I knew way before my son Jude was even born that I wanted to make my own baby food. My mother always did and she swore it was easier and cheaper than buying jarred food. As usual, she was right. Making Jude's food has proven to be far less expensive than buying it and with a little planning, it takes very little time. It easily fits into our hectic schedule (being a mama, running an online shop, and working part time makes for a busy chica!). I love that I can control everything that goes into his food and it is so much fun to introduce him to new things. So far, Jude loves almost everything! Avocado was not a big hit, strangely enough, but once he can have hot sauce and cilantro, I bet that'll change.
Of course there are a hundred products on the market for baby food prep and storage, and many are wicked expensive. You don't need to run out and buy a Baby Bullet or a Brezza to make baby food, though. They claim to streamline the process, but really, it's not all that difficult of a process anyway. All you need is:
- a pot
- a blender (an immersion blender is awesome!)
- and an ice cube tray.
Really. A few good resources don't hurt. Try the Wholesome Baby Food site for great ideas for recipes, info on food allergies, and tips for introducing foods. I also love the book Super Baby Food. It also has tons of recipes, as well as lots of money saving tips, but it's been instrumental in helping me figure out portion sizes and feeding schedules for Jude. The sample menu plans are awesome. I highly recommend this book!
I try to make as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I can, but some are just far too time consuming (no way will I be shelling peas!) or are not in season. Those I buy in the frozen organic section. Spinach, peas, green beans, mangoes and peaches are all ready in literally minutes. Fresh vegetables obviously need more prep and cook time. Take a free hour and do a big batch or two at once!Basic Baby Puree
This method works well for fresh:
Peel, chop into small pieces, and add to a pot with some water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fork tender. Blend in the pot, or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. I don't bother straining as enough water helps make any fruit or veggie smooth. Transfer puree to ice cube trays (they fit about 2 Tbls. per cube) and freeze. Transfer cubes to a ziploc bag labeled with the date and food type.
That's it! Done and done. Once you get into the swing of it, the real fun begins. Adding spices, making interesting flavor combos, and changing up the texture makes for interesting meal times. Currently Jude is really digging baked apples with cinnamon, oatmeal, and yogurt for breakfast. I don't blame him, it's fricking delicious!
So seasoned mamas, what do you like to cook for you baby?