Adventures in Baby Food Making

3.30.2012

Although I am not the best cook, I knew before Emerson was even born that I wanted to make her food when the time came. Now I have absolutely nothing against prepared baby food and Emerson eats it quite often when we are out and about but I just loved the idea of being the one to make her food and I felt like it would save us money in the long run. Once I actually got started with it I learned that is incredibly easy and even sort of fun! Over the last 4 months she has tried so many new foods and Jesse and I have learned the best way to prepare it through lots of trial and error. I thought it might be helpful to share a few things we've learned.

First of all, you don't have to have any fancy appliances or gear to make baby food. You can use a regular food processor and even the blender to puree baby food and you can use regular ice cube trays to freeze the food. I did, however, find the following items helpful in our baby food making adventure:

KidCo Babysteps Electric Food Mill


This little food mill seemed to make the purees a little bit finer than our regular food processor. I love that you just attach the top and push it down to turn it on.

Tupperware MicroSteamer

Really any steamer will work just fine but I love this one because it's easy to use and easy to clean.

Kidco Babysteps 1 oz Freezer Trays



I really like these because they have lids and you don't have to worry about wrapping the tray with saran wrap.


Fresh N Freeze 2 oz Baby Food Containers

We used these when Emerson started eating more. I like that they connect to each other and stack on the little tray so it is easy to keep them organized.

When it came to deciding what to make, I found these cookbooks to be helpful. They all have simple and tasty recipes and I like that give suggestions for when different foods should be introduced.

Cooking for Baby 


Top 100 Baby Purees


The Healthy Baby Meal Planner



And I referred to this awesome website quite a bit: Wholesome Baby Food

So now that you know a little bit about what gear we used, I thought I'd share the basic process we used to make batches of food for E.

For most fruits and vegetables I would use the Tupperware steamer. I would steam a very large batch until it was quite tender and then puree it and put it straight into the food trays. After it was frozen I would transfer the cubes to freezer bags that were marked with the date and the name of the item. I did this with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, apples, asparagus, pears, peaches, and several other fruits and veggies.

Apples with cinnamon

Since Emerson loves sweet potatoes and squash so much, we wanted to find the easiest way to prepare them. The first time I peeled them and steamed them and it took forever. The next time I decided to bake them instead. I lined a cookie sheet with foil and pierced the potatoes with a fork. Then I cooked them on 375 for about an hour or until the juices started oozing from the potatoes. They turn out SO good this way because it caramelizes the sugar in the potatoes. Then when you take them out of the oven the skins will fall right off. The potatoes are so soft that you can just mash them with a fork instead of using the food processor.  It's also easy clean up because you just throw the foil away.

sweet potatoes and potatoes
I also use this same process to make mashed potatoes and it worked perfectly. We did try roasting a few other veggies but it seemed to dry them out too much to make a smooth puree. I found that steaming worked best for everything else.

Now that Emerson has moved onto finger foods, she doesn't eat quite as many purees but I do still make them occasionally to mix with her chicken or oatmeal. I really think that making our own food has allowed me to introduce her to a variety of foods and I'm hoping it will keep her from being a picky eater when she gets older.
I guess only time will tell!






Megan said...

I love making baby food as well. Except apples and those seem to be Vinces favorite. I need more ideas on stuff to give him I feel like he gets the same stuff. I am going to try cauliflower and asparagus thanks for the ideas!!!

Mallorie said...

You couldn't have posted this at a better time!!! :-) I am about to start introducing solids to EC and all of this was so helpful!!! I'm actually baking her first sweet potato now!!!

Beth Ann said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I would like to make some of Holden's food and you make it seem pretty easy! I need to get that baby food processor you linked...it's a good price...and we don't even have a food processor!

Andrea said...

YAY for making your own food for her. I did that with Gracie and even now that she only eats "table food" she will eat anything I give her. Peppers, onions, veggies, it doesn't matter. I loved making it and didn't think it was hard at all. It also saves SOOO much money!

D @ Naptime in Suburbia said...

I make my little guy's baby food too, although he's going through a phase where he'll eat 3 or 4 bites and refuse to open his mouth for the rest of the meal.

Lindsay said...

thanks for the tips. Tony and I plan on making our own baby food when the time comes :)

Amber said...

great tips! We tried making Morgans food on many occassions and she hated it so I will definitely have to remember this all next baby

Michelle said...

I'm planning to make baby food for C so I'm so glad you posted this!

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