In recent years there has been an explosion of cookbooks, small appliances, and other niche products on the market specifically designed to help you create delicious and nutritious homemade baby food. And while these gadgets are incredibly useful and convenient, it is not necessary to invest in a bunch of expensive equipment in order to serve your baby fresh, healthy, great-tasting first foods. You can get started by using items that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Why did I choose to make homemade baby food? Simply put, I thought it would be a great way to provide a nutritious alternative to conventional jarred baby food. I knew that mass-produced baby food doesn’t taste the same as its fresh counterpart. Jarred peas don’t taste like fresh peas, and jarred bananas don’t taste like fresh bananas. I hypothesized that if I was able to make homemade baby food and expose my son to freshly-prepared vegetables and fruit, then he might (in theory) grow up to be a better, healthier eater. Cost-savings was another big factor in my decision. With a mortgage, 2 car payments, and childcare expenses, I was looking for any opportunity to save money.
My method was fairly simple. Each week I’d steam a few servings of fruit or vegetables using an inexpensive steamer basket and large saucepan. After steaming, I’d throw the fruit or vegetables into my blender with a small amount of water from the pan, and purée until smooth. Then I’d pour the purée into Fresh Baby Food Storage Trays and freeze. After the purée was frozen solid I’d transfer the food cubes to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, label the contents, and store it in the freezer to use throughout the week. Using this method I was able to make several different kinds of baby food in a short amount of time. And I’ll admit it was a little fun to open my freezer and geek out over the rainbow of bright colorful foods just waiting for my baby to eat!
And I didn’t stop with purées. When my son got a bit older I left the fruits and veggies a bit chunkier so he could learn to chew. I also cooked bite-sized pasta, shredded chicken, beef, lentils, and black beans, and froze them in one-ounce portions. I found the entire process to be extremely worthwhile, rewarding, and best of all, easy!I was excited about the cost-savings as well. Even though I had used only organic fruits and veggies, I still spent considerably less than what it would have cost to buy conventional, non-organic jarred baby food. But it was fresher, better-tasting, and I knew exactly what was in it. It wasn’t processed and packaged in a factory and it didn’t sit on the grocery store shelf for six months before it was purchased. It was washed, chopped, steamed, and puréed in my very own kitchen, served to my son within days of making it.
That was five years ago. Since then I’ve made baby food for my daughter (who’s now 3) and I plan to do the same with my newborn when he’s ready. I am satisfied knowing that I’ve laid a healthy foundation by exposing my children to a wide range of freshly-prepared foods, and all while conserving my family’s grocery budget as much as possible.
With all of the products, recipes, and options available, it’s easier than ever to make homemade baby food. Check out all the homemade baby food supplies and cook booksat Cotton Babies. I encourage you to give it a try! And if you’re a seasoned pro, please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!