When my eldest was about six months old I thought that I would try my hand at making homemade baby food.
I choose green beans (bad idea). I got a jar of green beans that I had canned (bad idea). I tried to use my blender (bad idea). I forgot to put the top little circle on my blender (bad idea).
Want to know what I got. Green bean chunks all over my kitchen, including my vaulted ceilings. Yep,the very top of my vaulted ceilings.
I said forget it and opened a container of Gerber baby food and didn’t try again.
Fast forward three and a half years.
I saw several of my friends make baby food and decided I must have just done things all wrong. —– very very wrong.
After some advice from a very sweet friend. I started making baby food for my twins. Don’t be like old me who did no research and jumped right in. My ceiling still has a few residual spots as a reminder of old me. Be smart and do your research, get the right tools, and the right food.
Here are a few simple step-by-step instructions so that you can successfully make your baby’s food at home.
First: choose easy to puree foods.
Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pears, carrots, apples, mangos, and acorn squash are just a few. Greens beans and peas are not as easy because of their skins. You always want to use fresh foods when making baby food. Use frozen food as second choice and avoid canned items.
Second: prepare and cook the food properly.
For most fruits and veggies that means baking them, baking in a shallow water bath, or steaming.
Here are a few examples:
Butternut Squash: It purees super smooth.To prepare you simply cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, lay flesh side down in a baking dish, place about 1 inch of water in pan, and bake at 350 degrees. This can take anywhere from about 30 minutes to 50 minutes depending on the size of the vegetable and your oven. You will know it is done when the top has turned brown and it caves when pushed (see the spoon pushing). Then you will simply scoop out all of the flesh.
Apples, pears, and acorn squash can also be cooked in a shallow water bath. Follow the exact same procedure for acorn squash. For apples and pears peel, cut into chunks, place into pan, add water, bake at 350, but start checking them at around 10 minutes. They will start to slightly brown and be very soft (like when preparing mashed potatoes).
Mangos: This is one that I buy frozen. The savings is too much not too. It is also really good to have a bag in your freezer to make food quickly. They are also sweet, which babies like, and puree really smooth. I steam my mangos. Simply get a pot of water boiling and place a streaming tray on top. Open up a bag of frozen mangos and empty into steamer. Cooking times will vary depending on amount of fruit and size/design of steaming tray, but start checking at 8 minutes.Like before, you can tell when they are done because they mash when touched with a fork (again like when making mashed potatoes).
Lots of other foods can be prepared by steaming including carrots, peas and green beans (when your baby is ready for food with a bit more texture). You can also cook your apples and pears by steaming too.
You can also steam sweet potatoes (a great first food!). But I prefer to simply bake the whole sweet potato at 400 degrees just as if I were cooking them for an adult. Once the potato is cooked (usually 30-45 minutes depending on size) I simply remove the skin.
Note: Some foods, like bananas and avocados do not have to be cooked. These are great foods to just throw in your diaper bag!
Once you have cooked your food until tender it is time to puree. This can be done a variety of different ways. As I said earlier, old me tried to use a blender, and while this might work if you have a super high power blender for me a food processor was a much better tool.
Simply place your cooked food into the food processor and pulse. Once the food has started to puree add breastmilk or water until you achieve the desired consistency. This will vary greatly depending on the type and amount of food. Start with a couple tablespoons and go from there.
Note: If preparing a very small amount, like one banana, you can simply mashup the cooked food with a fork, but you will not achieve as smooth consistency. This works well though when eating away from home.
Homemade baby food can be stored in the refridgerator for up to 48 hours. For longer storage, place your homemade baby food into the freezer. Most sources agree that it is safe in the freezer for at least one month.
I really like using these glass storage containers for storing my baby food. They are fridge, freezer, microwave and oven safe. These are 1 cup size.
The two plastic containers were going into my fridge, not freezer.
You can also freeze baby food in ice cube trays. In mine each cube holds about 1 heaping tablespoon of baby food. You can pop the baby food out of the trays and place them into labeled freezer bags, or if you are going to be using quickly simply cover in plastic wrap.
Homemade baby food really isn’t as hard as I made it out to be, I just needed a little know how and the right tools.
And remember like everything else, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I still give my babies store-bought baby food too.
A great website to check out for more detailed information on preparing specific foods is: Wholesome Baby Food
If you have any questions I will be happy to answer to the best of my abilities!
Here are two cuties eating……..
Remember I am no dietician or pediatrician, just a mom sharing her experience, so follow your pediatricians reccomendations and practice proper food safety.