Monday, March 5, 2012

Homemade baby food

Boston is starting solids and has enjoyed pears so far. Tonight we start veggies, and I thought I'd try carrots first. The pears we bought but I've heard making your own baby food is fairly simple so yesterday I gave it a shot and it was easy! I made him apples and carrots. The apples were really easy because my grandparents had canned some for us, so they had already been cooked in a pressure cooker and were ready to blend. The carrots needed to be cooked. So for anyone who thinks this task may be daunting, I'm here to tell you it is not! Here's step by step what I did for the carrots. First, I bought a bag of the big normal carrots; I've read in several places that the big ones are better then baby carrots because there are more nutrients. Sounded good to me, plus a pound of those are cheaper then the baby carrots. I peeled, washed, and chopped them until they were in small bite size pieces. Then I put them in a steamer bag and microwaved til they were soft. I dumped the whole thing into the blender and pureed them. Now, with the apples I didn't have to add any liquid, they had enough that it was fine but the carrots weren't blending well enough. So I added water, just a couple tablespoons at a time until it had reached a thinner, smooth consistency. Don't add anything else though! Just water, no sugar or spices.
This is the apples once they were pureed
You may think you need a food processor or one of those fancy Baby Bullets to make baby food, but you don't! Any decent blender can do it too. I have a hard time making a good margarita in mine and it did just fine with baby food. 
After it was blended, I ran it through a strainer to make sure there were no chunks. This is extremely important! It may be a bit of a hassle because it took quite a bit of time to shake the food all the way through, but you don't want little one to choke. After straining, I divided it into smaller portions. I used ice cube trays and spooned the food into the cubes, filling it to the brim. Then I covered the trays with saran wrap and put them in the freezer. 
Here are the carrots, portioned in ice cube trays
Once they are frozen through, I dumped them into a quart size freezer bag, labeled the contents and dated! When you're ready to use them, take a cube out and either let it thaw in the fridge or I heated mine in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds, then let it cool til it was okay for Boston to eat. From what I've read, the amount of time they food stays good for while frozen, but it seems to be pretty consistent that you should try to use it within 3 months. As far as what type of food or using a deep freezer, I'm not sure but we're just going to stick with 3 months or less to be safe. 
Labeled and ready to go!
It was ridiculously easy. Depending on what you're making and if it requires cooking will decide how long it takes but even with the prep work for the carrots it took about an hour or less from start to freeze time. It's also very budget friendly! With a little less then 1lb of carrots, I got 18 servings of baby food. Freezing is also a great option if you prefer to purchase your food but your little one can't finish a whole jar. We bought a pouch of pears to start with, which needed to be eaten in 2 days. There was no way Boston could eat that much since we're just starting solids, so I poured the rest of it into the trays and froze for later. No waste! I am excited to make his food now and look forward to trying new foods and cooking methods. 
If you're still unsure, check this site out: It's a great resource in preparing and storage, and also what kinds of food to consider depending on your baby's age and stage. Don't forget to give your little one 4 days or more to adjust to each new food and make sure they don't have any allergies or sensitivities before introducing something new!
I'm excited for food, are you?!

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