When you have your first baby, it’s sometimes hard to know what baby equipment you actually need, versus the items that you could just as easily live without. Baby food equipment, while convenient, is one category of equipment that you will only use for a few months, and it’s often tricky to store. If you want to save money and space, here are some tips for making baby food at home with equipment you probably already have.
Remember to follow your doctor’s advice about how to introduce foods to your baby and about what kinds of foods are safe for your baby to eat.
To prepare vegetables for baby food, steam them to soften them and preserve as much of the nutrition as possible. (Some vitamins leach out through boiling.) You can steam vegetables on the stovetop with a mesh steamer insert, or use a pressure cooker if you have one. An electric pressure cooker is my favorite way to prepare vegetables for baby food.
Babies can eat some fruit raw, but some is best prepped before adding to baby food. For instance, bananas can be enjoyed by your baby raw, but apples should be steamed (or just use purchased applesauce).
Depending on the age of your baby, and what your doctor says she can eat, consider nutritious grains, meats, legumes, and dairy that you may want to feed your baby, and prepare these as well. Some ideas include oatmeal, brown rice, black beans, or plain whole milk yogurt.
Once your food basics are prepared, it’s time to puree them. You can use a blender or a food processor. Add some filtered water to adjust the consistency, if necessary. You can also always add water right before feeding your baby if you need to thin the food out.
Don’t be afraid to mix foods at this point in the process (again, depending on how old your baby is and what your doctor says is okay to feed her). Look at baby food combos in the store for inspiration, but some ideas include spinach with bananas and rice, carrots and beets with a bit of applesauce, or sweet potatoes with broccoli and oatmeal.
When your baby is old enough, consider also pureeing what the rest of your family is eating. For instance, if you’ve made a chicken curry dish, put some in the food processor and blend it for your baby. This way, she gets a wide variety of foods, and begins to become accustomed to your family’s palate.
The easiest way to store homemade baby food made in batches is to freeze it in apportioned sizes. Use silicone muffin cups placed in muffin tins, either the large size or mini size or both, and spoon your purees into them. A small dough scoop makes this even easier. Put the muffin tins in the freezer and when your food is frozen, pop out the pucks into freezer-safe resealable bags. Label the bags with the date and what kind of food they contain.
When you’re ready to feed your baby, grab some pucks from the freezer (this is another opportunity for you to make blends, if you want), and warm them up in a glass bowl in the microwave. Stir well and make sure the food is a safe temperature, adding ice cubes if necessary. Add filtered water or baby cereal to adjust the consistency.
It’s not hard or complicated to make homemade baby food, if that’s what you want to do, and by using tools you already have in your kitchen, it’s easier than ever.
About the author:
Shifrah lives in Tallahasse, FL with her husband, four children, two cats, and dog. In the midst of mothering and writing, she enjoys reading, lifestyle photography, sewing, going to the beach, and documenting it all in pocket scrapbooks. She drinks her coffee black.