Strainer for baby food
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Fine Mesh Strainers vs Colanders
Ask Casey · Kitchen Recommendations
ByCasey Barber Last Updated:
Do you have any tips for when to use a fine-mesh strainer instead of a colander and cheesecloth? I’m trying to make my own baby food, and I’d love to hear any tips on straining food better, faster, and with less mess and drama (if that’s even possible).
While they seem almost interchangeable, as you have already discovered, colanders are not strainers.
Colanders have larger holes, which are typically punched through metal or plastic.
They’re great for when you’ve got more or less solid ingredients that need to be separated from liquid (the most obvious being draining pasta) or for rinsing ingredients like produce, so the dirt and dust can easily drain away.Photo: Casey Barber
Strainers, on the other hand, have a fine-mesh metal weave, ideally made out of stainless steel for longevity and dishwashability.
The fine mesh helps you separate two ingredients that are either both very similar in liquidity and texture (like fruit purees) or to rinse or drain ingredients that are smaller in size (like quinoa or lemon seeds) that would fall through the holes of a colander.
I use my strainers constantly when making ice cream so I’ll have the most luscious, smooth custard base ever.Photo: Casey Barber
They’re also essential for sno cone syrups and summer fruit pops, keeping watermelon mush and strawberry seeds out of my beautiful fresh fruit juices while keeping all the flavor in the liquid.
To strain purees well, you’ll want to use a fine-mesh strainer large enough so that your puree won’t slosh over the edges as you stir it with a spatula.
Stirring speeds up the draining process, but it still requires patience and a tiny bit of arm strength.Photo: Casey Barber
If you’d rather not wait around and stir, many professional cooks also often turn to a chinois, which is a fine-mesh strainer that looks like a big metal ice cream cone.
A chinois lets gravity do some of the work for you with its conical shape. The liquid drains through the holes while the solids stay in the bottom of the cone.
I use my chinois for the first pass at straining my cold-brew coffee, which is a lot less messy than a shallow strainer.
If you’re trying to get a smooth texture on a thick puree (for mashed potatoes, applesauce, or tomato sauce, you can always use a food mill.
With three discs for fine, medium, and coarse puree, the mill fits over a large bowl and uses a hand crank instead of a spatula to push the puree through while keeping seeds, skins, and other unsavory bits out.
Finally, as for cheesecloth… if you’re using it to strain items like, say, ricotta cheese or nut milk, I would recommend getting a big stack of washable, reusable flour sack towels instead.Photo: Casey Barber
Cheesecloth is a big pain, frankly, and flour sack towels are much sturdier. I use mine to strain homemade ricotta and as a final pass on my cold brew coffee.
Plus, you can cut them up into smaller squares to use as covers for your jars when making homemade kombucha, or as impromptu teabags when using loose herbs and leaves for sun tea.
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» Choosing the right sieve for preparing baby food
As soon as the baby is 4 months old, every mother begins to think about complementary foods. She is worried about what to give the baby and, of course, how to properly prepare baby food. Only a pediatrician can answer the question about the procedure for introducing new foods into a child’s diet. Some children are recommended to start with cereals, while others are more suitable for fruit or vegetable purees.
Whatever the food, it must be thoroughly crushed. Only in this case it will be convenient for the little man to swallow, and his stomach to easily digest a new product. nine0005
The use of a sieve is recommended to obtain a uniform texture, as even a good blender can leave small pieces of food. Consider what kind of colanders, sieves can be used to prepare baby food and how much they cost.
A sieve mug will make a perfect baby porridge
There are a lot of boxes with different baby porridges in stores. But not all mothers are in a hurry to buy them. And the point is not even the cost of mixtures, but the desire to know exactly what and what quality their crumbs eat. nine0003
For those who decide to cook porridges from real grains, the Peterhof PH-12709 sieve mug, which can be purchased for 5-6 dollars, will be very useful. A small strainer and a convenient lever of this kitchen gadget allow you to quickly sift the cereals previously ground in a coffee grinder. The mug helps to make perfect flour from buckwheat, rice or other grain. The porridge prepared from it can be given to the baby not only from a spoon, but also poured into a bottle, diluted with milk.
What should be the puree sieve
In contact with metal, vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables is partially destroyed. Other valuable components contained in products can also be oxidized. That is why it is recommended to wipe vegetables and fruits through a sieve made of high-quality food-grade plastic. It's just that it's hard to find it. For example, for $ 3 you can buy a bright plastic sieve Maestro MR-1164. It consists of a glass and a thin strainer, through which it is convenient to strain freshly squeezed juice, but it definitely will not withstand daily mashing. Most of the proposed plastic models have too large holes and are more like colanders. nine0003
Not finding a good plastic sieve, mothers choose a quality stainless steel model and try to wipe vegetables and fruits as quickly as possible. This minimizes vitamin C losses.
Standard stainless steel sieves are available from many manufacturers, but only Westmark has developed an accessory specifically for pureeing. Her model is 1198-2260, which can be bought for $30, has a large diameter (20 cm), convenient pot holders, a rotating mechanism for rubbing vegetables, fruits, berries, as well as boiled meat and fish. With it, you will definitely be able to cook mashed potatoes very quickly.
Screen prices can seem quite high. However, many mothers are willing to pay for the confidence that they are made of real stainless steel, and not from an alloy based on harmful aluminum. In addition, a high-quality sieve will last a long time, allowing you to delight a little fidget with delicious purees for many years. nine0003
More articles on this topic:
November 30, 2016
Category Interesting reading
Zucchini puree for the first feeding
The introduction of zucchini in the first feeding is recommended by WHO, and zucchini puree for baby food can be prepared without any problems yourself. There is nothing complicated in growing zucchini and the mature fruits of many varieties can be stored throughout the entire frosty period. The pulp of the fruit with elementary heat treatment retains its beneficial properties and is easily absorbed by the child's body even from an early age. nine0003
- How to cook courgettes for the first meal
- Courgettes for complementary foods in baby food
- Composition of marrow
- Benefits of zucchini for children and adults
How to prepare zucchini for the first feeding
If you decide to start feeding your baby, start with zucchini. It will be the best addition to breast milk or adapted formula. Zucchini is a hypoallergenic product and contains a large amount of nutrients needed by the child. nine0003
Zucchini puree recipe
Cooking zucchini puree for the first feeding at home. Of the ingredients you need only zucchini and water. Let's start by rinsing the zucchini under cool running water. Peel off the skin and cut into cubes. Next 2 options. Either put it in boiling water, cook the zucchini for 6-10 minutes, while retaining the benefits of vitamin C. Or steam it, which will undoubtedly be tastier and healthier. Then we wipe through a sieve or grind with a blender. nine0003
You need to start complementary foods with one teaspoon, gradually day after day, increasing the number of spoons. It is important to introduce your child to this product at a very young age. When the child grows up, he will also need nutrients. And you can spoil him with many different zucchini dishes.
How to cook zucchini correctly and how much
For the first feeding, it is recommended to boil zucchini for up to 10 minutes. Usually this time is enough to soften the cut pieces. Do not forget that the longer the heat treatment of the vegetable takes place, the less vitamins and useful trace elements remain. Then everything is thoroughly crushed into puree and the first complementary foods are ready. Depending on the period of introduction of the puree to the baby, you can add a little vegetable oil to the puree if the mass of the portion of the puree has reached 100 g (usually on the 6th-7th day of feeding). nine0003
For the preparation of mashed potatoes, babies need to select only young and fresh zucchini fruits: without rot, cracks and dents. The fruit is thoroughly washed under running water. Then its lateral parts are cut off: the tail and the “butt”; peel is removed. The zucchini is cut lengthwise into several parts, from which the central soft part with seeds is removed. The remaining parts are cut into cubes. If the vegetable is bought at the market or in a store, it is recommended to soak the zucchini in clean water for about 2 hours to remove unnatural trace elements from the fruit in the form of fertilizers and pesticides. nine0003
How to freeze and defrost zucchini? Cooked cut fruit cubes in the right amount are placed in plastic bags or containers, and then in the refrigerator. For the preparation of frozen fruit puree, it is recommended to use a defrosted vegetable. To speed up the process, bags or containers with zucchini are placed in water at room temperature or under running tap water. After 1-2 hours, you can start cooking according to a known scheme.
Squash for complementary foods in baby food
Squash is widely used in baby food for its unique properties. In addition, vegetable squash purees are considered the most popular when introducing the first complementary foods to a child. One-component zucchini puree manufacturers recommend using for children from 4 months.
Table of the introduction of the first complementary foods with zucchini according to WHO recommendations
Baby food recommended for the first feeding includes Heinz zucchini puree, which additionally includes corn flour and water. A similar product is Hipp zucchini puree, which contains coarse rice flour. These products are sold in glass jars with a net weight of 80 grams, and the puree contains no salt, sugar, starch, preservatives or dyes. nine0003
At a later age, in baby food, zucchini is used with vegetables, fruits, cereals and meat. For children over 5 months:
- Frutonyanya Broccoli and Zucchini Puree
- Puree Frutonyanya zucchini and potatoes
- Frutonyanya puree cauliflower and zucchini
- Puree Frutonyanya apples and zucchini
- Frutonyanya zucchini-oatmeal puree
- Gerber Potato and Zucchini Puree
- Puree Gerber apples and zucchini
Children's puree Tyoma beef with zucchini is recommended to try not earlier than 6 months from birth.
Ingredients of zucchini
Zucchini is a source of substances that have a beneficial effect on digestion. They contain a small amount of calories when cooked (20 to 25 kcal per 100 grams), so you can use them in food during therapeutic diets.