Making your own baby food is easy, economical, and wholesome. You will know exactly what your baby is eating, and that the ingredients are fresh and healthy. Keep in mind that making your own baby food doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start with just one fruit or vegetable and see how it goes.
You can use fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and veggies to make baby purees. Remember that frozen veggies are not cooked, and so need to be cooked in the same way as fresh. Some foods, such as sweet potatoes, may work easier from canned (affordable, already peeled, and already soft).
Many foods need only little additional preparations. Foods such bananas, avocados, and cottage cheese just need a little mashing to get to the desired consistency. Other foods will need cooking and pureeing.
Start by scrubbing, peeling, and removing skins and seeds from the fruits and vegetables. Then cook the fruit or veggie by steaming, baking, microwaving, or boiling. Steaming retains the most nutrients. Transfer the thoroughly cooked food into a blender, food processor, or food mill and puree the food. It is a good idea to set aside the liquid the food is cooked in, and then add back in as needed to get the desired puree consistency. The next step is to transfer the puree into ice cube trays to freeze. Ice cube trays give you about one ounce portions to use as needed. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and set in the freezer for about a day, then store the frozen cubes in a freezer safe zip lock bag. Don’t forget to label and date the bag.
Fresh homemade puree can be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours. For optimal nutrient retention and quality, frozen baby food should be used within 3 months, but remain safe for up to 6 months.
• Keep in mind that although your baby will need to eat more runny foods in the beginning, it won’t be long before your baby will be able to eat more dense foods. You might consider pureeing them to a thicker consistency, and when thawing the cubes for meal time, gradually adding less additional liquid as your baby can handle the thicker food.
• Foods such as a bag of peeled baby carrots, frozen peas, and frozen green beans just need to be washed and steamed (no peeling or cutting needed).
• Buying a jar of unsweetened applesauce, although not quite the same as making your own applesauce, is a lot more price effective than the jarred baby food apples. You could pour it directly into the ice cube trays to freeze into cubes.
• Eventually your baby may eat 3-4 cubes of pureed food at a time. To add variety to your baby’s diet, mix different purees and also vary the mixes.