The purpose of pureeing food is to prepare items that are easy to swallow and require little chewing. Although food is often pureed for infants, people with various conditions benefit from pureed food, including those who have difficulty swallowing or those with dental conditions. Nearly any food can be pureed, including fruits, vegetables, casseroles and certain salads. Even ground meat such as beef, chicken, lamb or turkey is easy to puree.
Cook ground meat using a moist cooking method. One simple method is to cook ground beef in foil. Place the beef in the center of a foil square, then bring the edges up and make a loose packet around the meat. Bake the meat at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Alternatively, simmer the ground meat in a saucepan with a small amount of low-sodium chicken or beef broth. Although you can fry ground meat for pureeing, meat cooked in oil isn't as healthy, particularly for infants. Don't cook meat in the microwave. Microwaves cook unevenly and the center of the meat may be uncooked.
While ground meat is the primary ingredient, a small amount of liquid or gravy is crucial if the consistency of the meat is too thick. For extra nutrition, add a cooked potato or carrot to the ground beef. For adults, you can season pureed ground meat with salt and pepper. Don't salt meat intended for infants or for people who follow a low-sodium diet.
A blender or food processor is handy for pureeing ground beef. For small amounts of ground beef, a food mill or baby food processor can be an effective tool. Avoid using implements such as a sieve and don't attempt to mash the meat with a fork, because the consistency of the puree won't be smooth and the puree will be difficult to swallow.
Cool ground meat before pureeing, then puree the ground meat with a small amount of hot liquid such as broth, juice or water. Once pureed, food should have the consistency of smooth mashed potatoes or applesauce.
Freeze pureed ground meat in an airtight plastic container, or for small servings, freeze the pureed meat in an ice-cube tray. Store the individual cubes in a resealable plastic freezer bag and use them as needed. Heat pureed meat in a small saucepan. Alternatively, put the frozen meat in a heatproof bowl, then put the bowl in a saucepan with a small amount of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Heat the puree to the desired temperature, stirring often.
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M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.