Carrots are an excellent first food for babies. Their texture and sweet taste make them a popular option for babies, while the nutritional benefits can score big points with parents. Let’s take a look at what makes carrots so healthy and how you can prepare them in healthy, tasty, and fun ways for your baby!
Benefits of carrot puree for your baby’s health
Infancy and early childhood are especially important times for brain and eye development. And carrots are an excellent source of nutrition for your little one during these periods of rapid growth.
Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a precursor for vitamin A, which improves vision and organ development in babies. Beta-carotene also has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can boost babies’ immune systems.
Carrots are also rich in vitamin C and K, which help support immunity, iron absorption, and the production of proteins that are needed for blood clotting and bone building. They are also a fiber-rich food, which helps with metabolism, digestion, and gut health.
There are so many benefits of carrots for baby. However, your little one likely isn't quite ready to start munching on raw baby carrots or carrot sticks quite yet. Puree carrots are a great way to introduce young babies to solid foods in the meantime.
How to serve carrots to babies
Carrots can be prepared in a variety of ways to conform to whatever approach you take to feeding.
They can be cut into ‘fries” and roasted in coconut or avocado oil, or better yet - bone marrow - and served baby-led weaning style. Or they can be steamed in bone broth and blended with olive oil plus meat and/or other more bitter veggies if you prefer purees. (For what it’s worth, when it comes to introducing solids to your little one, we love a combination of baby-led weaning (BLW) and purees—known as Baby-Led Introduction to Solids).
No matter how you choose to serve them, carrots are a great food to season with herbs and spices. Adding unique and savory flavors into your little one’s diet during the critical flavor window can help shape their palate for years to come!
How to prepare carrot puree
Carrot purees can be made in several different ways, so there’s no need to run out and buy tools or equipment geared specifically toward making homemade baby food—you can make a delicious puree with the tools you already have at home.
How to choose carrots?
When preparing to make your little one a delicious carrot puree, opt for fresh and organic carrots whenever they are available. Some research suggests that organic produce may provide more micronutrients, including antioxidants than conventionally grown crops.
Additionally, choosing organic can help reduce the pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and heavy metals found in the produce.
(A loaded topic for sure, but learn about Our Reaction to the Toxic Metals in Baby Food Report and where Serenity Kids stands with regard to FDA regulation on heavy metals in baby food. And if you don’t feel like reading, know that we are fully committed to the health and safety of our babies and yours, which is why we choose to follow European standards for heavy metals—which are among the strictest in the world—and urge the FDA to hold other companies to a higher standard.
Tools for making carrot puree
Before starting with any recipe, gather all the tools you’ll need so you’re prepared and can easily move right along through the steps.
- Vegetable peeler
- Knife for chopping carrots
- Cutting board
- Saucepan, baking sheet, or steamer basket
- Blender or food processor
- Ice cube tray or other storage containers for the fridge or freezer
Carrot puree step-by-step
Once you’ve gathered your tools and ingredients, making a carrot puree can be quick and easy by following these steps.
- Wash, peel, and chop raw carrots into slices
- Steam, saute, or roast carrots until soft (note: boiling can cause more nutrient loss than other cooking methods, and it also tends to dilute flavor)
- Combine cooked carrots with any additional ingredients, such as herbs, spices, cooked meats, and other cooked vegetables
- Use a blender or food processor to puree the cooked carrots and other ingredients until you achieve your desired consistency
- Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor, as needed, to avoid unwanted chunks in your final product (but know that as your baby grows, leaving the puree a bit chunky can help introduce new textures and a new sensory experience)
- Allow your carrot puree to cool
- Add breast milk, formula, bone broth, or water as needed to thin the puree to your desired consistency (note: add breast milk or formula just before serving)
- Serve it to your little one immediately, or store it in the fridge or freezer for later use.
How to store carrot puree?
Once you’ve prepared your delicious puree, you certainly don’t want it to go to waste. Fortunately, it will store great in the fridge or freezer, and can be reheated for your little one when you’re ready for another little burst of nutrition.
Carrot puree in the fridge
Storing carrot puree in the fridge is a great option if your little one will eat it within the next several days.
Follow these basic steps for storing carrot puree in the fridge:
- Allow the puree to cool. Allowing the puree to cool a bit ensures it won’t bring down the temperature of your refrigerator too much, causing a safety concern. It also helps to prevent moisture or ice from building up inside the container.
- Transfer to a BPA-free storage container with a lid. We love the Wee Sprout glass baby food storage jars and silicone baby food freezing tray.
- Consume within 1-2 days of preparation, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance.
Carrot puree in the freezer
If you don’t think you’ll get around to giving your little one the stored carrot puree within the next 3 days after preparation, it’s best to store it in the freezer.
Follow these basic steps for storing carrot puree in the freezer:
- Allow the puree to cool
- Transfer to a BPA-free storage container with a lid, preferably in individually sized containers so you can thaw only one portion at a time. Depending on the age of your child and how much they eat, there are many different sizes of small containers made specifically for homemade baby food.
- Mark the date of preparation on the container. Let’s face it, by the time 2-3 months roll around, you’ll have a long list of other things on your mind. Marking the date on the container will be one less thing you have to remember.
- Consume within 3 months of preparation, according to the FDA guidelines
- Do not refreeze after thawing
How to reheat carrot puree
The FDA cautions parents on the risks of microwaving baby food, due to uneven heating. Stirring well can help to mitigate this risk.
If possible, the best option for thawing your frozen carrot puree is to transfer the frozen container to the fridge the day/night before you want to use it and allow it to thaw overnight.
You can also place the frozen container in warm water and stir periodically to ensure even heating. This is also a great way to reheat carrot puree that was stored in the fridge.
Use your thawed carrot puree within 1-2 days to reduce the risk of food-borne bacterial infections.
Depending on the size of the portion you reheat, you may find yourself with leftovers. Avoid putting a container of baby food back in the fridge if you’ve fed your baby directly from the container. The saliva from the spoon can contaminate the remaining baby food and lead to bacterial growth.
Tasty combinations for your baby’s carrot puree
Purees in general are an easy way to experiment with different recipes and incorporate a variety of flavors into your little one’s foods. There are so many different homemade baby food combinations, which is an excellent way to give your baby a range of nutrients.
Some of our favorite ingredients to include in a carrot puree recipe include:
- Veggies: spinach, kale, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, and butternut squash are great options
- Other root veggies: sweet potatoes, turnips, or parsnips complement carrots nicely
- Protein: chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, or organ meats (yes, organ meats! Check out our article Why, and How, to Feed Your Kids Organ Meats)
- Herbs and spices: carrots taste great with warm and savory spices like as thyme, rosemary, sage, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon
- Fats: babies NEED fat! Mix carrot puree with grass fed ghee, whipped bone marrow, coconut oil, or olive oil.
Tasty carrot puffs that are good for your baby
While carrots may be packed with a ton of nutrients for your little one, homemade puree baby food isn’t always the best “grab-and-go” option. Fortunately, there are more convenient options available—like baby puffs.
Baby puffs are small snacks designed specifically for babies and toddlers. They dissolve quickly, so if your baby doesn’t have teeth yet—no problem! They’re also the perfect snack for your little one to practice the pincer grasp. To learn more, visit our article When Can Babies Have Puffs?
Our Carrot & Beet Grain Free Baby Puffs with Olive Oil are the perfect snack for when you’re on the go but don’t want to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. These deliciously savory puffs are made with whole food ingredients, like organic cassava root, carrots, sweet potato, beet, olive oil, ginger, and rosemary and NO grains, inflammatory oils, or added sugar. (To learn more about why we are grain free, check out our articles Why We Are Grain Free and No Grains, No Problems!)
Can carrots cause allergies? When to visit a doctor
Carrot allergies are extremely rare, but they can occur. It’s important to be aware of the common signs of a food allergy, so you know when to seek medical attention.
Common signs of a food allergy include:
- Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
- Skin reaction, such as rash, hives, or itching
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
For parents concerned with food allergies, it’s a common practice to introduce one food at a time in case your little one reacts to something they’ve eaten. If you believe your child may have a food allergy, it’s important that you consult a health professional immediately.
Serenity Kids Offers Nutrient-Dense Options, Without the Mess
Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or desire to make homemade carrot baby food. Fortunately, our range of pureed baby food pouches offers a convenient option without sacrificing nutrition.
Our Organic Carrots Medley Baby Food Pouches are an excellent option for any parent, whether they’re looking for something to grab when they’re on the go, or simply looking for something packed with nutrients. They’re made with organic orange, yellow, and purple carrots, as well as organic olive oil to balance blood sugar, enhance satiety, and aid in nutrient absorption and brain development.
Our Organic Carrot, Spinach and Basil Baby Food Pouches are made with farm-to-high-chair organic veggies and organic olive oil, without the sugary fruits and added sugar that are commonly found in other baby food brands.
Our Free Range Chicken Baby Food Pouch with Organic Peas and Carrots is another one of our deliciously savory carrot options. It’s made with high-quality, ethically sourced meat and organic veggies sourced from American farms. For a hit of healthy fats, we add avocado oil.
We also offer several variety packs, like our Meat & Veggies Variety Pack, so your little one can try out several different nutrient-packed options. We’re sure your baby will love them all, and you will love knowing that they are made with high-quality ingredients, without all the fillers and junk that you don’t want to see in your little one’s food.