I have been preparing for a train trip across the country. I plan on packing a cooler for the train ride, (to save money and to at least start the trip off with nutritional food). I was faced with a dilemma for my 8 month old daughter. I can pack some hard boiled eggs for her and scoop out the yolk, and make homemade pureed baby food that I can keep cold for the first 7 hours. But the train ride is over 24 hours long! At home I like to feed her grated frozen liver, runny egg yolks, and even fish eggs. However keeping these foods cold until we reached our destination will be very difficult, unless I have a large insulated cooler, which is not going to happen. (We have to bring 2 car seats and that will limit what we can pack).
There are some decent options for organic baby food, but the safer type seems to be in a jar. I have heard too many stories of baby food that is contaminated with mold, or even maggots. Yuck. This seems to be a bigger issue with the “squeezie” packaging, which would be the most convenient for travel.
Many say food before one is just for fun, and there may be some truth to that, depending on the baby. My daughter still gets most of her nutrition through breast milk. However, she has been eating solids since she was 6 months, so I knew I needed to bring food for her.
One day I was dehydrating some greens to make a “green powder” for smoothies, and I had an epiphany. Why don’t I just dehydrate some vegetables to bring for our trip? It will not have to be kept cold, and I can bring some bottled water to add to it. It seemed to be the answer to my problems.
So I started to experiment. I made some mashed sweet potatoes and dehydrated them. They were a little too chunky when I dehydrated them, so when I tried to make a powder it was a little chunky. But it WORKED!!
I tried to process veggies a few different ways, and I seem to have a good system now, so I thought I should share my process.
Dehydrated Baby Food – Carrots
- Wash and peel the carrots.
- Shred the carrots. (I use a food processor, but I have also used this salad shooter for shredding vegetables.
- Cover the shredded vegetables with water in a large stainless steel pot. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
- Let the carrots cool slightly, and drain slightly if there is a lot of liquid on top.
- Pour the carrot mixture into a high speed blender and puree until it is blended evenly. (Don’t worry if it is soupy, it will be dehydrated so this does not really matter).
- Line your dehydrator trays with parchment paper, and pour your mixture into the middle of the tray. (It will be a big circle).
- Holding the edges of the tray, tilt the tray from front to back and left to right until the mixture spreads out evenly.
- Follow the directions in your dehydration book for dehydrating carrots. For me this was 125 F for around 12 hours. I let it dehydrate overnight and processed it in the morning.
- Remove the dehydrated carrot pieces and place them in a blender. ( I use a Vitamix).
- I blended the mixture until I got a “carrot powder”. Then stored the carrot powder in a small mason jar in the freezer. (You don’t have to store it in the freezer, but I am doing this until I get more confident in my dehydrating skills).
Dehydrated baby food is not just for travel! I plan on storing vegetables from our CSA and our garden like this. Then I can easily mix different vegetables together for variation. (I can use homemade bone broth and add a few different vegetable powders for nutritionally dense soups). I am very excited about this!
I have dehydrated carrots and a fresh zucchini/carrot mixture this way. It was a big hit too! She loved it!
I am also going to bring some freeze dried liver caps, so I can add a little bit of liver to the vegetables too.
I tried to puree banana but it was a little sticky. (I may not have dehydrated it long enough). But it will be exciting to dehydrated fresh veggies from the season! I can’t wait!
Do you have a dehydrator? Have you tried dehydrating baby food?