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What Is Organic Baby Cereal?

Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins

The first solid foods that most babies get to taste after a long diet of milk are various cereals, from oats and barley to rice and wheat. Many parents go a step forward to ensure that only an organic baby cereal makes its way to their babies' bodies. This not only means the grain is grown without pesticides or genetic modifications, but also that it is processed with the whole nutrient-rich husk and without any preservatives or unnatural additives.

A range of products line the shelves, touting an organic source of grain. Many tout that their organic baby cereal is whole-grain as well as single grain, allowing babies to gain an individual appreciation for each type of grain they will experience in many other permutations later in life. Most of these cereals are sold dehydrated, with just warm water needed to make them ready to eat.

A baby.
A baby.

If grain is grown with organically derived seeds and no added chemicals, it is likely to be certified as such on the packaging by a recognized agricultural institution. Some grow their own organic grains in the garden, and then they clip the grain heads, dry them for a week, and thresh the grain heads to remove the chaff from the valuable seeds. This can happen as soon as the seeds have gotten past their moisture-rich periods and display hard-to-penetrate husks.

To make organic baby cereal, the seeds can be dried, cooked and mashed into a paste, or they can be ground into a powder with a food processor, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. The latter method has the most culinary approval. If the seeds grind to a paste, it is too early to make cereal; the seeds need more drying time. Leaving them to dry for a few more days or baking them at a low temperature for just an hour or two will solve this problem. Doing so will lightly toast the seeds, potentially leading to a slightly heightened flavor. This resulting powder can then be cooked with some water to become nutrient-preserved, organic baby cereal like oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat and rice cereal.

Since the goal of inorganic and organic baby cereal is transitioning babies to table food, many parents use certain methods to make the food both nutritious and flavorful. Some add even more iron and vitamins by mixing the cereals with baby formula, and then gradually pureeing new fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and maybe a new spice occasionally. New foods should not be added too rapidly, health experts advise, because it often takes several sittings for babies to gain an appreciation for the taste of certain foods.

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      By: Lev Dolgatsjov
      A baby.