I get a lot of emails from readers asking about which products/equipment/tools they have to have when they start making homemade baby purees.
The truth is, not many.
Unless you are crazy like me, and you buy anything and everything related to baby food and just keep on shoving it into your cabinets until things are literally falling on you when you try to get the waffle maker out. Sad to say, but this is true.
You actually don't have to get a ton of stuff, and in fact you probably don't need to get anything at all to be able to make most of the recipes on this blog.
But there a couple items that I have used over the last couple of years of baby food making that have proven themselves worthy of their counter and/or drawer space. Their true test of worthiness, now that I don't have any babies in the puree phase anymore, is that I still use all of the items below on a daily or weekly basis.
So, while not absolutely necessary, these items will help you out when you are making your delicious homemade purees.
For a more up-to-date list of my favorite must-have products, visit my STORE found here!
Let's get the pricey item out of the way first.
For the first several months that I was making baby purees, I pureed them in a blender designed and marketed for making margaritas! Don't judge, I got it in collage. And don't worry, I washed it well before using it for baby food!
Then I blew the motor, sad day for me.
So it was time to get a new one, and I wanted to get one that would last for years to come. I was ready for the big investment. So I got a Vitamix. Then I got a panic attack on how much I just spent on a blender. A BLENDER!!
But truth is, a high end blender will change your life <------ not kidding
Having a good blender is going to make the smoothest purees, creamiest smoothies (and milkshakes), perfect pestos, frostiest margaritas and are even great for hiding veggies in pasta sauce, muffins and even pancakes <----- that is worth it's weight in gold for the picky eater stage.
So, flash forward to now, I have both a Vitamix and a Blendtec. While people usually have a strong preference about which one they love, I find they are both amazing and completely comparable - both of them will change your life.
My only strong recommendation is that if you get the Vitamix, that you get the low profile jar so that it fits under your kitchen cabinets.
Freezer Trays for Baby Purees
Shortly after you finish pureeing your first delicious batch of homemade baby food and fill up the 2 old ice cube trays you have had in your freezer for years, you are going to realize that you need to invest in a couple for freezer trays dedicated to just baby purees.
I will say that this is the only item you actually really need to purchase if you are going to make your own purees.
The three brands that I love using are the Fresh Baby Freezer trays, the BEABA Multiportions and the Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays.
All of them are BPA, lead and phthalate-free, dishwasher safe and portioned just right for baby food.
I would recommend getting at least 4 but upwards of 8 if you want to make bigger batches of the recipes.
Highlights for each one (and a couple of cons) -
Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays has a 4 star rating out of 775 reviews.
12 1/2-1 ounce sections, depending on how full you fill them
Easy to crack the frozen food out of them
Love that the lid closes all the way around the tray
Cleans up easy
Made in the USA
Con - not an even surface where you put the puree in, so you have to use a spoon to get the puree into the tray. Not a big deal, just kinda annoying.
BEABA Silicone Mutliportions Container has a 4.5 star rating out of 190 reviews.
7 2-ounce sections
Super flexible and easy to pop purees out of tray
Cons - expensive if you are going to get a couple of them
Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray has 4 star rating out of 2,180 reviews.
15 1-ounce sections
Makes super fun square cubes of baby food
Small in design, so they take up less room in your freezer
Con - out of all of the trays, this one is the hardest to get the purees out of. Also, this product doesn't come with a lid.
The good thing is that you can use these trays later on as well. I pull out my Fresh Baby trays to make fun Bits&Pieces lunches for the girls (a snack tray of miss-matched food items such as cheese, grapes, crackers, dried fruit and berries), as a paint tray for toddler craft projects (lid comes in handy so you can save any left over paint) or you can use it for a fun toddler sorting game. I also use it for coffee ice cubes in the summer and to freeze once fresh herbs in. So while, it's hard to fork over money for a bunch of glorified ice cube trays, know that you will eventually use them for more then just baby food.
And while we are talking about storage, you will also need a ton of gallon size ziplock freezer bags to hold your frozen purees in so you can reuse your freezer trays when you are making even more purees.
I use steaming as a method for making purees all-the-time on this blog! It's a fast and easy way to make baby food that helps keep the fresh taste of the produce while holding on to most of it's nutrients.
The problem is that most of us don't even have a steamer insert or steamer basket.
I know mine was aaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way in the back of my cabinet covered in dust.
While it is completely fine to use the standard and cheap steamer basket, you will not be able to steam as much produce in it as with a steamer insert. You may have to do most of my recipes in several batches with the steamer basket.
My steamer insert came with my pot and pan set, but if yours didn't, this one is from Cooks Standard. It is a big insert that will be able to steam a big batch of produce for your favorite baby puree, while fitting into almost any pot you already own.
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Stainless-Steel Universal Steamer Insert with Lid has a 5 star rating out of 48 reviews.
I love me some reusable pouches <-------- totally realize that this is a weird thing to love!
Here is why I love them 1) they are so easy to load up with homemade purees, applesauce, yogurt or combo of all three. 2) you can toss them into your freezer and then defrost when needed 3) they are easy to bring along with you for a fun on-the-go snack 4) you can pack them full of a healthy veggie puree (maybe with a little fruit puree if you are being nice) and your baby/toddler/ kid will still think they taste amazing and that they are getting a special treat (suckers:).
These pouches are great for both babies and toddlers. For babies you can store all of your baby purees in these pouches and then just take out and defrost in the fridge as needed. Great for daycare, outings in the park or traveling. For toddlers, you have yourself a quick and healthy snack! You will seriously get your money worth out of these reusable pouches.
Even though my girls are now 3.5 and 1.5 (the .5 somehow seems import to write out for some reason), I still make and pack reusable pouches for them all-the-time. Right now my go-to combo is roasted beets + carrots with cinnamon puree along with a couple spoonfulls of Greek yogurt. They go crazy over them!
I personally love the Squooshi Filling Station with the Starter Kit because it is easy to use, doesn't take up a lot of kitchen cabinet space and you can use it with almost any other brand of pouches.
Squooshi Filling Station and Squooshi Reusable Food Pouch Starter Kit has a 4.5 star rating out of 311 reviews.
Okay, not the most exciting thing in the world, but having a good spatula is really a kitchen must-have.
A spatula helps with not only getting all of the puree out of the blender but it also helps scoop out, fill, pack down and scrape off the excess puree when filling the freezer trays.
It's kinda one of those tools that until you have a good one, you never knew what you were missing.
StarPack Premium Silicone Spatula Set of 2 has a 5 star rating out of 1,546 reviews.
Other Nice Things to Have -
Little Foodie: Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste has a 5 star rating out of 106 reviews.
You like my blog, so I know you are going to love my book;)
Wean Green Glass Food Containers - Set of 4 has 4.5 star rating out of 172 reviews.
Besides the reusable pouches, I used these glass jars to heat and serve most of my baby purees. I love that they have a colorful snap on lid. Now, I use them for storing my nuts and spices. Win-win!
Where To Get All These Items
Since I know how hard it can be to get out with a small baby, I linked almost all of my favorite products back to my go-to online store - Amazon. Plus, with their 2-day FREE Prime Shipping, all of your new presents will get to you faster then it takes to load up your diaper bag!
Disclaimer: All links are for affiliate sites, but the reviews and recommendations are 100% my own opinion. When you purchase something from the above links, I will get a very small percentage of the sale. Thank you for supporting Baby FoodE!