If you’ve been reading The Shopping Mama, and particularly the All About Eating series, you know I make my own baby food, but I’ve never actually written about HOW to make baby food. So, that’s what this post is all about: a step by step how-to and some suggestions for what you need.
So, I’m not an expert on how to make baby food. This post is based on my experience preparing baby food for my (now three) kids. I am lucky enough to have some exclusive interviews with bona fide baby food making experts to share! Check out my interview with Annabel Karmel and Q&A with Liza Huber of Sage Spoonfuls for more helpful advice and how-to’s.
Making your own baby food is really very easy. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. I acknowledge that it takes a bit more time than jarred or prepared baby food, but I think of it this way: I take the time to cook and prepare food for my husband, son and I so I can take the time to do it for my daughter, too.
The basics steps:
1. Cook a batch of food
2. Puree it to desired consistency
3. Freeze food in small compartment containers
4. Move frozen cubes of food to freezer bags
5. Thaw a cube (or two), and
See, I told you, it’s easy!
What You Need
Some of the basic recipes are very straightforward (i.e. steam frozen peas, puree, freeze), but as you move into introducing meat and want to mix up your baby’s diet I highly recommend a baby food cook book. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby
- Simple Recipes, Healthy Meals and Happy Babies Recipe Book
- Superfoods: For Babies and Children
- The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler
You can also reference these really helpful websites:
You probably already have everything necessary to make baby food because at a bare minimum all you really need is a food processor (or blender or food mill) and an ice cube tray. Of course, it’s much easier with some additional products designed specifically for baby food making.
If you use a regular ice cube tray, you will need to cover the trays with saran wrap to protect from freezer burn. From personal experience, I can tell you it’s much easier to use trays designed specifically for baby food storage or an ice cube tray with a cover. I really like the KidCo BabySteps Freezer Trays. I also use Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food/Breast Milk Trays and I know that Tupperware offers covered ice cube trays.
If you’re looking for a really cost-effective system that has literally everything you need including a basic cookbook, electric food mill and storage trays, I definitely recommend the Sage Spoonfuls System and the BabySteps Complete Feeding System.
Another great product I’ve been using lately is the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker. This single piece of equipment steams and purees baby food. It’s more compact than a food processor and takes the guess work out of the length of time to cook food. I LOVE the way this machine purees fruits and vegetables. It makes everything super smooth and really a great texture for early eaters. And another bonus with this is that you only have to clean one appliance!
Tips for Success
Double the recipe. Make a big batch of your kiddo’s favorite fruit once a week rather than making two small batches twice a week. Frozen baby food will stay good in the freezer for months so there’s no harm in making a lot at once.
Mix It Up. After preparing a few batches of food you may have several single food cubes so mix them to create more variety. For example, if you have cubes of peas and cubes of squash, thaw one of each and mix them up for a different taste. Or, thaw an apple and a sweet potato. Obviously, this gives you a lot more options without a lot more work.
Make it fun. Host a baby food making get together with friend or two. Each person brings a couple recipes and the food needed to double the recipe. Cook, steam, puree with company and everyone takes home a variety of food in their storage trays to freeze for baby to eat later.
Some is better than none. If you don’t have the time to make all your little one’s baby food, make some baby food. Cook an usual recipe that you can’t buy prepared so your baby still gets a good variety and exposure to different tastes and textures.
Reuse. If you buy prepared baby food in a glass bottle, save the container, and use it to freeze and store your homemade baby food. This also makes it easier to take homemade baby food on the go as it’s already in serving container.
Why I Like Making My Own Baby Food
In the long run, it’s cost effective, earth-friendly and I know exactly what my baby is eating because I made it. I just LOVE making my own baby food and it really gives me a sense of pride to be able to prepare special food for Baby Girl. Seriously? Go for it! You’ll be so glad you did!
Do YOU make your own baby food? If so, what am I forgetting or what’s your must have product? And, why do you make your baby’s food?