I got comments like these all the time from friends and/or family members when it was discovered that I make my son's baby food. To be honest, I thought some of the same things: that I didn't have the time and that it would be much too difficult. I had a great homemade baby food mentor who showed me otherwise.
First off, I'll tell you my reasons for wanting to make my child's baby food:
1) Making your own baby food is SO much cheaper. By like 1/2! The first month of making baby food, I did a little price comparison and I would have spent double buying the jars (or plastic tins now). That is reason enough to sign me up!
2) Homemade baby food is healthier. You know exactly what the ingredients are and you never add things that end in "acid" or "concentrate".
Now, here a few things to know about making your own baby food. The 411, if you will.
- The whole process is cook (steaming or roasting), puree, then freeze. You have to cook most foods to soften them up enough to puree them. I just use my steamer that came with my pan or I roast (mainly vegetables) them in the oven.
- A food processor is ideal for pureeing, but I use my blender that's attached to my Bosch and it has worked wonderfully. All you have to do is add a little water (or leftover cooking liquid if you've used a steamer) and puree away. Just add liquid until it is a nice yogurt consistency.
- Once pureed, all you do is pour into your containers and put in the freezer. I found that ice cube trays (I loved the silicone ones!) are the easiest and cheapest. Once frozen, pop into labeled freezer bags and you're done.
Easy enough, right?
Besides the money saving, one of my favorite parts has been being able to be creative and come up with different concoctions. I was lucky enough to have my husband (who happens to be a fabulous cook) right along side me pureeing away. He enjoyed making the baby food just as much as I did, and loved cooking up combinations for our babe. Obviously, easy things to make are bananas, sweet potatoes, or squash. But some of my son's favorites were blueberries & pears, applesauce with cinnamon and raisins, cauliflower gratin (cauliflower, tomato and cheese), and sweet potatoes & broccoli. The possibilities are pretty much endless :)
As far as the time commitment? Honestly, I only spent a couple hours every few weeks. Most of that time was just waiting for food to steam or cool down. And that is making enough food to sustain my eat-as-much-as-a-horse son! Surprising even to me, it does not take much time at all.
To go from the frozen ice cubes of food to the table, I would simply put how ever many cubes I wanted in a small ziploc bag and thaw in hot water for a few minutes. If I was really good and on top of things, I would set out the baggies for the whole day the night before to thaw. But we all know that didn't happen very often. Personally, I didn't like the idea of nuking all of my babe's nutrients out, so I stayed clear of the microwave. However, if you don't have any microwave nuking fears, then it can make it that much easier for you!
Now that my son's almost done with the babyfood days, I will say that I actually enjoyed the whole process and without any question will be making babyfood for the rest of my children!
Any of you make your own babyfood? Any tips that you'd like to share?
I have A TON of babyfood "recipes" that I'd be happy to forward along, so feel free to send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want them!