When E was a baby the first foods he tried were strawberries, avocado and chickpeas. We hand fed them to him or mashed them lightly with a fork and gradually expanded his palatte with food from our plate (although he didn’t have meat or bread until he was well over one). We didn’t consider pureeing having read about the benefits of baby led weaning where baby learns to chomp and then swallow rather than getting used to spoon fed purees and then having to learn to chew more solid food. We started using Nom-Nom Kids pouches as he reached pre-school age as smoothies were a convenient way of getting fruit and veg into him (and keeping his packed lunch chilled) but that was the extent of my food blending.
Baby L has had a slightly different introduction to food, determined by the busy-ness of life as a second child, rather than any planning on my part. He started sucking frozen banana at 5 months of age to ease teething pain and quickly took to grabbing things straight from our plates. He’s quite the fruit monster and will happily try anything as long he gets to hold it himself. Apart from making smoothies to drink we’ve not really mashed his food too much for him.
It might seem odd therefore to accept the challenge of reviewing a product specifically aimed at pureeing food for babies. I thought it would be fun to see if the OXO mash maker baby food millwas a gadget with a longer shelf life than the first 6 months of baby’s food journey. Baby L is 18 months old and I immediately had thoughts of easy fruit sauce dressed yoghurt puddings, fruit pureed pancake fillings, and making all sorts of dips to encourage L to snack more on veg. We started simply, mashing single fruits and big brother E was thrilled to be able to help. The blade in the mill is neither sharp nor easily accessible for little fingers so we even let Luca have a go. To compare mashing results we took two avocado’s and hand mashed the first (top photos) with a fork for the same amount of time it took to mill mash the second avocado (bottom photos – that’s a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce in the second picture not a past-its-best avocado!).
The thing I love about the mash maker is its compact size. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that bulk making recipes is false economy when you grow tired of the same thing after 2 days or the flavour changes from being chilled in the fridge for too long. The Oxo mash maker is a small one cup amount and it takes little effort to use it as a feeding bowl that you just happen to turn the handle on to transform your own meal into mash. You can spoon feed baby straight from the food mill too so there’s no extra washing up created and it’s really portable for taking out to restaurants if eating out. We’ve always opted to give the kids food from our plate rather than buying a something-with-chips kids dinner. We played restaurants with last night’s dinner and a small portion of everything on E’s plate and this is how it turned out:
Amazingly having mashed this mini meal for the purposes of the review L just picked up a spoon and started eating it! (he’d already eaten some of his veg and had climbed down from the table). I was really surprised as he generally refuses when I attempt to give him food on a spoon – perhaps that’s more to do with wanting to do everything for himself rather than what I’m actually offering. And in a week where he’s hardly eaten anything chewy due to sore gums he happily finished off this mashed version of dinner. I wonder if he’ll feel the same way tomorrow when he trials the pureed peas we turned into dip with a sprinkling of mint and drizzle of cream (E found these tricky to work into a mash as we just defrost our peas to preserve the nutrients rather than boiling them). We used the OXO baby food freezer tray to save some portions safe in the knowledge that the silicone lid would prevent any freezer burn or altering of the flavour.
This is such a versatile item to have in the kitchen and not just for baby food. Whizzing up a few raspberries made a lovely, naturally sweet coulis for some Greek yoghurt which E then instantly turned into home made sugar-free raspberry yoghurt.
E’s verdict? “I loved my yoghurt and look I’ve licked the cup completely clean”. And he had because the OXO measuring cup I’d served it in was not only a perfect baby portion amount but a 125ml measuring cup shallow enough for a small tongue to reach the bottom of. He’s requested it for all future pudding eating!
As the OXO mash maker food mill was developed as a product for babies starting their adventures with food I thought I’d also ask a friend with a 6 month old baby what she thought of it. “I smooth pureed all of my daughters food when she was a baby and it seemed to create an aversion in her to try anything more lumpy and she seemed to gag a lot when she did eat chewy food well into toddlerhood. So with my son I read up on baby led weaning and liked the idea of that approach. The mash maker is a good middle ground for us as we can use it for first flavours and chewier foods and gradually adjust the smoothness to a slightly lumpier version by just not milling it so much”.
The possibilities are endless with this lovely little gadget. We’ve also now made a chunky hummus with chickpeas and yoghurt and baby L’s current favourite is a beetroot dip. It’s great to know I can just pop it in my bag when we go out and be pleasantly surprised by what he’s interested in trying out with the simple turn of a handle. It would make a terrific gift for first time parents, afterall babies grow out of baby clothes gifts so quickly and this would continue to be useful long after the weaning stage is finished.
Disclosure: these products were sent to me by OXO UK to review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.