Homemade Baby Food: Easy-Peasy!!!
Making my own baby food really is one of the easiest things I have ever done, and I’m not even a very good cook! It takes very little time and money, and the food is healthy and free from preservatives. I have 100% control over what my baby is eating!
- A way to cook the food: You can boil fruits and vegetables, but most of the vitamins are retained when the food is steamed.
- A way to puree the food: You can use a whole food blender, or even just a high quality immersion blender.
- A way to measure the food: If you want to have precise serving sizes, I have found that a 1/8 cup is about perfect for filling up the ice cube trays.
- A way to freeze the food: The absolute best way is to freeze the pureed food in ice trays, giving you nice and neat individual servings.
- A way to store the frozen food: I use Ziploc freezer bags in quart size and label the content and date made with a Sharpie.
There are some foods that are just too easy NOT to make yourself because you can buy them pre-pureed: pumpkin and winter squash. The pumpkin you just scoop right out of the can (make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix!) into the ice trays to freeze! The winter squash you simply buy frozen, cook according to the directions, and put it into the ice trays to freeze!
1. Cook (Some foods do not need to be cooked: canned beans, canned vegetables, prunes, blueberries, and avocado to name a few.)
For sweet potatoes I simply mash them.
You can also use a hand mixer to make them even smoother.
Fruits I have made:
- Pears and apples – these pretty much are prepared the same way. I peeled them, cut them, and steamed them. Then I pureed them, adding water as needed (depending on the juiciness of the fruit, you may not need to add much).
- Bananas – no preparation needed, just mash and serve ripe bananas. I mixed in some breastmilk in with them to get them to a nicer consistency.
- Avocado – another no prep baby food. Just mash and serve. Castiel didn’t much like avocados, so the last time I made food, I actually pureed an avocado with a little lemon juice (to keep it from browning) and put it in ice trays. I’m hoping that he likes the consistency of the pureed avocado better.
- Blueberries – these don’t need to be cooked, and don’t need any water – I use the immersion blender for these and it works out well. If your baby doesn’t tolerate the skins well, you can always strain them out. Castiel does fine with them – we mix blueberries with pears or yogurt most of the time anyway.
- Prunes – these are messy no matter how you prepare them. The first time I simply soaked them in water to plump, then pureed them in the immersion blender. This worked well, but as they sat in the Ziploc bag in the freezer, they started to “gloop” together. I could have wrapped them individually in wax paper to solve the problem. Later I read that someone cooked the prunes. I just cooked some and put them in ice trays to freeze, but they aren’t hardening as well this time. I probably won’t cook them when I make them in the future.
- Sweet potatoes: Peel, steam or boil, and mash. This one can be easily pureed with a mixer, but now that Castiel is 8 months old, I just mash it and it gets smooth enough. If it needs it, I add some breastmilk to it. I especially did that the first time I made them.
- Peas: I buy them frozen, steam them, and then puree them.
- Carrots: I buy them fresh – NOT the baby carrots (they don’t have the same nutritional content), peel, cut, cook, and then puree them.
- Green beans: Frozen, steamed, and pureed.
- White potatoes: I made these just like the sweet potatoes. I added some breastmilk to them to get them to the right consistency.
- Pumpkin: open can and measure into ice trays!
- Winter Squash: I bought this frozen, cooked it in the microwave, and then put it straight into the ice cubes.
- Cauliflower – I bought this fresh, steamed them and mashed them with a little breastmilk.
- Kidney beans: As a Puerto Rican family, we eat kidney beans a lot, so we wanted to introduce them to Castiel. I bought organic canned beans and pureed them straight out the can with a little bit of water and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) added. This week we made some with dry beans. . . that was a LOT more work - we will probably go back to canned next time!
- Egg yolks: Carlos cooked all the egg yolks right when he was fixing lunch. He found that Castiel preferred the eggs scrambled with a little breastmilk.
The few foods I buy instead of make:
- Organic Rice cereal
- Organic Oatmeal cereal
- Organic Whole Milk Yogurt
- Organic baby puffs
I love this website and use it often to decide what foods to serve together – especially with foods I have to mix (such as peas and green beans) with something else because he doesn’t like them alone!
Target now sells an appliance made for making baby food - the Baby Brezza. I suppose if you didn't have a steamer or blender and were going to have to purchase small appliances in order to make baby food anyway, buying something specific for making baby food might not be a bad idea. However, having never used it, I can't really recommend it over more traditional cooking/pureeing methods.