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How To: Make Baby Food Purees
I am not, nor have I ever been, an organic-y person. However, I have always been a penny pincher! So after months of nursing for free, it came time to introduce my little one to solid foods. All I could see behind my eyelids at night was dollar signs!
I went to the internet for answers! Baby food was anywhere from $0.60 to $1.50 per container!
Once my baby is eating three times a day, that’s 21 of these per week and close to 100 each month! Then about 8 months of this before she can really eat what we’re eating?! On top of diapers and other necessities plus snacks, that adds up QUICK!
There was no way I was going to be adding that to my grocery bill each week! So off I dove into the pool of Pinterest…and I started drinking the Kool Aid!
I began doing the math and it would cost chump change to buy fruits and vegetables, puree them and freeze them. We’re talking getting it down to $0.08 or $0.10 per meal! THESE are numbers I can live with!
“But it’s so much work!!”
It’s actually really not bad. No worse than making a meal for your family. On some foods you have to peel and chop. But then the steam cooks it for you and the processor/blender works for you.
If you are pressed for pennies, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!
I am 6 months into homemade food for my little one and BOY am I happy I did it! I have worked out the kinks and have 3 different methods to show you!
Fresh, frozen, and cooked.
That’s right, for 2 of these methods, there’s no cooking involved! Score!
I don’t want this post to be ridiculously long, so head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Frozen Food
And head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Fresh Fruits
At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the link to get your print out of my favorite combinations & recipes. Tested and approved by my little helper. This will help you when you don’t have any creative juices flowing at the end of the day.
A lot of blogs about making baby food will tell you to combine the ingredients before freezing. I don’t suggest this, at least at first. Get your baby through their introductions to check for allergies. See what they their favorites are. Then begin the fun of combining foods to make them meals.
When you freeze each food separately, you have endless options for combinations. You can throw cubes for three or four different foods together or keep it simple for one or two. This also comes in handy when your baby is addicted to the sweet fruits…you can sneak those veggies in there!
(Babies can reject foods up to ten times even though they may end up enjoying it. This is a big leap from milk/formula. Don’t get discouraged!)
Pro Tip: Take your time. Make one or two purees each night. You only have so many ice cube trays you can fill. The process goes slow at first. You’re supposed to give your baby a new food then have them eat it for 3 days. This is in case the baby has a bad reaction or food allergy; you know the culprit immediately and can avoid putting your little one through it again anytime soon.
Items you need:
- Ice cube trays (I grabbed mine at the dollar store – Three 15 cube trays for $1!)
- Food processor or blender
- Freezer safe ziplock bags
Stages you need to know about:
Stage 1 – Supported Sitter – Your baby’s first solid food should be runny. If your purees are thick, you’ll want to thin them with milk, formula, or water.
Stage 2 – Sitter – Your baby’s second solid food should be a thicker consistency. If your purees are thin, you’ll want to thicken them with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal.
Stage 3 – Crawler – Your baby’s last solid food before table foods should be thick and should have chunks in it baby can chew and mash on.
Butternut Squash (check out the tutorial on cooking these puppies here)
Green Beans (fresh, canned or frozen)
Peas (fresh, canned or frozen)
Corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
- Peel, core & chop.
- Place in steam basket in pot of water for 30 minutes (or until you can stick a fork in easily)
- Throw in processor/blender until pureed evenly.
- Stop to scrape if you need to.
- Add a bit of milk, formula, or water if it needs to be thinned to blend.
- Spoon into ice cube trays & tap to pop any air bubbles.
- Toss in freezer for a few hours.
- Pop out cubes and put into freezer safe ziplock bags.
- Label name and date. These are usually good for about 4 months.
This is the method that takes the most work, but this is the place where you’re going to find your solid bases for most meals.
Squash, Pear, or Apple are in almost every single meal I serve my little one. These are the most popular bases on the market. They have a good taste that is not overly powerful and they have a great consistency.
If you check out the baby food at the store, you’ll see these ingredients in almost every single label… along with other stuff that you may or may not be able to pronounce.
Special note about Carrots: When in the processor/blender, do not use the remaining water from steaming to thin.
Special note on Peas & Green Beans: These have shells/skins on them that will probably require some extra time in the processor/blender. You want to make sure that there is no rogue shell in there that can be a choking hazard!
Thawing & Cooking
Pull a few cubes out of your ziplock and toss into a microwave safe dish.
Nuke for 20 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir, then microwave for 10 seconds & stir as needed. You want to cook in short bursts and stir.
This is a small amount of food. It can heat up very quickly and can get hot spots in it so you want to stir to prevent burning baby’s mouth.
You’ll want to get it to room temperature or warm. Test on your inner wrist if you’re unsure.
Don’t get me wrong. I also love the convenience of the baby food sold in stores. I buy a few on occasion.
They are incredibly easy to throw in the diaper bag with a spoon and you don’t have to worry about their temperature or having them going bad. It’s awesome for trips or being out at a restaurant or somewhere with baby.
However, when I open those containers and smell them, I want to gag a little bit. When my little one is grumpy about the food, I don’t blame her and I struggle to pretend to take a bite of it.
If she is throwing a fit about what I have made her at home, I happily take a bite or two and it always smells fresh and delicious!
I highly recommend you try this out. It will save you money and definitely will give you peace of mind that you know exactly what your baby is eating.
Grab your FREE printable baby food recipe ideas here!