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extra credit: make your own baby food.

Ok, so before we get started I’d like to say something:  this is a guilt-free zone.

That’s right.

For some of us, making our own baby food fits right in to our schedule (and in my case I’m just too cheap to buy pre-made food).  But I realize that for a lot of us it’s just flat out easier to go let the fine folks at Gerber or Earths Best do the work.  Whatever works for you.  I just happen to be a tightwad.

Anyway, let’s begin.

I’m nearing the end of the baby food phase but typically I’ll chose one night a week and spend 30 minutes or so making everything for the week.  Usually I’ll do whatever is in season or on sale – green beans, carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, apples, pears, peaches, mangos, etc.  I’ll include a step by step guide to making your own food below, and I’ll list out a little handy-dandy guide for steaming/cooking your veggies too.

Make Your Own Baby Food

1.  Wash/peel/cut or cube your veggies (or fruit).

2.  Steam or cook your veggies/fruit of choice using filtered water until they are soft enough to puree.

3.  Using a slotted spoon, toss them into a blender or food processor or fancy-schmancy baby food maker, and add a little of the water you cooked them in.  Puree.  Add more of the leftover water if necessary and continue pureeing until they reach your desired consistency.

4.  Grab a tablespoon and spoon out the cooked veggies/fruit into ice cube trays.  Each cube will be approx. 1 oz.

5.  Cover the trays in plastic wrap, freeze them, then pop the pureed food out and keep them frozen in a zip lock bag with the date on it.

Cooking Guidelines (based on 1 pound of food)

*If microwaving, please use glass!

Asparagus – 8-10 minutes steamed, 4-6 minutes microwaved

Green Beans – 5-10 minutes steamed, 6-12 minutes microwaved

Carrots – 4-5 minutes steamed, 4-7 minutes microwaved

Peas – 3-5 minutes steamed, 5-7 minutes microwaved

Sweet or Regular Potatoes – 10-12 minutes steamed, 8-10 minutes microwaved

Spinach – 5-6 minutes steamed, 3-4 minutes microwaved

Squash – 5-10 minutes steamed, 3-6 minutes microwaved

Zucchini – 5-1o minutes steamed, 3-6 minutes microwaved

Apples or pears – 10-15 minutes steamed, 5-10 minutes microwaved

For more recipes visit Smitten Kitchen’s Baby food blog.

Bottom Line:

For a little perspective I’ve seen jars of baby food go for $.39-$.99 per jar (1 serving).

Last week I did a pound of peas and a pound of carrots ($.99 and $.79 for organic at TJ’s) that will last about 7-10 days.

Total:  $1.78.

Class dismissed!

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. We kind of skipped over pureed food with our last little guy. By the time he was interested and not gagging on everything (even pureed food), he wanted to feed himself (very independent this one), and had tons of teeth. But I did this with our daughter and it was great. Such a savings and I liked that everything was so fresh.

    June 15, 2011
    • I think we’re getting there too with Luke. What did you move to as far as easy and nutritious finger foods?

      June 15, 2011
  2. Sarah #

    We don’t do purees, either. Jill and Johnny went straight to finger foods! It’s good for the fine motor skillz 🙂
    We like canned, rinsed black beans, cooked peas and carrots (carrots chopped very small and mushy); cooked green beans (or canned- I rinse them and chop them up into bite size pieces); cut up banana; egg yolks, Joe’s O’s, etc. I do have packages of ready-made purees around in case I need to leave it with Daren or a sitter or I run out of finger foods. I love to sit him down in his high chair with a tray full of beans (black and green) and some O’s while I’m making dinner. Keeps him busy for a while 🙂

    June 18, 2011
  3. Sarah #

    PS- the fine motor thing is a bonus. My main reason for not doing purees is that I don’t have time to sit and feed Johnny. He’s hungry when everybody’s hungry, so it’s nice to get him set up and take care of the girls and me. I don’t think purees are bad at all! In fact, we’re probably missing out on some things. But, this works for our family.

    June 18, 2011
  4. We did homemade purees with Logan and Charlotte, but skipped them with Lila. It worked great for her. She loves feeding herself. My main reasoning is that it’s important to hold off on solids so babies are getting the most important nutrition, mommy’s milk. By the time they are ready for solids at 6-12 months, most babies are old enough to feed themselves. This approach is called “baby led weaning”. I also like that she controls how much she eats.

    When I made purees for my first two kids I do think it saved us money and it was pretty easy. I never made fruit purees, though. I mashed up fruit (bananas, peaches, pears, etc.) with a fork and spoon fed.

    September 24, 2011
    • And isn’t it actually kind of nice that Lila can feed herself? Frees you up to do the 12 other things you need to get done!

      September 24, 2011

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