When it comes to good eating, we show no age discrimination in this house. In fact, teeth are optional. The only thing I love more than cooking for big people is cooking for little people.
Why do I make my own baby food?
1) Quality: I know exactly what she's eating. I buy or grow the food she eats, then prepare and store it with no added anythings. There's nothing she eats that I wouldn't eat. Plus, eating fresh whole foods as a baby transfers into eating fresh whole foods as a toddler.
2) Savings: Making your own baby food can actually save you a lot of money. I buy all organic fruits and veggies and it still turns out to be cheaper than buying the bottles.
3) Satisfaction: I just love it. Love picking out the perfect little butternut squash, cooking it up, and feeding it to her. That's just me. I love to feed. It makes me happy.
Let me stop here for a second and say that all you mommys and daddys (grandmas and grandpas) out there are rock stars! Raising a family takes 110% of you and at the end of the day, we're all just trying our best. I'm not here to say that there is a right way to feed your baby. I just want you to know that if you choose to make your baby's food at home, you CAN do it! All it takes is a little planning. While it does require some time and effort, you can make the most of both by planning your meals so that you eat what baby eats (just in a different form).
I go to our farmers market on Saturdays and pick out what foods I want for the week. I also get a couple items at Costco: frozen organic petite green beans and the 5lb bag of organic carrots. Then I block off about 2-3 hours one evening (it may seem like a long time but how often do we kill 2 hours watching TV or surfing the internet) and make enough baby food to last about 10 days. I turn on my favorite Pandora radio station and set up my work stations and just go for it. It's quiet, relaxing and fun.
What you will need:
Steamer (pot with basket)
Pans for baking
Ice Cube Trays
Ziploc Freezer Bags
Permanent Marker (sharpie)
Glass Bowls w/ Lids
Carrots for big people
For baby: Rinse and peel carrots. Cut whole carrots into 2" chunks (the smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook). Bring about 2 inches of water to a rapid boil. Place carrots (in steamer basket) in pot and cover. Steam for about 10-12 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove and let cool. Transfer carrots to a blender and puree. Add water as needed for right consistency. Transfer into ice cube trays. Cover with wax paper and freeze.
Note and Correction: It's always best to buy produce as close to its original form as possible. I originally posted a picture of baby carrots (I have used both baby and "regular" carrots in the past - depending on what has been available). After a little research regarding the "processing" of baby carrots I would recommend using the regular big organic carrots. Plus, aren't they pretty? The above picture is from our local Farmers Market. The carrots in our garden will be ready in a few weeks. So excited!
For baby: Just like carrots. Bring about 2 inches of water to a rapid boil. Place green beans (in steamer basket) in pot and cover. Steam for about 6-8 minutes or until tender. Remove and let cool. Transfer green beans to a blender and puree. Add water as needed for right consistency. Transfer into ice cube trays. Cover with wax paper and freeze.
Okinawan Sweet Potato
For baby: Poke several holes in the potatoes before baking. Bake at 425 degrees for about 45-60 minutes or until you can pierce easily with a fork. Cool. When potatoes are cool to the touch remove skins, cut potatoes into chunks and blend. Add water as needed.
For baby: Bring a few inches of water to a boil. Cut apples into quarters and then core. Steam for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Cool. Once cool to the touch, I use a spoon and scoop out the apple from the skin. It should come out easily. I think this is easier than skinning the apple before you cook it. Plus, steaming the apple with skins on preserves more of the nutrients. Puree in blender. Add water to reach desired consistency (you can use water from your steamer).
Tip: Fuji and Gala apples are the sweetest. Some of the others may be a little sour for tiny taste buds.
Tip: Wrap ice cube trays in wax paper before freezing. This way you can stack trays in the freezer and not get food everywhere. When the cubes are frozen and you're ready to remove, just run some water over the wax paper to loosen things up. Open the wax paper up (cubes facing down) and dump all the cubes onto the wax paper. Quick and easy clean up.
Everything is bagged, labeled and ready to go. Tip: Label the ziploc bag before you put the cubes in - otherwise the ink won't stick because the bag is cold and wet.
I transfer a day's worth of food into glass bowls (with lids) and let them defrost in the fridge.
Tip: You can get bowls like this at Target, Walmart or Ross. Covers are key. Great for stacking or when you're on the go.
Note: As always, consult your pediatrician regarding what foods your baby should be eating for their particular age.