Fermenting: Recipes for Baby Led Weaning
In previous posts we have gone into depth about the benefits of having fermented foods in one’s diet. Now we would like to talk specifically about fermented foods for babies and for Baby Led Weaning. If you are a fan of Baby Led Weaning and have used or are planning to use this method of introducing solids, you may be wondering which foods are most beneficial to include in your baby’s diet. The best answer is to choose super foods, and fermented foods fall into the super food category. A great benefit of introducing fermented foods into your child’s diet is that it makes the transition from breast milk to solid foods a much gentler one.
Fermented foods contain similar nutrients to breast milk, including carbohydrates, saturated fat, and good bacteria (lactobacillius), all of which are easy on little stomachs. If you would like to read more about the benefits of fermenting please see our Fermenting: Benefits and Recipes post.
Lacto-fermented foods are made with whey. This is the clear liquid that can be skimmed off of sour cream, cream fraiche, cottage cheese, or yogurt. You can also “make” your own whey by simply letting your breast milk or raw cow or goat’s milk separate. The transparent liquid you will see is the whey.
Making Your Own Breast Milk Whey:
Breast milk is 60-80% whey, which means making our own whey is a fairly simple process, especially if you already pump or express milk on a regular basis.
- Express 3-6 oz of breast milk and place into a clean glass jar and cover it.
- Leave on counter for 24 hours or place in refrigerator for 2 days.
- The cream will gather at the top with the whey left underneath. You can skim off the cream and mix it with fruit for another nutritious food for your baby. Then use the whey that remains for recipes like the one below!
Recipe adapted from Super Nutrition for Babies
Lacto-Fermented Sweet Potatoes and Carrots:
Root vegetables are very good first foods for your baby. Sweet potatoes are particularly nutritious since they are great sources of potassium, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and vitamins A and C. A neat fact about sweet potatoes is that when they are baked the amount of vitamin C increases.
This recipe may also be used for carrots which are a great source of vitamin A, antioxidants and minerals.
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes or taro
- 1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. whey
- Breastmilk for thinning if you wish to use it as a puree.
Please take note that salt consumption is not recommended for babies under one year.
- Preheat your oven to 350°.
- Pierce the sweet potato or taro with a fork.
- In a shallow baking dish, bake the sweet potato for 1- 1 1/2 hours or until it is soft.
- Allow to cool.
- Peel and mash for your baby to experiment with eating with a spoon. For simply eating with hands, peel and leave in spears for easier grasping.
- Add in the whey and salt, then mix .
- Place in a mason jar with lid loosely on and leave on countertop for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours move the mixture to your refrigerator.
- Optional: Mix with a little ghee for added flavor and nutrients.
Recipe adapted from Super Nutrition for Babies
Turnips are a great source of vitamin C. While turnips may not be a staple food, you may discover that they are delicious when fermented!
- 6 turnips peeled and sliced very thinly by hand or in a food processor.
- 1 Tbsp. sea salt
- 4 Tbsp. whey
- 1 Tsp. Caraway seeds (optional)
- After peeling and slicing the turnips, place into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Place into a wide mouth mason jar and press down with meat hammer. Then, let the mixture sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes.
- Press turnips again until juice comes over the top of the mixture.
- Place lid loosely on and let stand on the countertop from one to three days.
- After the turnips have fermented, place into refrigerator. They are now ready to serve!
In the refrigerator these turnips with last up to six months.
Feel free to substitute other root vegetables for either of these recipes and you can also experiment with other textures and flavors with similar benefits. Try cabbage, beets, peppers, onion, cauliflower, squash, etc. Enjoy learning your baby’s favorites and yours, too.
Source: Adapted from The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care
Photo Credit: A meditative carrot, boy eating carrot spear, Simon Wheatley (CC); Steak Cut Sweet Potato Fries, sliced sweet potato, dollen(CC); Kirsten H; Darwin Bell, raw turnips, just off the turnip truck (CC)
Tags: babies, baby food, baby led weaning, breast milk, cook, fermented, fermented food, fermenting, fermenting food, Homemade Baby Food, make, milk, Organic Vegetables, Probiotics, recipe, recipes, roasted veggies, root veggies, toddler food, toddlers, vegetables, veggies, whey
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Kirsten is a military wife by day, an artist by night, and an around-the-clock-mommy to her (almost) two year old daughter and a son due in the Fall. She loves to travel and is always dreaming of her next adventure. Her interests include everything from extreme sports like skydiving and rock climbing to languages and studying philosophy. As a Californian now living in South Dakota, there is no taking that golden sunshine out of this California Girl.