September 22, 2011

Make Your Own Baby Food

These Pyrex dishes are freezer,
microwave, and dishwasher safe.
When my daughter first began eating solids, I, like most Americans, opened jar after jar of store bought baby food. But after noticing their unnaturally long shelf life (and some of the artificial ingredients) I decided to look for a fresher alternative.

If you're like me, the idea of making your own baby food probably sounds extremely intimidating. Before our daughter was born, I would have never dreamed of making my own baby food. It seemed like such a daunting task and I had no idea where to begin. But once I actually looked into it, I was surprised by how extremely easy it is to provide your little one with fresh nutritious homemade baby food. And you'll save a TON of money! Baby food is so easy to make. The entire process can be described in four little steps - Chop, Cook, Puree/Blend, Freeze.

How to Make Baby Food
1. Wash, peel, and chop your desired vegetables or fruit. I usually use frozen diced vegetables to eliminate this step. (Click here for specifics on squash.)
2. Cook to a soft tender state and allow to cool. I prefer stove top cooking with a small amount of water, but any method of cooking will work. Some moms even use the microwave.
3. Puree/Blend. Use a food processor or blender to puree the vegetables to desired consistency. Give older babies thicker, chunkier blends while younger babies need a smooth thin consistency. Adding more liquid - water, juice, formula, or breast milk- can help achieve a smooth consistency. The water left over in the cooking pot is a great choice to use in your puree because it contains escaped nutrients. If you ever add too much liquid, you can thicken it back up by adding dried instant baby cereal just before serving. (It stores and freezes better if you wait to add the cereal until right before serving.) **Important: Pureeing/Blending is easier and safer if you allow the food to cool first.
4. Freeze the food into individual portion sizes. Ice cube trays are great options for freezing small portions. Once frozen, transfer into freezer bags. Small glass pyrex dishes are also great because you can reheat directly from the bowl. Note: If you are using a microwave to thaw and heat frozen food, use a lower power level to help reduce hot spots. Stir well and always check temperature before feeding baby.

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