15 answers

Using the Microwave

Hi mommas, So I just started my son on veggies and fruits a few months ago. My husband and I have decited to make his food for him. So I make a bunch of it and freeze it. Here's my question... When I'm thawing it, I put it in a baggie and then in hot water, instead of the microwave. I've heard that when you put stuff in the microwave it removes all the vitamins and nutrients... Did I hear wrong??? What should I do, do it the oldfashon way or nuke it???

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I second and third the plastic leaching issue. I think that's more of a concern than using the microwave (though I am very skeptical about the safety of microwaves!).

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I'm glad you asked this. I plan to make my own baby food and sometimes cook veggies in the microwave. I just Googled it, and found an encouraging article from the New York Times:

It looks like there was some article in 2003 saying broccoli loses nutrients in the microwave, then some study in 2006 proved otherwise. Very interesting. They said nuking it is better because it uses less heat, and certain vitamins are more heat-sensitive. Also, it said that nutrients can absorb into water (boiling or microwaved).

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Good for you for deciding to make your own baby food! I believe it's better to know exactly what's going in your baby's food and it will save you a bunch of money too! According to my research ("Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron, which has been like a bible for me), microwaving is the BEST way to cook and thaw foods as it retains the MOST nutrients. I have also heard/read that heating food by any method in plastic is to be avoided, as it leaches carcinogens in to the food. The only thing to be careful of when microwave-thawing food is the 'hot spots'. Be sure and stir everything thoroughly before feeding your baby. Also, never thaw or heat breast milk in the microwave as that does weaken the special infection fighting propeties in breast milk. Hope this helps!

I have heard of the same about nutrition being lost in the microwave. If you think about it, the microwave is a set of waves that immediately heat an item through energy at a fast rate. When in doubt just do it how grandma did!!!! Technology is not all that great sometimes!!!

I second and third the plastic leaching issue. I think that's more of a concern than using the microwave (though I am very skeptical about the safety of microwaves!).

How cool that you are making baby food! My husband was always the one who loved pureeing and freezing fresh veggies and fruits for our kids and we made baby food from time to time. He was also adamant about offering lots of variety for which I am grateful today because my kids love many different foods.

As far as any of your methods....I'm sure there is the correct way to do it. However, it wasn't always consistent in our household....sometimes we'd remember to put a frozen bag in the fridge the day before, sometimes nuked it (take it out of the bag, first) and other times put a baggie in hot water ...that probably depended on whether it was a fruit or veggie. However, the greatest thing is that you are trying to make homemade baby food and offering a fresh variety. Excellent start in life! Good luck.

I made my daughters baby food as well. After pureeing everything we put it in ice cube trays and froze it, so every time we needed a serving we just popped out a cube or two and nuked it. I figured if it was safe enough for me that she'd be ok. In order to preserve as many nutrients as possible though I often tried to anticipate lunch or dinner and take the cubes out ahead of time to let them just thaw on their own. She ate just about everything room temperature for the longest time anyway so it worked fine.

I'd avoid cooking in plastic, no matter how you heat it up. It's the heat that makes the plastic leach into the food - doesn't matter how it's heated up.

Hi D.,

The microwave is a better method for cooking veggies -- shorter cooking time leaves more nutrients than conventional boiling or steaming, and you can even use the cooking water to pop the cooked veggies in the blender to puree for the baby. BUT if you are partially cooking, freezing, and then reheating, you're triple-processing and that will deplete nutrients more than single cooking by any method. The less you work 'em over, the better.

It seemed wacky at the time, but I never gave my sons baby food -- my pediatrician urged me to try table food first, and we never looked back! They ate little bites of everything we had and it went fine. I nursed them till they were over age 1 and between that and table food, they grew up just great. Good luck and try just giving the baby your food, only tiny!

S. F.
mom to 2 strapping guys, 23 and 19!

Please skip the plastic container or baggie, whether the microwave or boiling water is used. You cannot trust that chemicals won't leach into your baby's food. Get a double boiler or put a pot with your frozen food in it within a pot of boiling water and then you don't have to worry! Additionally, I used to use a steamer (and still do) to cook all my kids veggies. You can make them really mushy or more firm depending on how long you let them steam.
You and your husband rock for being so concerned about your son's food!

I'm really surprised to hear people saying more nutrients are retained when cooking in the microwave. I have never heard that. I've always heard the exact opposite. Personally, I do not trust microwaves until I have more reliable info. I always steam my veggies for the shortest amount of time possible. And when I would puree it I would blend it with the cooking water which has some of the nutrients in it.

I tried the freezing thing and didn't like it. Instead I bought frozen veggies ( and sometimes fresh)and would just cook it right before I served it. It doesn't take long and was really easy. Also, I loved doing bananas, avocados, papayas, etc. All you have to do is mash 'em. Baked sweet potatoes are super easy too.

When I did freeze the veggies in icecube trays I would just take what I wanted to use to thaw in the refridgerator.

The bottle warmer I bought was duel purpose. I was able to heat the veggie cubes I made in little pyrex dish (size of a jar of baby food). Yes it took a little longer than the microwave but I felt better about giving it to him.

You asked an interesting question and received a lot of unique responses. I'm not sure on the answer, and wonder if some of the websites dedicated to making your own baby food have any information.

By the way, the "watering the plants with microwaved water" is an urban legend, and I encourage anyone interested to visit www.snopes.com (one of the leading website resources on filtering fact from fiction) to read about it: http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave/plants.asp

I do not know about the heat and losing nutrients, it may be a possibility either way depending on the heat. However, I do know there have been alarming studies on plastic in the nuke. The plastic releases toxins into the food, and therefore, into our bodies.
So, there you go. Something else to worry about!


You should never use a microwave. It emits radiation and basically changes the food's DNA hence the water killing the plant. Your body does not recognize food after it has been "nuked."

Actually to preserve any kind of nutrients in food it should never be heated to more than 116 degrees. The enzymes and vitamins, minerals are lost in its entirety. www.rawfood-life.com.

Detox Coach

Definately don't use the microwave. It does destroy the nutrients. Not only that, it changes the molecular structure of the food you eat when you heat it in a microwave. If you want to do some research on your own, you'll find some interesting studies and tests that were done with microwaved foods and even milk and coffee. I haven't used my microwave in over a year now and I can honestly say I don't even miss it. I use a toaster oven or the stove to heat leftovers.

I don't know, I know even cooking the veggies too much in boiling water also robs it of nutrients. Maybe because the micro zaps it and you can control the temp as well it over cooks them. Whatever you do be sure to put the veggies on a glass plate. never heat anything in plastic in the micro it changes something in the food that can cause cancer or something in our bodies.

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