I always imagined that making my own baby food sounded like a time-consuming task, but when my grandmother gifted me this lovely contraption, I decided to give it a whirl.
I love my Beaba Babycook - it steams, purees, defrosts, and reheats. But even without such a contraption, making your own baby food is still as easy as 1 – 2 – 3…
All you need to make your food is a steamer basket, a saucepan, and a blender or food processor. And all you need to store it are a handful of covered ice cube trays, Ziploc freezer bags, and small plastic containers.
Preparation: Always be sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. Chop them into small cubes to speed cooking time. Fruits and vegetables can be cooked in a variety of ways: steaming, poaching, boiling, and roasting, but steaming is the best method as it retains the most nutrients. To steam your food, bring 1 inch of water to boil in the saucepan, and then place the chopped fruit or vegetable set in a steamer basket into the pot. Steam until the food is tender enough to mash easily, and puree. You can use reserved liquid from steaming or breastmilk to thin the puree to your desired consistency. There is no need to add salt, sugar, or other seasonings. Pure and simple is best.
Storage: Spoon the food into covered ice cube trays and let cool to room temperature before freezing. Once frozen, transfer them to Ziploc freezer bags. Label the bags with the contents and the date, and you’re done!
My favorite website for more information on this topic is wholesomebabyfood.com. On this site, you can find nutritional information and preparation tips for various fruits and vegetables as well as meats and cereals. I personally skipped cereal and pureed meats, instead offering them once my little one was ready for table food.
But here are some handy tips:
(Please leave a comment below if you have any to add!)
Cook in large batches and freeze food. The food will last for 3 months in the freezer. Considering baby needs several days between introductions of new foods (for allergy concerns) and will only eat baby foods for a few months before moving onto finger foods, you’ll be done before you know it. I typically set aside 1-2 hours per week, and sometimes every other week, to make a large batch of 1 fruit and 1 veggie.
Suggested fruits and vegetables that freeze well: apples, bananas, peaches, pears, prunes, avocados, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash (acorn, butternut, yellow), zucchini, pumpkin, broccoli, green beans, peas. In some cases, such as bananas and avocados, these don’t even need to be cooked. Just mash and freeze! Bananas and avocados may turn brown when frozen, but it won’t affect the quality of the food.
Cook and swap with friends. Consider coordinating with friends, each preparing a large batch of some fruit or veggie and then swap. I wouldn’t suggest thinning the puree with your own breastmilk in this case, however.
Thaw in the refrigerator. The day before, pull out what you need and leave it overnight in the refrigerator. I usually provided 2-3 ice cubes per serving depending on my child’s age.
Do not reheat in the microwave. Reheating in the microwave can cause hot spots in the food. A better alternative is to either pull the food out of the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving or, do as I did, reheat it in a bottle warmer. I purchased small BPA-free plastic containers which sat perfectly on the bottle warmer, and I’d just stir as it heated until it reached the appropriate temperature.
Buy organic when pesticides are a concern. If you didn’t see it, refer back to this post for a list of fruits and vegetables containing the most and least amounts of pesticides.
Buy frozen for fruits and veggies that are not in season. Or for those that are just not up to par. I learned this the hard way when I bought a pound of fresh sugar snap peas and spent an hour shelling them only to be left with about ¼ cup of teensy weensy peas.
Make lots of apples, pears, and bananas. They combine well with a large variety of veggies. Some of my daughter’s favorite combinations were carrots/apples, sweet potato/banana, avocado/banana, green beans/apples (apples and pears were interchangeable among all of these combinations).
What were your child’s favorite fruits/veggies/combos?
You Might Also Like: