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How To Save Loads of Money…i.e. How to Make Your Own Baby Food


Let me start by telling you that making your own baby food is actually so much easier than you would think. Once you get past the initial cash outlay (which still isn’t overwhelming), it can save you a lot of money AND provide wholesome nutrition for your little one. On top of those hard-to-pass-up benefits, serving freshly made, non-processed meals to your baby without the preservatives included in many baby food brands exposes your baby to the real tastes of the various ingredients, hopefully developing the palettes of your budding little foodies!



THE SUPPLIES

  • Baby food recipe book – I recommend this one, The Big Book of Organic Baby Food, which I have personally used for two babies now. It is easy and thorough and provides so many ideas for various stages of your baby’s eating journey.

  • Immersion blender – I got a Cuisinart immersion blender during law school with points I earned attending legal research trainings during our lunch break (it pained me to admit that level of nerdiness, but I was actually there for the free pizza). Turns out, it's perfect for baby food blending! But you can use any blender that can create smooth purees and there are several affordable options out there.

  • Freezer trays – I bought two trays similar to this one initially and just added this brand to our collection (so I can prepare more food at one time), but there are so many options out there. You can even use regular ice cube trays to keep costs low, but the silicone ones do make it easy to pop the food pods out after freezing. To prevent freezer burn, you will either want trays with lids or you can cover the tray with plastic wrap.

  • Saucepan – We have an AllClad saucepan from our wedding registry, but whatever you have on hand that can fit a steamer insert is perfect!

  • Steamer insert – Ours is falling apart after years of use and probably came from the grocery store, but here is a similar one. Really any steamer insert will do.

  • Silicone spatulas – Save every last drop of puree in the transfer to the freezer trays!

  • Various types of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and (not as enticing when steamed) meats – I buy a combination of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables (organic to the extent possible) and, this time around, I tried steaming ground turkey. You may be inclined to gag upon reading that last part and your inclination would be spot on. The dogs were interested in the meat puree, but I explained to them that I would, in fact, be feeding it to a human...despite its wholly unappetizing appearance.


THE PROCESS


Place an ingredient in the steamer over about an inch of water. Boil the water/steam the food for approximately 10-12 minutes (the book provides time estimates for various types of food). Remove steamed food from steamer, add a little water, breastmilk, or formula, and blend to a smooth puree. Place dollops of the pureed food in the freezer trays. Cover and freeze. Once frozen, pop out the food pods, put in a freezer-safe container labeled with the date and type of food, and store. Repeat with various types of food. DONE.

It really is that easy. To serve, take a frozen pod or two out of the freezer, allow to thaw (in the fridge overnight works well), heat slightly if desired, and serve! You can get creative with your combinations. I sent Indie to daycare yesterday with a mixture of blueberries and zucchini. So maybe it wasn’t her favorite meal...yet, but at least she’s being exposed to various flavors and I can be sure she is eating healthy meals without preservatives!


FOODS I'M PREPARING THIS ROUND

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Rainbow Kale

  • Butternut squash (from the freezer section; Indie loved it!)

  • Blueberries (from the freezer section)

  • Mixed Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries from the freezer section)

  • White beans

  • Ground turkey

  • Carrots

  • Zucchini

  • Peas


The book I recommended also includes spices that mix well with the various types of foods (for example, rosemary with cauliflower), which I will try in the next batch of baby food after Indie has had a chance to taste the pure ingredients. As the weather gets warmer, I will throw in some seasonal options as well. The best part about this is that once you spend a day or two prepping food, you’ve got frozen bags of varied ingredients to pull from for weeks! A little bit of effort up front has a long-term payout. Happy steaming!


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