Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adventures in Homemade Baby Food

I've been making baby food for Avery for over three months and so far its been a fun adventure. I'd decided to share my experiences so far. I started thinking of making my own baby food for Avery when I was about six months pregnant. I really wanted to make healthy fresh baby food for our baby. I also liked the cost savings verses, buying jar baby food, but that wasn't the deciding factor. The deciding factor was starting healthy eating habits ( fruits and veggies ) from a very early age. I want Avery to love all types of fruit from mango's to watermelon. Most importantly to love veggies: peas, carrots, beets, cauliflower, spinach etc. After talking with our baby's predication, we starting introducing 'solids' at four months old. From four months to six months we fed our little guy mini meals of rice cereal and eventually oatmeal. We didn't introduce fruits and veggies until he was six months old, which is around the age most babies are ready to start on solids aka pureed food. 


Recent veggie and fruit purchases for large batches of baby food: strawberries*, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, beets, carrots and parsnips.


*I recently started feeding Avery a small amount of cooked pureed strawberries that I add to his applesauce. We've had no allergic reactions






What I use:


While I was still pregnant I bought a Baby Bullet after seeing their infomercials on one of my many sleepless pregnancy nights. At the time they had a buy one get one free special going on, so my friend Summer (also a fellow blogger) and I bought one together and got one free! Gotta love those late night specials. There are a so many options if you want to make your own baby food, you can use a blender, food grinder, food processor or baby food maker (like I bought) For me I like the idea of using a device that was exclusively used for Avery's baby food and nothing else. Most baby food makers range from $ 19 to $ 114.00 it all depends on what works best for your family and needs. You can buy baby food makers at Target, Wal-Mart or online like Amazon. I've seen baby food makers that both steam and puree all in one device. I like the baby bullet for a few reasons: clean-up, easy to use, large batches of food, cost, storage (the bullet came with fridge and freezer trays) I've always read & heard good things about these brands: Beaba Babycook, Baby Brezza


Baby food making musts:

  • spatula
  • baby food blender or grinder (as mentioned above)
  • small paring knife
  • chopping board (used only for baby food)
  • metal steamer basket 
  • casserole dish or cookie sheet (for roasting)
  • silicone freezer trays or baby food freezer trays 
  • Freezer storage bags 
  • peeler 

Shopping:


I go grocery once a week for our household and for Avery's baby food. I buy a combination of fresh and frozen veggies for Avery. I always buy fresh fruits for his baby food, you can buy frozen fruits, which is perfect when they are out of season. Typically I buy peas, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli frozen. Carrots I go back and forth between frozen, if I'm making a soup for my family that week I'll buy fresh. No soups planned, I'll buy frozen carrots. I also like buying steams in the bag frozen veggies (if on sale)  I always buy plain frozen veggies. When actually I get around early enough on Saturday mornings, we head to our local Farmers Market for fresh produce, they typically have a good affordable selection.  


Frozen peas, in my metal steamer basket




Making & Storing:


Making baby food is pretty simple and fun! I always steam or roast my veggies and fruits until tender before pureeing them. I steam Avery's veggies and fruits using a metal steamer basket, I bought one at Wal-Mart for $ 4.99. I find it faster to roast certain vegetables like: sweet potatoes, potatoes and squash then it is to steam. I love the smell of fresh baby food, it smells amazing! The color and taste (yes I've tasted) is hands down, so much tastier than buying store bought baby food.

Here's an example of how to make sweet potatoes. Tip: Buy smaller sweet potatoes because they roast faster and are easier to peel. Heat your oven to 345 degrees, clean the sweet potato and. Place the sweet potato on the cookie sheet, I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper for. When I'm able to cut the sweet potato very easy with a parring knife I know sweet potato is cooked though and its time to puree. After the Sweet Potatoes are roasted, I peel the skin of off and then cut the veggie into small chucks and place in my baby bullet 'large batch' blender. I also add about 3/4 of a cup of water, then I mix until smooth and creamy. Using my spatula, I make sure there's no chucks left, if they're chunks I keep blending until smooth. As Avery gets older, I will start making chunkier baby food. 


Pureed sweet potatoes in the large batch blender




Baby food can be kept in an air tight container for three days in the fridge, so when I'm making food I leave some in the fridge and freeze the rest. 






Wal-Mart, great price and works great. The brand is NUK with Annabel Karmel 'Fresh Foods' click here for the website. I also like the bowl and food masher I saw while shopping there and might buy it when Avery gets older, perfect for older babies and on the go eating. For some reason Wal-Mart doesn't show her products on their website, so it appears they sell her products by Nuk in-store only.


Sweet Potatoes in the AK Fresh Foods from Nuk silicone freezer tray



After the baby food servings are frozen, I transfer them into freezer bags. I write the frozen date & veggie /fruit name on each bag and place in a larger freezer storage bag. Baby food can be safely kept a freezer for 3 months. I use the oldest date baby food first, you can safely thaw food in the fridge or in the microwave using a microwave bowl, I'd would cool in the fridge to avoid 'hot spots' caused by the microwave.  


Frozen green beans, originally frozen in the Baby Bullet silicone freezer trays.


Frozen Carrots


Time Management:


I don't feel making homemade baby food is too time consuming. I can easily steam some peas in the morning, and then puree them, store and freeze in about 30mins while I get ready in the morning. I work full-time 40 hours a week, so for me its easy to plan on making large batches of baby food once a week. Kind of like I'm cooking a larger Sunday dinner, instead I'm steaming, roasting and pureeing food for our little guy. I also prefer making large batches once a week, because I can make so much food at one time. For instance two medium size bananas (plus water adding for blending) makes six portions of baby food. I get help while I'm making baby food, Hasani will watch Avery or I'll put Avery in his highchair and talk to him and tell him what I'm making for him. I do buy some food in baby jars, a few fruits that are out of season. Here's a quick list of baby food Avery's had so far, I've been feeding him way more veggies than fruit so far. We introduce new foods every three days, to make sure he has no allergic reactions. 

  • Fruits: apples, pears, bananas, peaches, prunes, cherries, avocado 
  • Vegetables: peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans,  potatoes, squash, butternut squash, spinach, beets, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and parsnips 

I recently introduced Avery to potato and beets swirl, at first he wasn't sure if he liked the beets but after a few spoonfuls he loved it! I find that if he doesn't like something at first after a few more bites, he ends up liking it. He's still not a fan of green beans, so I always feed those with apples, which he loves. 


Potato and Beets swirl, recipe from the book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook




A typical snack and lunch for Avery.


Snack: 

  • mum mums or yogurt melts
  • peach yogurt mixed with rice cereal (more on yogurt below) 
Lunch:

  • Peas mixed with barley
  • Pears 

Resources:


I like the website Wholesome Baby Food its was full of useful tips. But I really wanted a resource book and cookbook to make exciting combinations ( beyond banana and apples) of baby food  from now until he's a toddler that would continue promoting eating healthy. Plus I want to confirm what fruits and veggies are age appropriate.  Amazon has a huge section of homemade baby food books, click here for the book list. I recently purchased The Baby & Toddler Cookbook, I'm really happy I did. I've had the book for a few days and have already tried one of the recipes the beets & potatoes puree, that I already mentioned. I've already book marked a few recipes to try with Avery: beet, squash and quinoa swirl and summer fruit smoothie. The smoothie looks so good, its made up of bananas, nectarine, blue berries and apple juice. When he's 12mos plus I'm looking forward to making these recipes: mini salmon cakes and mini apple pancakes.





In addition to making Avery's baby food we're also starting to teach him to feed himself snacks. We recently introduced Mum Mums which he loves and yogurt melts. I also feed Avery baby yogurt. Its so cool, that babies can have yogurt! Its really good for their digestion. I buy the Gerber brand yogurt so far he's had peach, blueberries and strawberries. I plan to start making his own yogurt combinations. Thanks to the book, I bought know what type of ready made yogurt buy and will puree fruits to mix in. Yogurt can safely stay in the fridge for one day, and frozen portions are safe up to three months (in the freezer)

He also eats bananas and streamed apples in the Nuby Nibbler. He can eat super messy super fast when feeding himself. It's so cute. I love using them, but they are a pain in the but to clean. 




I'm only a few months into our homemade baby food journey and already I'm having so much fun.  For my family making homemade baby food really works out well. Sometimes I feel like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, when I'm making large batches of baby food. I'm sure watching the movie 1,000 times over the years made it easier to decide to make baby food this time around. With our older son I used jar baby food ( there was so little information about making baby food back them ) I kid with him, I'm going to start feeding him pureed food :) lol. That's my journey so far on making homemade baby food. 


Did / Do you make your own baby food, what are your thoughts on the subject? Are you planning or thinking about making homemade baby food when you have children? I'd love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to ask me any questions! 


Photobucket


14 comments:

  1. Love this post! I've been planning on making baby food for our baby, and this is really helpful. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. First off- I absolutely love the movie Baby Boom, I know I've seen it 200 times. I am also having a great time with the baby food making experience and I will grab that recipe book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Summer! Baby Boom is such a sweet movie, so cool you love it too :) So glad your having fun making homemade baby food too!

      Delete
  3. This was a great post with so much useful information! Though we don't have kids yet, this is something that I am already settled on doing once we do. With all of the chemicals and preservatives that they put in food these days, making your own is the best way to go!

    MyersMaison.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I made very few items when my tween was a baby. If I have anymore children. I look forward to trying some of the items you have.

    Mrs. Delightful
    ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hardly made my own. I should look into this though. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is such a great post - thanks for writing it. I've been interested in making baby food, too. So, I'm pinning this for future reference. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, your pinning 'me' I'm over here blushing! I really think you'll enjoying making baby food for your little baby boy :)

      Delete
  7. I think it's so cool that you do this! I hope I'm as successful as you are.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I made my daughters baby food but she wasnt into it. She really didnt eat much solid food until she got a few teeth and could chew things. I think she wasn't into puree. But I will def make my next baby's food.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh wow...I need to show this to my sister...awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  10. such a good idea...If I had a baby, I'd do the same thing...good job mom.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awe, you're such a good mommy! I never tried making baby food when my kids were younger. I bet your son loves it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have found some of classy ideas. It's truly one of pampering information for the idol parents. I am completely surprised. Thanks for sharing such a great valued thing in this source.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! Best, Katrina

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...