When most people think of making pureed food they think of making homemade babyfood.
But there are tons of reasons you might want to use your blender to puree food.
Think about the last time you had some dental work done. Wouldn’t you have appreciated some flavorful, nutritious, chewing-free meals?
Pureed foods are also a great way to do mealprep, or to create a healthier summer treat.
Pureeing food in a blender is a relatively simple process, but you do need to know what you’re doing to get the best results. I’ve put together this guide to help you get perfect purees every time, but I also hope that some of the information inspires you to try new kinds of purees.
From soups to sauces to frozen desserts, purees are a lot more useful than you might think!
In this guide you’ll learn:
- How to turn different kinds of food into a perfect puree
- What you need to make different purees
- How to store puree safely
- And much more!
What's in this Guide?
What Are The Benefits of Blending Your Own Puree?
The most common puree in most households might be baby food, but you probably already have another puree or two in your home. Fruit popsicles, for instance, are often made from a fruit puree. If you prefer smooth pasta sauces to more rustic chunky creations, those sauces were probably also pureed.
Making those purees at home instead of buying them at the store is a great way to control the ingredients and nutrition of your food. You’ll be able to avoid the high levels of added salt and sugar that are so common in processed meals.
Making puree at home can also be a great way to save on expenses. Ingredients are cheap. Running your blender doesn’t take a lot of effort.
You can push your savings even further if you have some freezer space because almost all purees freeze well. You can freeze ice-cube servings of your favorite sauce, bags of your best pureed squash soup, and so much more.
You can also often puree and freeze components of meals. One example is sweet potato pie. Once the sweet potato is cooked, one of the easiest ways to mix the pie custard and get a smooth, even consistency is to puree everything together.
Why only make enough custard for one pie? You can easily make enough custard for two or three pies, and freeze the leftover puree to use later.
The big advantage of pureeing food this way is that it doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to make more puree but having more means less time spent in meal prep down the road.
I really enjoyed this introduction to making fantastic vegetable purees, it shows the process and gives you some fantastic tips to help your purees turn out better every time.
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What You Need To Know About Making Homemade Pureed Foods
With the advantages I’ve already discussed in mind it’s time to talk about the details.
Pureeing food seems simple at first but can quickly get more complicated as you start to experiment with making and storing more puree.
One of the first things you need to know is that who your puree is for should make a big difference in the ingredients you choose and how you prepare them.
Who You’re Making Puree For
For example, you should cook everything that isn’t a banana or an avocado if you’re pureeing baby food. Steaming the ingredients, or cooking using another low-fat method, helps make the baby food easier to digest.
Read More >> What are the Top Blenders for Baby Food?
If you’re making puree for an elderly person you may want to season it differently than a puree for you. Not only is their personal taste important but the elderly also often struggle to taste certain flavors. They also might need the same digestive aid as a baby.
You should also know that how you store your puree can affect it’s finished texture and flavor. It can also be important to make sure you’re storing your puree in a way that’s safe for every ingredient.
How to Store Puree, and a Safety Precaution
Canning and freezing are the two most common types of long term puree storage.
You can’t safely store canned pumpkin puree because the standard canning process doesn’t eliminate the possibility of botulinum toxin developing in the pumpkin. Freezing your pumpkin puree is perfectly safe.
Puree isn’t All Sweet, a Note on Savory Puree
Meat, mushrooms, and other umami rich foods can also be pureed. Make sure you always fully cook any meat you want to puree. Preferably you should use a slow cooking method that helps make the meat more tender before it goes in the blender.
You need to make sure all meats are fully cooked because any surviving bacteria still in the meat will be able to reproduce and grow in puree.
Don’t let that discourage you since pureed meats, mushrooms, and other savory ingredients can make excellent pate, and even serve as sauces for roasts. They can be a fantastic way to impress guests.
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Make the Most of Your Blender
The last things you need to know are more about your blender than the puree itself.
Before you start making any puree you should consider the ability of your blender. Are the blades at the bottom, or do you have a Ninja with blades throughout the blender jar?
That’s an important consideration because you’ll need more liquid to puree food if the blender blades are at the bottom. The liquid helps your food move more evenly through the blender. Movement is the key to getting smooth evenly processes puree instead of a chunky mess.
Blenders that have a central blade with cutting surfaces all the way up the jar generally need a little less liquid. If you’re looking for a drier or thicker puree, it might worth using that style of blender instead of a traditional blade at the bottom design.
You also need to know what your blender’s heat tolerance is. Some blenders can handle pureeing soups right off the stove while other blenders don’t do well with anything much over room temperature.
If your blender currently can’t handle higher heat, consider looking to see if there are any jar upgrades available. It’s often cheaper to get a new, more durable, jar for your blender than to replace your whole blender with a more heat tolerant system.
Unfortunately you’ll need a relatively heat tolerant blender for most kinds of puree. The main exceptions are for frozen purees and puree that doesn’t have any kind of added fat.
Read More >> What are the Top Blenders for Indian Cooking?
Supplies You’ll Need To Make Your Own Pureed Food in a Blender
Fortunately most basic purees are relatively simple. You’ll only need three ingredients for the most basic purees, and any additional ingredients you add will still fit into these basic categories.
- Primary flavor ingredients
- Liquid ingredients to help thin the puree
- Added fat to help improve the texture, taste, and appearance of your puree.
As long as you have those three ingredient groups you’ll likely get a great tasting puree that also looks fantastic on a plate, and has the coveted silky mouthfeel of the best puree.
There are almost endless possible combinations of ingredients you can use to make a puree. I’m not going to go into a list here, simply because there are so many possible combinations to be considered.
Feel free to experiment and come up with your own puree combinations.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the three ingredient rule. For instance, a strawberry lemonade puree for popsicles would probably taste a little odd with added fats. So, instead of adding fat, that’s a puree you can make with only two ingredients: strawberries and lemonade.
In addition to the ingredients you need to make a fantastic puree, you’ll also need some basic equipment to make sure you can create a fantastic puree.
- A high quality blender
- Blender tamper
- A large bowl full of ice
- A smaller bowl that fits inside the bowl of ice
- A spatula or large spoon to transfer the puree between different containers
- Containers for storage (if making a large batch)
Before I get into the method of making pureed foods, I want to take a moment to talk about storing your puree.
If you’re going to use the puree immediately in your next meal you probably don’t need to worry about storage. However, one of the easiest ways to deal with puree is to make a large batch of puree all at once and then store some if for later use.
There are two main storage methods that will let you store puree long term, freezing and canning.
For short term storage a container in the refrigerator works perfectly well.
However, if you’re looking to can your puree you always need to check and see what the safest method is. You should also be prepared that squash is not the only food that does not can safely as a puree.
Always check to make sure your puree can be safely canned.
Freezing puree is generally very safe. The biggest drawback of freezing puree is that it can change the texture of the finished product. You’re a lot more likely to get a grainy puree if your freeze a mixture that isn’t fully emulsified.
It’s a good idea to experiment with freezing a small amount of puree the first time to see how freezing changes the texture when it’s thawed.
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What Are The Different Ways to Make Pureed Food in a Blender
Making puree uses the same basic process regardless of what you’re making. The exact blending times can vary a good bit between different types of ingredients, and you may need different ratios of the ingredients for different textures and ingredients.
Just remember that you’ll typically want to cook and even overcook most of the ingredients you’re using in a puree.
You may have to tweak the basic process a little bit depending on the kind of blender you’re working with. More powerful blenders will be able to puree larger batches all at once, while less powerful blenders will probably need a little more liquid content to create a good puree.
How To Make Puree in a Blender (5 Steps)
- Pre Cook All Solid Ingredients
- Add Solid Ingredients to Your Blender and Start Blending
- Add Liquid Ingredients
- Add Fat (preferably while puree is hot)
- Cool Puree before Serving or Storing
Step 1: Pre Cook All Solid Ingredients
The first thing you need to do when you’re making puree is to pre-cook all of your ingredients. Ideally you should cook everything until it’s a very soft texture, even if that means over-cooking them slightly.
The cooking method is almost entirely up to you. Steaming is a good way to cook foods if you don’t want to change the flavor very much. Baking works well for starchy ingredients, but you can also saute or boil your solid ingredients.
Go ahead and lightly season your ingredients (if desired). Cooking multiple ingredients together is also a good option. Don’t feel limited to a single flavoring ingredient. Ideally your ingredients should be a similar texture, but it’s not a true requirement.
Step 2: Add Solid Ingredients to Your Blender and Start Blending
Once your solid ingredients are fully cooked, add them to your blender. Ideally you should do this while the ingredients are still relatively warm so that you can properly emulsify (combine) the fats that you’re going to add later.
If your blender isn’t very heat tolerant it’s okay to wait for your solid ingredients to cool slightly. Heat is most important if you’re using a solid fat additive like lard, butter, or coconut oil. If you have to cool your ingredients before blending consider using liquid fats like peanut or canola oil.
Go ahead and start the blender now if you have a lid that will allow you to add liquid ingredients while it’s blending.
Step 3: Add Liquid Ingredients
The next step is to add your liquid ingredients. Use as little liquid as possible for a thick puree, and more liquid if you’re looking for more of a soupy texture.
Ideally add the liquids while the blender is running, and after the solid ingredients have already starting to blend down.
Pour the liquid slowly. It’s really easy to add too much liquid and get the wrong texture.
Fortunately, puree is relatively forgiving in this stage, so if you don’t add enough liquid right away you can add a little more to reach the texture you want.
Blend for at least 30 seconds (on puree) after adding the liquid.
Step 4: Add Fat (preferably while puree is hot)
Keep the blender on while you add your chosen fat if possible. Add all of the fat you think you’ll need.
It’s important to have an exact measurement because your puree is much less forgiving after you’ve added some fat, and won’t have the same texture if you add other ingredients after adding some fat.
Watch your puree carefully at this stage. You want the fats to fully combine and emulsify into your puree which can take different amounts of time depending on the fat you’re using and the other ingredients in your puree.
You’re looking for the puree color to change slightly and to be one consistent color in the blender with no streakiness.
Try not to over-blend. Once it looks like it’s been completely combined, stop your blender.
Step 5: Cool Puree before Serving or Storing
Feel free to skip cooling your puree if it’s meant to be served hot, like some pureed soups.
For the last step, grab your bowl of ice and the bowl that fits inside it. Press the second bowl as deep into the ice as you can to help distribute heat more evenly. Ideally this bowl should be made of glass, metal, or another heat-conducting material.
Pour your puree into the bowl. Use a spatula or large spoon to get all of it out of your blender. You’ll also want to gently stir the puree in the bowl as it cools.
Stirring it helps make sure that the fats stay combined as the puree cools. It also helps make sure the texture stays the same throughout your puree.
Once your puree is cooled to at least room temperature you can transfer it to a storage container or serve.
My Final Thoughts on Making Puree in a Blender
Pureeing food is one of those techniques that’s incredibly easy to learn but difficult to master. Don’t worry if your first few attempts at pureed food don’t turn out quite the way you want them to.
Once you’ve figured out the technique and get consistent results you’ll be surprised how much you use this technique to prepare foods.
Last thing, enjoy experimenting!