|Home-made baby food: beets in the OXO baby food storage tray.|
|Fresh Beets- a great baby food, and one you will be hard pressed to find in a jar.|
1. Make it as You Go– With a little planning your baby can probably eat some or all of what you are eating anyways. If you aren’t that worried about food allergies and feel comfortable introducing foods quickly then this could be a good strategy. Plus, it requires a lot less prep and planning ahead of time. However, if you aren’t going to freeze anything in advance you should probably get a “baby food maker” or compact, efficient food processor, such as the Magic Bullet. A “baby food maker” is essentially a smaller version of a food processor and/or steamer. Although, I have never used one, I imagine for the short time you’ll need it, they are beneficial and may be worthwhile, especially for this method. You’re going to want to keep this handy, probably leaving it out on your counter, it will get a lot of use for about 4-6 months.
|Diced beets in water. Beware, cut beets will turn your hands red while you are cutting|
and maybe your child’s urine and stool, but it is harmless.
- Clean and peel fruit or vegetables. If your child is in the later stages of baby food, you could leave the skin on your apple or pear.
- Grate or cut into small uniform pieces. The smaller the better because it takes less time to cook and thus keeps more nutrients in tact.
- Place in a pot of boiling water with just enough water to cover or into your steamer.
- Cook until you can easily push a fork through food.
- Place cooked food in a blender, magic bullet, food processor, or baby food processor. I have always used a blender and it works great.
- Puree until smooth or you reach your desired consistency. You may need to add more water if it is too thick or isn’t blending up well enough. If you are making potatoes make sure not to over mix or they will get too sticky.
- Place into small individual portioned storage containers or an ice cube tray and cover with aluminum foil. If using the latter, once frozen, remove individual cubes and store in a freezer bag or storage container for up to 3 months. Write the date on the bag to help you remember!
- Pull cubes out 1-2 hours in advance of eating time to heat in hot water or place in microwave for 15-20 second increments to defrost.
|Home-made baby food: Cauliflower|
(there are some specs of broccoli in there because I boiled both together as a timesaver.)
I would continue this pattern of making large batches every other night or so for a couple of weeks building up my supply and variety. I started Isaac on solids at 6 months, so most of his supply has just about dwindled now that he is 9 months old, which is perfect because I am giving him many table foods now and pureeing more of what we are eating since he is older and able to manage more texture. This is what works for me. It may be easier for you to have a cooking day and make it all at once.
I should mention that I buy some store-bought food for the diaper bag just in case we get stuck out somewhere. Also, I use a food mill to mash up soft no-cook foods like banana and avocado. I describe this further under option 3.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of spices such as parsley, cinnamon, oregano, dill, or corriandor (to only name a few) once your baby has been exposed to the food in its purest form.
- Cook beans, lentils, chicken, and beef in a steamer or a little bit of broth then puree. Be careful not to overcook or it will become very dry. These proteins will also freeze well.
- Run peas through a strainer or baby food mill because there will still be hard pieces of the shell in the mix that the baby could choke on.
- Peaches, plums, peppers, and tomatoes can be boiled whole or in large sections without removing the skin, because doing so is extremely tedious. Once they are soft, pull out, and place in ice water for a few minutes. When you pull them out the skin will come off easily. If peaches and plums are very ripe you may be able to pull the skin off easily and grind up without cooking, especially if your baby is in the later stages of baby food and it doesn’t need to be very thin and smooth.
- banana (the riper the better if you are just starting out)*
- cooked veggies from soups, such as: potato, carrot, celery
- ripe berries, pears, peaches, and plums
- baked sweet potatoes and regular potatoes
I do have a Munchkin Baby Food Grinder (aka: food mill), as seen in the picture above, I spent around 10$ and it has been well worth it. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this tool, it has two pieces that separate, which creates a chamber for the food to go into. When you place these two pieces together, turn the crank and your food will get pureed in a few seconds. Hard or tough pieces won’t fit through the holes, allowing the texture to be relatively smooth. Of course, you can toss these foods into a food processor of some type, as well, but the food mill leaves less clean up and set up!
There are no rules when it comes to mixing baby foods together. Experiment with different combinations. Here are a few popular combos to get you started:
- banana and avocado
- sweet potato and apple (try a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg)
- green beans and pear
- broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower (try a dash of parsley or dill)
- beets, apple, and pear