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Making Baby Food at Home
Making your own baby food at home will save you time and money, and give your baby the healthiest option to eat. It doesn’t have to be a scary mystery. Making baby food is easy and very inexpensive.
Your initial investment in homemade baby food should be very small. You will need:
8 trays of ice cubes
Freezer Quality storage containers or freezer bags.
A blender (if you don’t have one, it’s not absolutely essential)
If you start with fruits:
The easiest thing to make at home is applesauce. You can buy a huge budget-sized jar of organic sugar-free applesauce and simply open the jar, pour into ice cube trays, cover with aluminum foil, and freeze. If you already make homemade applesauce, you can also freeze it in ice cube trays. For babies, be sure not to add the citrus fruit to the applesauce unless the baby has already taken it.
Bananas are just as easy. When they start to ripen, mash them with a fork if you don’t have a blender and put them in the ice cube trays. When you have the soft bananas, just blend a batch in the blender and put it on trays. If you are worried about the color (it will look a little brown) you can add a drop or two of lemon juice, again, only if the baby has had citrus before. You don’t want to introduce two foods at once.
If you want to start with vegetables, pumpkin is the easiest. Go to the aisle where you buy canned pumpkin (the kind you buy to make pumpkin pie). Check the label. One part is 100% pumpkin puree. This is what you need. Don’t take any with added spices. Buy the biggest can. Open it and put it in ice cube trays. Wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze. Other very easy ones are: sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, green beans, peas.
In a day or two, when it’s solidly frozen, remove the cubes and place them in freezer bags.
I used to keep a Tupperware container in my freezer that had all the vegetable cubes and one that had all the fruit cubes, then every day I would go through and get what I needed. I usually just defrost them in the microwave. Mix them well and check the temperature with your finger. If the food is too thick (it may be at first) you can mix it with small amounts of water or breast milk or formula.
As the baby grows, you will use 3-4 cubes for food, but at first you can only use one cube for food.
These are highly portable. I only had a few containers. I put the frozen cube in it and if we went out somewhere it would melt, or I could add some hot water and melt it faster if needed, then mix in some dry baby cereal to get the perfect consistency.
Applesauce, bananas, avocado and pumpkin are the easiest to make and if you don’t do anything else, this will save you money.
If you want to take it a step further, all fruits and vegetables can be prepared for baby by simply cooking them until they are soft (retain all the water you use to blend them so that they are soft and runny). The water will have a lot of vitamins after the vegetables have been cooked in it. When they are soft, pass them through a blender. Keep adding the water you used to cook them until it’s a soft, baby food consistency. When it’s nice and smooth, pour it into ice cube trays. Freeze Take it out after a few days and wash the trays to use them again.
I made a big batch of something about once a week. Then the following week I would make a different batch.
If you decide to try making your own cereal at home, that’s easy too.
To make a two-cup batch of baby cereal, once you’re ready to add protein:
1/3 cup dry grains (brown rice, millet, oats, barley, etc.)
2 tablespoons of dried legumes (lentils, dried peas, etc.)
Put them in the blender (DRY) and grind them into powder. It will make about 1/2 cup of powder. When you’re ready to cook the cereal, stir it into two cups of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes (double if you include soy). Stir frequently while cooking. You can keep this in the fridge for two to three days or freeze it. Make sure to freeze it in small portions. This recipe comes from the Super Baby Food Book. It has all kinds of great recipes for making nutritious baby food from scratch.
Once she’s big and ready to try meats, your regular blender will probably have problems. We have a really nice blender, but if yours isn’t powerful enough, you can replace it with a food processor. Just cook several chicken breasts in just water (no seasoning). Next, grab a fresh pear from the grocery store and put it in the blender with a piece of chicken or two, adding enough water to make it smooth (make sure the baby is old enough to eat raw pear that is soft). Freeze it and use it instead of meats in baby food. They smell bad anyway, and the homemade chicken smelled pretty appetizing.
You can also add formula or breast milk or baby juice to any food to get the right consistency.
Finally, you can also freeze the milk in ice cubes. This is very useful if you buy milk in larger quantities than your child can drink before it goes bad. This also works well with goat’s milk, but the closer you freeze it to fresh, the better the milk will taste when you thaw it and use it. So if you have milk in the fridge and you know you’ll be gone for a few days, you can freeze it to make it last longer, and use the cubes when you need fresh milk but don’t have it. These will work well for making your own homemade mashed potatoes or for baking.
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