July 23, 2013

Baby Food 101

When the time comes for your baby to start eating pureed foods it can be overwhelming and scary. There are countless websites and products claiming that there way is the right way and many moms give up before they have even begun.

I wanted to share my "baby food plan" with the blogosphere as an encouragement that making your own baby food can be simple and cheap. The first rule of thumb is that you don't need anything fancy. If it sold for making baby food only steer clear. I dislike one use products and the baby food makers/steamers/blenders fit that category. 

First a little bit of background. My husband and I both work. I was blessed to have 3 months off with my son and then I went back to work 20 hours a week from home. My son began eating pureed foods at 5 months old mainly because our garden produce was ready and I wanted to cash in on the excellent nutrients the garden and farmers market cold provide. By the time he was 10 months old he was mostly eating table food. Because of this our pureed food stage was short and therefore very manageable for making my own foods for him to enjoy.

So here are my thoughts on what is needed and how to make baby food making work for your family.

Products Needed:
  • Access to fresh vegetables and fruits (though frozen can be used if needed)
  • vegetable Peeler
  • cutting board 
  • nice knife
  • stockpot with lid
  • stainless steel steamer
  • mini chopper, blender or food process (that you likely already own. We used the Cuisinart mini chopper that we received as a wedding gift. 
  • Something for freezing the baby food in. We used this silicone brownie mold and loved it. I actually registered for it on Amazon and got it for my baby shower!
Foods to Try:
Like I said earlier we were working out of our garden and the produce at the farmer's market so some of these vegetables might seem odd but they are packed with nutrients and my son LOVED them! We also choose to start with vegetables, again because they were in season. We did use some smashed banana but that didn't require much prep.
  • Carrots (white, red and orange)
  • Beets (white and red)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas
Steps to Take: 
For this example I will use carrots but it can be adapted for any vegetable.
  1. Purchase carrots
  2. Peel and rinse with water
  3. Chop into 1inch pieces
  4. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the saucepan, steamer basket, and carrots
  5. Add lid and turn the burner on high
  6. Steam for 10-12 minutes
  7. Remove lid and let cool while you enjoy supper or change babies diaper, etc.
  8. Place carrots in to mini chopper and begin pureeing. Use liquid from the saucepan to thin if needed
  9. Pour in to the silicone mold
  10. Freeze for at least 4 hours
  11. Pop out in to ziploc baggies
  12. Place 2 pods in a container with a lid to thaw overnight before use or microwave them in 15 second increments.

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