I find that for a lot of moms there are several things that makes them afraid of making their own baby food - they think it is a time consuming process, they don't know where to start or what recipes are the best for their babies.
Don't worry. Stop stressing. Get cooking.
If I can do it, I know you can do it [I am really not that smart].
Making your own baby food is super EASY - it just takes a little planning and a small chunk of time.
Here is the prep work
First, you want to start with finding a couple of recipes that are age appropriate, have ingredients in season and have different tastes (savory, sweet, different colors, mix of fruits and veggies). The fresher the produce the better the food will taste and the cheaper it will be to make. Now, if you find yourself making baby food in the dead of winter, don't give up. Use frozen organic produce. It's that easy. It will have a similar taste since most frozen food is flash frozen at the peak of ripeness.
Secondly, you need to decide how much you are going to make. 2 weeks worth? A month worth? Depending on how long you want your food to last you might want to double or triple some recipes. You can easily make 2 weeks worth of food in 2-3 hours. The key is make recipes that require different methods of cooking. You can be roasting one recipe at the same time as steaming another recipe while you have another recipe simmering away. Another great idea, is to call another mama and do it together. More fun, more food.
Thirdly, go shopping. Get a big coffee, leave the babes with hubby and take your time. If you are being thrifty, you might have to go to a couple different stores to get the best deals. Costco is constantly adding more and more organic produce options and because you get so much produce it is a great option for making big batches of baby food. Local organic shops, food co-ops, farmers markets are all awesome ways to get cheaper organic produce. Where ever you shop, make sure to get the best looking produce you can find.
Now, it's time to get down to business.
Step 1- Get yourself some ice cube trays. I use these ones because I like the look of how the frozen purees turn out, but any ice cube trays that are BPA and phthalate free will work. These ones are way too cool. I would recommend having at least 10 or more trays so you can freeze a bunch at a time. Don't worry you will easily find adult ways to use them - like this, this and this.
Step 2- Wash the trays, and I mean really wash them. Hand wash or put them through the dishwasher (if recommend by vendor).
Step 3- Give the trays a bath for 3 minutes in boiling water. I know what your thinking, I just washed the trays do I really need to give them another bath? Yes. Or I should say, I would highly recommend it until your baby is at least 1 year old. This will kill off any bacteria that might still be on your trays. When your baby is young, they are more susceptible to bacteria. So kill those nasty bacteria off by boiling your trays. I do this step while I am wiping down my counters and getting all of my produce ready.
Step 4- Make your baby food. The fun part!! Let cool slightly in a bowl or ziplock baggie. You never want to let cooked baby food stand out at room temperature for longer then an hour so if you need more time, simply put the puree into the fridge until you have a minute to freeze it.
Step 5- Pour purees into ice cube trays. If using bowls, simply scoop out puree and dump into trays. If using baggies, cut off one of the tips of the baggie big enough for the puree to come out but not pour everywhere. Twist baggie above the puree and squeeze the puree into tray.
Step 6- Spread out puree into molds. Pat down puree with back of spoon or spatula so you don't get any air bubbles. Scrap excess puree back into bowl or bag.
Step 7- Stack ice cube trays in freezer with parchment paper in-between trays to keep them from sticking to each other.
Step 8- Let freeze for 24 hours.
Step 9- Bust cubes out of trays. You might want to wear kitchen gloves during this part as the trays are cold. Obviously.
Step 10- Feel good about yourself. Dance up and down, do a couple fist pumps or pat your own back. Look at what you just made your baby!
Playing around is always fun.
Step 11- Store in freezer bags or air-tight containers and LABEL (I almost always forget this part, which makes it tough to know what your feeding your babe when you forget what is in each bag. I won't forget, I won't forget) with ingredients and date you made it. All cubes will last between 3-4 months but this date really depends on your freezer. So be realistic. Is your freezer stuffed with a ton of other food that has been there for longer then your remember, which in turn makes it hard to close your freezer door? Then your baby puree might only last 1-2 months. Is your freezer so nice and neat that you actually have room for all of these baby puree ice cube trays? Then your baby purees will probably last longer. The best bet would be to have space dedicated to your baby food in a deep freeze. A luxury I know.
Heating up your AMAZING baby food
There are several ways you can defrost frozen baby food:
- Place frozen cubes into a container in your fridge and let defrost overnight.
- Take frozen cubes and put in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 30 seconds per cube. Stir and test to make sure the food is the right temperature.
- Heat frozen cubes in small sauce pan for 3-5 minutes or until melted. Let cool slightly and then serve warm.