Top Tips To Make Perfect Purée
You will need a blender or a food processor. For each recipe, experiment with the quantity of liquid required to purée the solid food. The aim is to help those on puréed diets to enjoy the pleasures of eating while maintaining good nutrition.
Think FATT: Fortify, Appearance, Texture and Taste.
When appetites are reduced or intake is compromised, the following add extra calories to puréed food:
- Use milk /cream/gravy/stock/fruit juice to blend food not water.
- Whole milk can be fortified by adding milk powder (4 tablespoons per pint of milk)
- Melt butter into hot savouries.
- Add sugar to sweet foods.
- Add cream, custard, natural/greek yogurt or evaporated milk to stewed fruit or cake before puréeing.
- Blend honey, jam or syrup into sweet foods.
- Offer high-calorie milkshakes or fruit smoothies between meals.
The visual appearance of food has a huge impact on appetite.
- Include a variety of colour on the plate of a puréed meal.
- Be careful when blending green vegetables that can quickly turn from a bright green to an unappetising dull grey colour.
- Commercial moulds are available to improve the presentation of puréed food and are also time saving as you can prepare food in advance, put into the mould and freeze until ready to use.
- Serve food on attractive crockery, not plastic bowls.
Puréed food should be smooth and uniform in colour and appearance; more processing is required if texture is seen. Purée should be moist and hold its shape on a spoon; if it drips or runs off the spoon, it may be too thin. If so, use thickening agents such as Thick and Easy powder or add a puréed tin of chickpeas/plain beans to thicken soups or savoury dishes. Puréed food does not require any chewing.
- Most vegetables produce smoother purées if they are fully cooked before being blended/mashed.
- Remove all firm or fibrous parts such as skins and seeds.
- Prepare vegetables into small, even sized pieces to cook as they’ll cook at the same speed and blend evenly later.
- Once puréed, ensure smoothness by passing through a medium sized sieve. This is essential for vegetables with shells/husks such as peas and sweetcorn
- Stir in cream or butter to the purée at the end.
- Most root vegetables can be puréed in a blender.
- Avoid blending potatoes and some starchy squash, as they will spin into a sticky, gloopy mess! Hand–mash instead.
- Mix in warm cream or butter. When blending ‘hot food’ always heat the liquid added to maintain a warm purée.
- Meat blends better if it soft, moist, cut into small pieces and slow cooked. Sieve fibrous meat that is stringy or may contain gristle.
Visually purée does not look great so flavour needs to be tasty.
- Add a small amount of sugar to enhance the flavour of puréed carrots/peas.
- Add condiments to meat such as salt/pepper/mustard or marinade.
- Add a little butter or oil for richness and flavour as well as cream, stock or another liquid such as fruit/vegetable juice.
- Use herbs and spices for added flavour.
- Offer a variety of puréed food and not just the same dish each day. Different tastes improve intake and psychological wellbeing.