Wednesday, July 25, 2012

adventures in homemade baby food

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew one of the things I wanted to eventually do, was to make my own baby food. I heard people did that, and I guess I never realized how easy it was to do so! Honestly, cost isn't even a factor for my motivation in this, though it really does save a lot of money. My biggest motivation for making my own baby food was knowing exactly what is going into her food, and knowing she's getting healthy, wholesome food without any added things. She has years to put processed crap in her mouth (if she chooses, of course!) but for now, I can help make sure she's getting the best possible foods! And have I mentioned, its fun??

When our pediatrician gave us the green light to start introducing solids after her 4-month well baby checkup, I couldn't wait to get started! I started off by looking up how to make baby food. It seemed pretty idiot proof (and it was), but I just wanted to be sure I was doing everything correctly. The best website I've found was this one. That site is seriously fantastic. It not only tells you exactly how to prepare the food, but it gives different age appropriate recipes, freezing techniques, etc etc. So glad I stumbled upon it!

The best part about making homemade baby food? I already had everything I needed, equipment wise. Sure, they sell pricey baby food makers, but you don't need them. I'll admit, I registered for one for kicks & giggles, but figured if I didn't receive one, I wasn't going to buy one on my own, because I didn't need to. All you really need is a food processor or a blender, and ice cube trays for freezing :)

I started off with sweet potatoes. I figured it was easy enough, and was a good "first food" for her to try.

You can bake the potatoes, but I chose to steam them, as our oven is wonky and sometimes takes hours to bake something. I cut the potatoes into small cubes, and put them in a pot with a couple inches of water. I steamed the potatoes until tender, and reserved the water to add to the pureeing process for thinning and to keep some of the nutrients that may have boiled out.

Once steamed, I put small portions of the potatoes in my food processor to puree, and added some of the reserved water as I went along until I reached desired consistency. After that, the puree mix was divided among the ice cube trays and put in the freezer overnight.

After the food is frozen, you pop the cubes out into a storage bag and voila! You have a good amount of baby food that can store anywhere from 3-6 months :) The ice cube tray method works awesome, because each cube is roughly 1 oz, which makes it easy when you need to know how much food to pull out and thaw at a time.

I mentioned before that cost isn't necessarily an issue, but it does help to know you are saving money. Look at is this way. I paid less than $3 for two sweet potatoes. Those two potatoes made me 38 oz of baby food. If you were to buy 38 ounces of jarred baby food at the store, that would run you nearly $10 (that is, if each 4 oz jar is around $1 each). Sooo, saving money is also a plus ;)