. Essential nutrients and natural colors are lost. Vitamins and color must be added back into the food. This is accomplished using either synthetic materials or fruit/vegetable concentrates or dyes. Some food dyes are made using ground insects.

Processing

Your baby food is pureed in small batches which are weighed and measured by hand. Each batch is checked and rechecked to ensure a smooth or creamy texture.

Commercial baby food is ground in large, industrial vats. Sometimes tons of food is processed at once.

Texture

You add only a small amount of distilled water to your foodjust enough to allow for a smooth puree. Because we add such a small amount of water, there is no need to add thickening agents.

Large amounts of water are added to commercial baby food to thin it out. This allows the company to get more baby food out of each pound of produce (water is cheap) thus increasing company profits while nutritionally cheating babies. Thickening agents, such as starch, are then added (starch is cheap too). Thickening agents also stabilize factory-made foods by keeping the complex mixtures of oils, water, acids, and solids well mixed.

Quality Control

At every point in the cooking and pureeing process the temperature of the food is checked and rechecked to ensure that the correct temperature and consistency is being met. Temperature is monitored during the cooking process to make certain that vital vitamins and minerals are not cooked out, and as food is cooled to avoid pathogen growth.

Most of the production is often monitored by computers rather than humans.

Packaging

Your baby food is packaged by a person, giving it one final quality check.

Commercial baby food is packaged by big machines that squirt food into jars or containers with no one overseeing the process.

Freshness, No preservatives

Your stores/kitchen/etc.make fresh baby food daily. You only make enough food to fulfill the needs of for the current week. Your baby food is sold or delivered to customers within 24 to 48 hours of being made. There is no need to add preservatives and no food is wasted.

Commercial baby food is made in mass. Tens of thousands of units of baby food are produced each day. Commercial baby food can sit in a warehouse or on a store shelf for up to 2 years. The companies must add chemical or natural preservatives to keep the food from degrading. Even frozen baby food in the grocery store can sit in the freezer for months before it is sold.

How-To Guide to Baby Food: Homemade!

How-To Guide to Baby Food: Homemade!? Special Report


Can I Do This?
Have you ever found yourself in the grocery store, in the middle of the baby food isle, frustrated with the outrageous cost of baby foods or added it all up and realized just how much you were spending on your baby’s food?? Or if you have ever picked up one of the jars and actually read the ingredients on the back and wonder ‘Why in the world is there add sugars and high fructose corn syrup in my baby’s food?? And what the heck is genetically modified starch?’ Well let me tell you the right answer:? It’s stuff your baby doesn’t need. So you are wondering: ‘Is there a better way?’ And I am here to tell you that there is!? Making your own homemade baby foods is a great way to provide your baby with the best stuff they can possibly get AND at a fraction of the cost!? So I’m sure that you are wondering: ‘Could I actually do this?’ And I am here to tell you that you can and it is really simple, it is really quick, and it’s really fun!

Basic Equipment
I’m so glad that you are considering giving your baby the best start to eating right!?? One of the first questions that you might have is ‘Do I have the right equipment to make baby foods for my baby?’? So let’s jump right in and go over the equipment that you might have or that you might consider getting.? The first item that is important is a steamer.? I like the steamer over other ways to cook my baby’s food because it keeps the nutrients right in the food versus microwaving or boiling because the nutrients leave the food and go into the water it is being cooked in, but if you steam your vegetables then that is a healthier way for your baby to eat and that’s exactly why we are doing this.? If you don’t have a steamer, that’s ok, I’m not encouraging you to go buy anything new to do this, you could always use a steamer pot, or a metal colander works well also in a regular pot.?

The next piece of equipment that you will need is a food processor.? And I love my food processor.? It is so simple to operate, after cooking the food you put it in the food processor bowl, snap on the lid and turn it on and let it do it’s magic.? Food processors can be a bit pricy, so again I am not encouraging you to go out and invest in anything that is too expensive, but you will need something that will puree the baby’s food so that it is easy to digest for them.? If you do not have a food processor and do not want to purchase one, you could always look into a food mill, which can run between $10 and $12 dollars.

When you baby’s food comes out of the food processor you will need either a spoon or a spatula.? Now I am sure that everyone has one or both of these, but I just wanted to make a note of them.? When the food comes out of the food processor with the spoon or spatula, it can go directly into the baby’s bowl for meal time, or if you are storing the food for later consumption you will need regular old ice cube trays.? These make the process so simple because after freezing your baby’s food one cube equals one serving for your baby.?

You may also want to consider having aluminum foil to cover the trays in the freezer, gallon sized and sandwich sized Ziploc bags, as well as a permanent marker and a remarkable marker.


First Foods
This is the part of making your baby’s food where you get out of the kitchen and head to you local food market.? Picking out your baby’s first foods is fun and exciting to know you are putting the best stuff into your baby.? I like to shop in the organic section because that really is the best for baby.? If for some reason you don’t want to or can’t shop the organics, no problem, go ahead and pick up the regular fruits and vegetables but just make sure that you are really washing them well to remove all the chemicals and pesticides that you don’t want your baby to be consuming.?

So now you know you have all the equipment that you need and you are wondering What in the heck do I feed my baby?’? Well, let me tell you exactly what to make.? Some perfect first foods include Sweet Potatoes, Avocados, Carrots, Bananas, and Apples.? These are a bunch of great first foods to start with, but if you come to a point where you get stuck, and you have gone through all the first foods I’ve suggested and you are wondering Now what?? Let me give you a little cheat tip.? Head right around the corner to the baby food aisle and just see what is on the shelf that you haven’t served yet and then head right on back to the fresh produce section and pick up what you need.

Don’t forget about the 4 Day Wait Rule which tells us to introduce the baby’s food one day then wait for 4 days to see if they have any type of allergic reaction.? This will help you pinpoint exactly what your baby is reacting to instead of introducing many foods and not knowing which one caused the reaction.

So now that you know what to feed your baby, it’s time to head back to the kitchen and cook up some of the foods you just picked up!





Just Do It Preparing Your Baby’s First Food
Ok, so now you know that you have all the right equipment, you have shopped for those precious first foods and it is time to Just Do It!? Before you start working with the heavy machinery in your kitchen, I would encourage you to start with something really simple like bananas or avocados.? Now, bananas tend to be a little bit sweet and some doctors tend to discourage you from feeding your baby fruits before veggies because they might develop a sweet tooth and not want veggies, completely up to you, just something to consider.? Even with fruits and veggies with skin like the banana and avocado, I would encourage you to wash it really well to remove any chemicals or pesticides and it gives you another chance to wash your hands so that when you handle the fruit on the inside you are not contaminating it.? Being very careful with the knife cut the avocado right down the center long ways and spoon out the insides into a bowl and discard the skin.? Using a fork mash the avocado until very smooth.? If this is your baby’s very first meal, I would encourage you to mix it with some breast milk if you are nursing or just plain water if you are not to thin it out just a little making it easier for baby to digest.?

You can do the same with a banana, wash the outside well and then cut a small portion off the banana as you baby will not be able to eat an entire banana right away and you don’t want to waste the rest of the banana.? Mash the banana the same as you did the avocado with a fork and mix with breast milk or water.? Simple and easy, yes??

Well, now that you have mastered those, lets move on to the food processor.? Place your food of choice into the steamer basket and steam for 10 to 20 min. or until really soft and well cooked.? Once the food has completed cooking in the steamer then you will transfer the food directly into the food processor.? Be careful not to burn yourself!? Then let the food processor do it’s magic.? Add breast milk or water to thin it out a little if needed, then process until smooth and runny or the consistency that is right for your baby as they grow allowing it to thicken up as they get older.? Then removed a spoonful or two directly into your baby’s bowl for their meal.? Remember to do a finger test to make sure that it isn’t too hot coming right out of the steamer.? You don’t want to burn your baby’s mouth or esophagus and ruin the first foods experience or worse.?
There you have it, you just did it!? Congratulations on making your baby’s first meal.? If they could speak I’m sure they would thank you!


Storing Baby’s Food
This is where the ice cube trays come in.? Spoon the food you did not serve your baby in their first meal directly from the food processor into the ice trays and fill up each cube well.? Once you have emptied the food processor bowl or filled the tray, cover the tray with aluminum foil. I like to label tray directly with a remarkable marker with the date and what food is in there.? Place the tray into the freeze.? Once it’s frozen remove from the freezer and place the all of individual cubes (one cube = one serving) into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and return to freezer until needed for the next serving time.? Be sure to write the name of the food on the bag and the date it was made. When it is serving time, remove one cube from large bag and place into sandwich size bag and seal.? Place bag in a bowl or cup in the sink and run hot water over to thaw.? Then serve!

Congratulations!? You now know exactly how to make your baby homemade baby foods!?

For a FREE 4 Part Video Series on Baby Food: Homemade! Go to http://babyfoodhomemade.com/homemade-baby-food-series/

Baby Food Maker-3 Tips For Making Baby Food

We live in trying times these days and things seem to be getting harder and harder. This holds true for the foods that we eat and the foods that your baby eats. There is just to much chemically laden junk out there. There is even legislation pending to allow food companies to not disclose to the public whether or not what you buy is farmed raised, hybridized or genetically altered in some way. So, you want to do your best to make sure that your baby eats right and grows up eating right and eating healthy.

So you have thought about not buying store bought baby foods anymore and you want to make baby food at home for your baby. This is a good thing and it is not hard to do and the benefits are just enormous to your childs well being. So how do you make baby food at home? The old way was to just cook your food or boil it and then mash it up and feed it to your baby. Today, you can by a baby food maker that is an all in one unit and your will save lots of time from doing things the old fashioned way. In this article we will look at some tips for making baby food at home for your child.

Now that you have decided to make baby food and if you are new at making baby food here are a some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. By the way this was all new to me to when I had my baby so don’t worry, you are not alone. Let’s take a look at some of those tips:

1. The first year of your baby’s life he or she will be feed predominantly your breast milk or some type of formula. These formulas come in many varieties from dairy based to soy based if your baby is lactose intolerant. Your little one will not be eating solids. By the time the second year comes around it is going to be solid food time so it’s time to gear up and break out that baby food maker.

2. Obtain the freshest fruits and vegetables that you can get to use in your baby food maker. If you have a farmersmarket in your area thats great! If not a health food stores produce will do. If you end up needing to use frozen fresh fruits and veggies that is fine to. Just remember one thing when it comes to using the frozen fresh stuff. Do not refreeze baby food made from fresh frozen fruits and veggies once they have been cooked. Remember this as well: DON’T EVER USE CANNED VEGGIES! You don’t need to be loading your baby up with all that salt. You can get away using canned fruits if you have to, just make sure you read the label to make sure the fruit is packed in water or natural juices and no excess sugars, syrups or preservatives are added.

3. Cleanliness is next to healthiness. No matter what you do make sure that your hands, the utensils that you use, the baby food maker and your counter tops and any and all food storage containers are clean. practice safe cooking and cleaning techniques.