My family loves food. We bond over it. We shop for it together; its preparation is an experience we all enjoy. It just makes sense, then, that I would opt to prepare the majority of the purees for my little ones. I have taken genuine pleasure in preparing baby food myself, and with the help of just a few key tools, it is honestly a simple and wholly gratifying experience. And, contrary to what you might fear, it really doesn’t take much of a time investment. Interested in giving it a shot? Read on!
Now, the following items are by no means a requirement, per se, for making baby food on your own, but I’ll be honest: I don’t know how I’d get by without them. With a little ingenuity, though, you might be able to find something at your disposal to use instead that works just as well!
Steaming foods is the absolute best way to retain all of the those important vitamins and ensure they make it into baby’s tummy and aren’t lost as they leach out into boiling water. There are admittedly some veggies for which I have found steaming to be the inferior option (sweet peas are one that immediately comes to mind), but for the most part, when steaming is possible, I choose that method of preparation. I absolutely love my asparagus steamer like this one for this purpose. It is just the right size to accomodate the relatively small amount of food I am typically preparing for each batch, and the holes on the basket are very small, so there is no chance of any morsels escaping to the water below. We actually received this steamer as a gag gift when we married (long story), but it has turned out to be one of the most well-used tools in our kitchen arsenal!
2 A good food processor (or blender)
Hang out here long enough and you’ll see that of any of my various kitchen gadgets, the one I’d be the most loathe to live without would probably by my food processor. I use it for everything from pastry and pizza doughs to soups and sauces, and it is the perfect companion to anyone interested in making their own baby food. I have known plenty of folks who have found a blender to yield terrific results, though, so don’t feel like you have to have a processor to get the job done.
3 Ice cube trays
I have seen items in specialty catalogs that are intended solely for freezing baby food purees, but plain-Jane ice cube trays have always done the trick for me! By freezing in these individual portions, you can easily choose the amount of each food you wish to heat and serve. Look for trays that yield about 1-ounce cubes to make calculating serving sizes especially easy.
4 Zip-top bags
For ease of storage, I have found this to be the best option, by far. They enable you to label each item with its name and date of preparation, and it is super helpful to be able to see into each bag so you know exactly what you’re reaching for, and when you’re running low and need to prepare more. Word to the wise: it’s obviously purely up to personal preference, but I find the types of bags with the sliding closure to be particularly nice, because they make it possible to take out and portion and then reclose the bag one-handed (or almost so), all while holding a hungry baby on your hip. 🙂
5 A microwave
Thawing purees at room temperature or in the fridge is always an option, but let’s face it: when feeding little ones, time is almost always of the essence. Heating the individual portions on low power for a minute or two will defrost the purees and heat just the right amount. Remember, most babies actually prefer to eat foods served at room temperature, so there is no need to heat excessively!
In introducing various foods to my babies, I have always gone in a particular order.
Yellow (including winter/summer squash)
Orange (including carrots, sweet potatoes)
Green (including peas, green beans)
I don’t tend to stick to a particular order here, but I do introduce the fruits last to ensure that each child develops a taste for the often less-appealing vegetables before I show them that sweet stuff tastes really, really good. 😉
About three weeks ago, I started preparing vegetable purees to have at the ready once I get Tink started on solids. (My plan is to get her started on cereal this week, moving on to veggies in the next week or two.) To prepare a supply of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas and green beans (my go-to repertoire for the introduction of vegetables), it took me only a couple of hours on a weekday afternoon (not counting the time it took to freeze in individual portions). Not too shabby!
For sweet potatoes, scrub the potatoes thoroughly and pierce with a fork. Wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for about one hour, or until tender. Scrape pulp from potato skins, and prepare per the instructions for butternut squash above.
I like to use pre-washed baby carrots. Place 2-3 generous handfuls of baby carrots in a steamer basket, and steam for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until very tender. (Reserve steaming liquid.) Place carrots in bowl of food processor or blender and puree until desired consistency is reached, adding cooking liquid as necessary.
I’ll be linking this to all of my favorite parties!
Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you’ll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.
awesome! I tried to make my own baby food for the first baby and he NEVER liked anything I made (I kind of guessed as I was cooking which was probably the problem!). Of course he gobbled up jar food like crazy. Now that I have real instructions I can try this for baby #2! Thanks!!! 🙂 and we do the same thing with the ice cube trays with spaghetti sauce so we can take out just enough for John if we are making him spaghetti. SO easy!
I loved it! Thanks for sharing!
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I know so many moms I can share this with. I love that you included pictures as well. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂
Amy @ peppertowne.com says
I made all my daughter’s baby food too. It’s healthier, cheaper and just tastes better than the bottled stuff. Thanks for sharing and showing how easy it can be.
Amy Bowman says
What a blessed and healthy baby you have! Great tutorial, love the bright colors of the squash and peas!!:) Found you at Tip Me Tuesdays @ Tip Junkie…so glad I did!
Kendra Goodrich says
Great ideas! I also used small jars for freezer jam from Bell (you can find them in a lot of grocery stores) and they are the equivalent of two regular jars you buy in stores, so it’s good for two servings.
Stacey @ Fun to Craft says
I loved this post. I make a lot of my baby’s food too. I find it is sometimes easier. I will often use canned goods if it is for items out of season and just get the no salt added varieties. My little girl is loving canned yams right now. Thanks for your tips on steaming. I might have to try that way too. Thanks for sharing at ‘Look at me, I’m SO Crafty!’ at Fun to Craft!!
One of my favorite things was making food for my three kiddos! I loved the fact that I was making it myself and I was saving some money in the process. Thanks for having the energy to help others enjoy what I (and i seems like you) enjoy so much!!! You are amazing!
Man o man, I love this post!! This would be a fun one to link up to the Baby Week link party! I actually was searching blog land looking for a good baby food post! This is fabulous!
Andrea and Casey says
I’m so glad I found this!! I’ve been wanting to make homemade baby food for baby #2 (still pregnant) and this is a great reference! Thank you
I made a lot of my own baby food but I bought some also I found it easier when on the go. So at first I started using the ice cube trays but all of the large zip lock bags were falling all over the place. So I used the plastic containers from the store bought stuff and it was great for stacking and labeling. Also, at first I was making different fruits and veggies all separate then I made just fruit which was a mix of whatever i had on hand. Which was also perfect to mix with some yogurt for a smoothie for me.:)