Parents may be concerned about nasties like BPA in packaged baby food, but the thought of preparing nutritious food from scratch can be daunting: which is where products such as the Beaba Babycook and the new Philips Avent combined Steamer Blender come in.
All-in-one devices designed to prepare mushy food with minimum fuss, they certainly are appealing to new parents, but how useful are they? We gave the Philips Avent combined Steamer Blender a spin to find out.
The blender-sized device is nice and straightforward to put together with only two settings: steam or blend. Following instructions, I added cubes of sweet potato to the jug, poured water into the reservoir, pressed the steam button and left to do some chores. Five minutes later I returned, flipped the lid jug over and pressed blend for approximately 30 seconds. The result? A delicious sweet potato puree which my infant daughter gobbled up - and I was happy to have a few spoonfuls too.
One of the benefits of these devices over some other methods of food preparation is that minimum water is used to cook the food and that water is retained when the food is then blended, ensuring full flavours - and nutrients - remain intact. It can be used on fruit, vegetables or meat and blended to the right consistency for your child’s age. All removable parts are dishwasher safe and BPA free and the steamer blender comes with a free cookbook for different stages of weaning.
As for the cons, well, it is rather noisy and if you like to prepare baby food in bulk and then freeze you may be disappointed by the small size of the jug, which only generates enough mush for a few servings. Then there is the price – with an RRP of $239.95 the device will be out of reach of many families.
Still, as an investment for families with multiple babies (or more on the way), and with the added safety benefits of a benchtop device over a stove, the steamer blender definitely has its place in the kitchen.