Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby Food Makin'

I have made a lot of my kids' baby food.
This is not to say I haven't bought a lot of it too.
I am not against store-bought baby food.
I don't think it is harmful or anything like that.
Obviously, when you make things at home you know every ingredient and can make it exactly how you want it.
But . . . the main reason I make baby food is cost.
You just get a lot more for your buck.
I want to make it clear that I am not judging anyone who buys the cute jars with the pretty mixed fruits.
Cause I do it too.
Glad we got that out of the way . . .
Now, some people may not want to make their baby food because they think it is too hard or complicated.
This is definitely not the case, so I am here to give a little tutorial of sorts on how I make my baby food.
I won't lie and say it is quick or not time-consuming, but now that I have three kids to load up and put in the car . . . so is grocery shopping.
I am nothing if not always looking for an easy way out, so here is the easiest way to make a ton of baby food and build a stash that will last quite a while.
First - buy the fruits or veggies you want to feed your baby.
I recommend buying at a farmer's market because it can be cheaper and fresher than what you can get at a chain grocery store.
And I didn't buy organic.
Sue me.
Lexi hasn't started eating yet, so this is my first batch.
I went with sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Both are really good choices for first foods and cheap to buy.
The squash cost me about 2 bucks and the 7 sweet potatoes were about the same.
I just washed and poked the potatoes, and then wrapped them in foil before putting them in the oven.
For the squash . . . Just cut it in half length wise and place it face down in about an inch of water.
Cook both for 45 minutes to an hour in a 400 degree oven.
 They come out looking like this.
This is obviously over-done, but the dark brown is just on the skin.
The "meat" of the squash is fine.
It is almost impossible to screw this up.
Believe me.

The potatoes should be soft to the touch.
These were pretty small sweet potatoes, so they only took 45 minutes.
The larger ones would take a good hour to get soft enough.
And you want them super soft for blending purposes.
Once the food is cooked you can break out the tools.
Now . . . hear this . . . you do not need special tools to cook baby food, but in my humble, three children later, opinion these two things are really nice to have.
The magic bullet is basically a small blender, but it is super powerful and perfect for small amounts.
The ice trays are made of a silicone material, so the food comes out really easily.
You can get them on amazon.
I scooped all the "meat" out and into a bowl.
Then I threw that meat into the magic bullet.
I added some water to the mix.
I usually use the water the veggies were cooked in to get as many nutrients out of it as I can.
I also put quite a bit of water in the first batches I make, so the food will be easy to eat.
As the babies get older I will make it thicker and more "chunky" to help them transition into table food.
Once it is blended the way I like it I just dump it into the trays.
After I fill all the holes I just smooth it out with a spoon and make sure all the little crevices are filled.
Then I put the trays in the freezer for about a couple hours.
That one squash made 28 one ounce squares for my baby girl.
That is basically 28 meals for her because one of these is enough to fill her tummy when she first starts eating.
Once they are frozen I just transfer the blocks to a feezer-safe ziploc and warm one when I need it.
I will repeat the same process for the sweet potatoes.
The whole process for this amount of food takes about 3-4 hours (with cooking and freezing time included).
I could have made more, but I thought this was a good start.
I think I am going to make applesauce in the crockpot next. 

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