I am definitely by no means an earth mother. I wish that I had more concern for our environment or had more time to think about what my child is eating. I know many mothers try to only buy organic products for their children to eat, but if my son is happy eating an overly processed disgusting hot dog, then that is what he eats.
Before I had my son I was going to plant my own garden, grow my own vegetables, and everyday I would go out to my garden to find that special piece of fruit or vegetable to serve to him. I would cook it and serve it at the perfect temperature and consistency. I frowned on mothers who actually bought store-bought baby food because you just “never know what is in those jars.”
I never did have a garden and I never hand selected each vegetable and fruit to put in my son’s mouth, but I can proudly say that I made my child’s baby food. To be honest, it is extremely easy and will save you an incredible amount of money if you can find the time and energy to do it.
I did a lot of research on the topic and found the best way for me was to devote a weekend to just making baby food. I honestly made a six month supply doing this and it took me two days, but we did save a lot of money.
I went to our local wholesale club and bought fruits and vegetables in bulk. The ones I found to cook the easiest were the ones that baby food you would buy on the shelves at your local grocer’s. Some of the fruits and vegetables I chose were pears, carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and apples. I also bought tons of ice cube trays and a food processor to complete the task at hand.
The best way I found to do this was to devote my time and efforts to a couple pots of veggies/fruits at a time. The important thing is not to overcook them and not to add a lot of extra water to the pot. The reason for this is that all of the good vitamins and preservatives will become null and void if you overcook the vegetable or saturate them in water.
After the vegetables have softened either through boiling or steaming them, remove them from the heat and put them in the food processor with either a little bit of water, breast milk, or formula. I chose to add water because the baby food will last longer if you do not put milk into it.
After they were pureed to a good consistency (very smooth when they are first beginning to eat, chunkier as they get older) then I spooned the mixture into ice cube trays. The reason for this is because this is the perfect size for their little tummies. When they are first starting out, they are only eating one ounce portions which are the exact size of one ice cube. I then topped these cubes off with water and then froze them. Once they are frozen you can pop them out of the trays and store them in whatever is convenient for you and your freezer space. We had a very small freezer so I stored them in large Ziploc freezer bags. Clearly label the bags with the date that you made the food, the date of expiration, and the type of food that you are storing. It is as simple as that if you want to do a large session of baby food cooking.
Many other parents chose a different method than this. You have to find what works best for you and your family. Some mothers simply puree whatever they are eating for dinner for their child at each meal. My main complaint with that method is that sometimes I chose to eat a little less healthy and my poor son (although he might have enjoyed it) would end up eating pureed chicken nuggets, burgers, or french fries. I also hate cleaning the food processor so I wanted to do this as little as possible as well. You have to find the system that works best for your family though. Below I have included just a few guidelines for making your own baby food. Please feel free to contact me if you have any of your own inventive baby food recipes or helpful hints to our novice baby food making mommies.
Freezer Storage Guidelines for Baby Food
Vegetables = 6 months
Fruits = Six months
Purees with milk = 4-6 weeks
Fish = 10 weeks
Meat & Chicken = 10 weeks
Peel or scrum and cut into ½ inch slices. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until fork tender. 2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes yields about three cups of baby food. Mash to the correct consistency.
Peel, halve, core, and slice the apples. Put them into a pot and add just a little water for cooking. Cook them on low heat until they have cooked down and are very soft. Puree the apples in your food processor or baby food grinder. If you would like to add a little extra flavoring, add nutmeg or cinnamon. Six medium apples should yield approximately three cups of baby food.
Peel, halve, and core pears. Cut them into small pieces. Put these into a pot and add a little water for cooking. Cook on low heat until they have cooked down and are very soft. Puree the pears in your food processor or baby food grinder.
Cut medium papayas in half and remove seeds. Scoop out the flesh and steam the flesh for three to five minutes. Puree in your food processor or baby food grinder.
Use the small baby carrots for this recipe. Boil the carrots in a small amount of water until they are nice and tender. Puree the carrots in your food processor or baby food grinder.
Cut an “X” into the flesh of each peach and blanch in boiling water for approximately one minute. Cool the peaches in cold water and then remove the skin and pits. Steam the peaches for about five minutes. Four medium peaches yields two cups.