Yellow squash is a great starter food for your new eater. Learn how to make a tasty puree for your little one at home.
As a new mom, I wanted only the best for my baby. This meant pureeing baby food at home using fresh ingredients. While there are many healthy pre-made options on the market today, including organic varieties, I wanted to know exactly what was going into my son’s body.
I started simple with apples, bananas, and peaches. There wasn’t a fruit he didn’t like. I then introduced vegetables. First sweet potatoes and green beans, followed by baby carrots and summer squash – yellow squash was his favorite.
Squash offers numerous health benefits. The veggie is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, and contains nutrients like fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, and phosphorus. It also contains high concentrations of beta carotene which protects the body against damage from pollutants and free radicals.
Like most vegetables, yellow squash contains no measurable cholesterol and minimal fat.
Whether you’re harvesting squash from your backyard garden or bagging it at your local supermarket, you’ll want your vegetables to be in season and at their peak. Summer squash is best when grown between 4 and 8 inches long.
Squash should be picked when it feels firm and the skin can be punctured with a fingernail. Avoid squash with hard or dull skin, soft spots, blemishes, or a dry stem.
How to Make Yellow Squash Baby Food
Making homemade yellow squash baby food may seem overwhelming at first. Before giving up, consider the health benefits and cost savings you’ll experience by making your own nutrient-rich and delicious purees.
Most babies are ready to start solid foods around six months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Select ripe squash to prepare. Opt for squash that is small in diameter, as these are often more tender. Wash the skins thoroughly.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the squash in half vertically with a sharp knife. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds from the center.
- Fill an oven-safe baking dish with approximately one-inch of water.
- Lay the squash with the flat side down in the baking dish,
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When properly baked, the skin should have a dark tan color and appear wrinkly. The meat should be very soft.
- Pour the excess water from the pan into a separate container. It will be used later in the puree.
- Scoop out the meat from inside the squash and place it in a food processor or blender. Add one to two tablespoons of the reserved water to thin out the puree.
- Puree the squash until you’ve reached your desired consistently. Add more water as needed to thin out a thick puree.
- Use a spoon to stir the puree and check for chunks. If chunks are found, continue to puree until completely smooth.
Storing Homemade Baby Food
Congratulations. You’ve made homemade yellow squash baby food. Now it’s time to store your hard work for later use.
Ice Cube Tray Freezer Bag Method
Don’t have money for designated baby food containers? WholesomeBabyFood.com suggests spooning or pouring your puree into ice cube trays then covering them with plastic wrap.
Start by thoroughly cleaning the ice cube trays with warm water and dish soap. Alternatively, you can run the trays through the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher. Once frozen, transfer the baby food to a freezer bag.
“If using the freezer bag method for your food cubes, be sure to label the bags with the type of food and also date the bags,” says the blog.
Baby Food Jar or Container Method
You can also freeze homemade baby food in baby food jars or containers. Homemade yellow squash baby food will stay fresh in the refrigerator for three days or in the freezer for three months.
Cooking Light recommends pouring the puree into clean, empty glass baby food jars with air-tight lids or in individual serving containers with lids. Store the puree in single servings to avoid waste and ensure food safety.
The Wax Paper Cookie Sheet Method
Another simple method for freezing homemade baby food involves a cookie sheet and wax paper. Similar to scooping out cookie dough, scoop out small portions of puree onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.
Place the cookie sheet into the freezer until solid, and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Blogger and photographer Laura Radniecki recommends using this method for thicker purees. Thin or runny purees will spread out instead of mound.
Homemade baby food is affordable, easy to make, and an excellent way to add extra nutrients to your little one’s diet. Once you’ve mastered yellow squash, prepare other flavors for your baby to enjoy.