Adventures in Making Baby Food

Mila. Photo by Lisette.

Having a baby is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. As soon as I became pregnant, I knew that I wanted her to have the best. I wanted to make sure that she started off her life as healthy as possible. I knew that once she started eating table food, I did not want to feed her store-bought baby food. I wanted to know exactly what was in her food. And, the only way I would be able to do that is by making it myself!

There are many benefits to making your own baby food. It’s cheaper, for one. You can save about $.30/ounce when you make your own baby food compared to store bought. There are also many fillers and preservatives that come in jarred baby food. I feel better knowing that I’m the only one handling her food and that I’m using natural ingredients. (You can even add your own spices, such as cinnamon, when you make pureed carrots. So much tastier!) The nutritional value of the food is higher, because you can freeze the food as soon as it’s pureed. It’s also better for the environment, because you are not amassing piles of used glass jars. And, lastly, you can buy fresh ingredients from your city’s grower’s markets, which supports your local growers and producers.

There are a few different “baby food” processors on the market today. They’re pretty expensive. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need any fancy equipment to make your own baby food. You just need pots and pans for cooking or steaming the food, a food processor or food masher, ice cube trays and freezer-safe storage containers. I’m sure that most parents have these items in their kitchen already. You might have to buy a few things, but it still won’t add up to how much you’d spend on fancy equipment.

Some great first foods to start with are sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, pears and green beans. A website that I followed throughout this process was Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food. It was a wonderful guide and had a lot of great ideas and recipes. This website breaks up the foods into categories starting from babies that are 4-6 months old and moving up to 10-12 months old.

It only takes me about an hour to make a few weeks’ worth of food for my baby. I was a little overwhelmed at first with the thought of having to make food weekly, but you would be surprised at how much comes out of a couple of apples, for example. I got an ice cube tray’s worth of applesauce out of 3 apples! That’s equivalent to about 12 ounces of food.

Apple Sauce
I start by coring the apples. I do leave the skin on until after I cook them, because it’s easier to peel them off when they’re soft. You can either steam or boil the apples. I prefer to boil them in water where I’ve added a little cinnamon and brown sugar. The spices seep into the apples while they cook. You can even add some of the water into the food processor or blender when it’s time to puree the apples. You can cook most fruits and vegetables this way.

Stew
You can start your little one on meats as well. Chicken and turkey are going to be the easiest to start with. I like to boil chicken thighs with carrots and potatoes. You’re not only making it easier by cooking 3 things at once, you’re also making a good chicken stock to add to the puree for tastier food. I also add fresh garlic in the processor with the chicken for a little extra flavor.

Baby food in ice cube trays. Photo by Lisette.

Freeze the Food
When all of the cooking is done, you are going to put spoon-fulls of the pureed food into ice cube trays. You can either cover the trays with plastic wrap or you can buy the ice cube trays that come with covers. I usually wait 24 hours before I take the cubes out of the trays and store them in glass jars in the freezer. You’re going to want to label the jars so it’s easier to grab what you need without having to guess what the food is. Carrots and sweet potatoes look pretty similar when they’re frozen! You can either defrost the food in the fridge if you plan enough ahead of time, or heat it up on the stove or in the microwave. Voila! Your baby has healthy, natural food that you can feel good knowing you’ve made yourself.

Posted by Lisette

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