Making baby food is something I am SUPER passionate about! Not only is it the most cost effective way to feed your baby, it’s the only way to ensure you know exactly what they are eating. The organic jars and pouches range from $1-$2 each, which quickly adds up when your baby eats multiple each day. For $2, you can buy a 1lb bag of organic carrots and get at least 20-30 one ounce servings out of it. It is also the best way to get your child adapted to the flavors of what REAL fruits and veggies taste like. Of course jarred baby food is made from real fruits and veggies, but the flavor is going to be better with no additives!
For around $50 (or less if you already have these items) you can get the tools needed to make purees. As an added benefit, these are just great kitchen items items to keep on hand. You don’t need to spend $200 on a baby food maker that you will use for six months, then serve as a dust collector. Here is what you need:
- Metal steaming basket that fits multiple sizes of pans ($5-$10)
- Hand Immersion Blender ($20-$50)
- Silicone ice cube trays ($5 for 2 pack)
The hand immersion blender is fabulous if you don’t already have one! Great to make smoothies, salad dressings, puree soups, chopping veggies and herbs, etc. We still use the silicone ice cube trays when we make pesto every summer. That way we can pull out a few cubes at a time and enjoy our fresh pesto all year long.
Another benefit to making your own baby food is that you can add breast milk (if nursing) instead of water to some items that need a little liquid added. I added a little of mine (half an ounce or so) to sweet potatoes when our little guy was a baby. When steaming fruits and veggies like carrots, apples, pears, etc. you an add back some of the water from the pan since it contains some of the nutrients that cooked out of the produce.
Once you’ve tested all foods with baby for three days each and they get a little older, you can come up with all kinds of concoctions for them. It is a great way to add in spices, herbs, onions and garlic. If you choose to introduce meat to your baby, you can simply puree most soups or stews that you are eating. Another favorite of our sons was sweet potato, onion, apple and chicken. It was perfect and I would serve it with a green veggie cube and he was all set for dinner.
Even if you don’t enjoy cooking, this can still be for you. You really only need to dedicate 15 minutes twice a week in the beginning. Baby will start with one food at a time and eat it for three days until moving to the next food (to test for allergies). So start with green veggies like peas, spinach, green beans, or zucchini. Then move to carrots, sweet potatoes then fruits. I’ve read if you start with sweeter veggies and fruits, it is more difficult to get them on the green veggies.
These sweet potatoes took around 45 minutes in the oven to roast, but there was no prepping besides washing them and the hands on time was around 15 minutes. Two medium to large sweet potatoes yields around 25 1 ounce servings. I had a little taste tester that ate a few ounces as I was making it.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, line a baking pan with foil, wash sweet potatoes and puncture the skin a few times with a knife. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until skin begins to crack. Pull out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes before peeling the skin back. Then scoop out the potato and add a little water or breast milk to thin out. When spooning into the trays, tap the tray on the counter a few times to compact the potatoes and ensure there are not large air pockets in the cube. In the beginning, baby may only eat 1 ounce at a time as they are transitioning to purees, so making two purees a week will last a while. As they grow, they will begin to eat 2-6 ounces of food at breakfast, lunch and dinner along with formula or breast milk.
- 2-3 sweet potatoes
- 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- 2. Line a baking sheet with foil and place washed sweet potatoes on the pan. Puncture the skin a few times on each potato.
- 3. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until soft.
- 4. Cut open and scoop out the potatoes and place into a bowl for blending.
- 5. Add some breast milk or water to thin the puree.
- 6. Spoon into silicone ice cube trays and freeze.
- 7. Store cubes in a dated Ziplock or container.