Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Should You Make Your Own Baby Food?

Because it's easy and cheap, that's why!!!!! B is finally old enough to eat baby food (we delay it a little more than most people due to family food allergies) so I have been making it. It is so incredibly easy that I have no comprehension of why you wouldn't do it.

Three ounces of frozen sweet potatoes ready to be defrosted for dinner.

I started making baby food when A was a baby as a way to keep the budget down and to help keep extra preservatives out of her body. I was nervous at first and while I found many resources on the internet I ordered Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Cookbook and Kit to help walk me through it step-by-step. I recommend this book if the idea scares the living daylights out of you! If you think "why couldn't I do that, it's just cooking food" then you might be frustrated by it's level of detail and could be satisfied with one of the many internet sources or even my quick tutorial. I really did enjoy the book and still reference it at times. It's so easy that once you do it you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Just a little admission: I still am hesitant to puree meat as it can be rather dry. Also if a food tends to brown when exposed to air (i.e. banana or avocado) only make as much as you will use at that time.

Equipment Needed
  • (1) Cutting Board
  • (1) Vegetable Peeler
  • (1) Good Knife
  • Glad or Ziploc Steamer Bags (if you don't want to use the bags you can use a glass casserole dish with a lid, you would also want to purchase the cookbook I referenced so you know how much water to use and how long to cook each food)
  • (1) Blender 
  • (4) Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays (these have lids to keep stuff out of the baby food, each cube is roughly 1 ounce)
  • Gallon Sized Freezer Bags
  • Permanent Marker  
  • Wash and peel produce. (It is easier to cook squash with it's skin on. Simply cut into large pieces before cooking it. Then scrape the pulp out of the skin before pureeing it.)
  • Cut produce into cubes about 1/2 inch in size to ensure they cook thoroughly.
  • Add produce to steamer bags with a little extra water. I let the water run into the bag for about 1 second.
  • Place steamer bag in microwave and cook according to the directions on the bag.
  • Add water to blender no lower than midway of the blender's blades. More water will need to be added to certain foods. You will be able to tell this by how well the food is blending. I keep a cup of water next to the blender to add water as needed. When I am making sweet potatoes I use roughly half water and half apple juice.
  • Pour contents of steamer bag into blender and puree. I like to change the setting to liquefy at the end to ensure that B's food it nice and smooth. The older she gets the chunkier it can get. I allow the food to cool while still in the blender.
  • Pour food into baby food trays then cover and place in freezer. Allow to freeze overnight to be certain they are frozen solid.
  • "Crack" baby food trays to remove food just as you would an ice cube. Dump cubes into freezer bag that you have pre-labeled with that day's date.
  • When it is time to serve your little one their meal add the appropriate number of cubes to their bowl and warm. You may need to add additional water/formula/breast milk or rice cereal/oatmeal to the food based on the desired consistency.
Have you ever made your own baby food? How did it turn out? What resources did you use when learning how to make baby food?

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