*This picture shows homemade peas, sweet potatoes and apples and bananas. *

 

Make Your Own Baby Food!

I have three children and I have nursed all three.  My first two children however transitioned to store bought baby foods in the jar, primarily because we were given A VERY LARGE AMOUNT of jar baby food so it was a great resource at the time.  This time around I decided to try to make some of the baby food myself.  I thought that if it were easy enough and less costly it would be worth it since I know exactly what ingredients are going into the food and I know there were also no preservatives or artificial ingredients.  So this is what I have learned.

A crock pot, a food processor (or really great blender) and some ice trays are really all you need aside from the ingredients.  The crock pot if a serious, serious friend to me.  I tend to be a busy person with many things to do so getting the food in there to cook throughout the day and then blending and freezing in the evening is the only way. 

The first thing I tried was sweet potatoes because they were in season and the fields were brimming with them nearby and I got my hands on a lot of free sweet potatoes.  A friend of ours also owns a farm and there is simply no end to that supply.  So I kept it simple.  Basically what I did with the sweet potatoes is what you do with everything keeping in mind to add some liquid so nothing burns or sticks while cooking in the crockpot.  When you blend it later, start with the food and then dip out the liquids as needed to thin it and making it more of a puree.  You can also add water, stock, juice and even milk. 

Sweet Potatoes:

1.  I peeled the sweet potatoes.

2.  I chopped them up into inch wide slices.

3.  Added enough water in the bottom of the crock pot to cover the bottom / half inch deep.

4.  I loaded in sweet potatoes into the crock pot and sprinkled them with cinnamon.

5.  I added a small amount of butter which you can choose to omit if you like. 

6.  When they were tender, I turned off the crock pot and loaded them into a food processor.  My blender has a food processor attachment and it works great.  If the food is soft, it will blend easily.

7.  I blended them (pureed) and then filled ice trays with the puree and put them in the freezer.

8.  Once the sweet potatoes were frozen in the trays, I popped the sweet potato cubes out, labeled a food storage bag for the freezer and filled it up with cubes.  I lay the bag flat in the freezer, one on top of the other. 

9.  I make sure I mark it with ingredients and date.  They are ready to use and they only take a minute and a half in the microwave to prepare.

10.  When you are ready to use them, put them in a microwave safe bowl, heat for 1.5 minutes, stirring until completely thawed and warm.  Feed to your baby.  They will love it.

I keep plastic baby food bowls in the cabinet and, when it is time for Jakob to eat, I put the frozen cubes in the plastic bowl and set the microwave at 1.5 minutes.  I stir it until it is completely thawed and warm.  (not hot)  Then it is time to eat.  When I cook dinner, I go ahead and warm his food too. 

The beauty of having bags of frozen cubes of food  is that you can mix up the meals however you like.  Make different kinds of food and take a few cubes from a couple different types and you have a meal.  I will pull out sweet potatoes and peas or apples/chicken and sweet potatoes and warm them together and stir them up and he has a variety of options.  Sometimes we just do carrots and peas.  If you notice, the jar baby foods in the store usually have several foods in one in them as well.  When I cook meat in the crock pot and then food process it, it is a dry crumbled consistency so I blend that with potatoes or apples or just stock until I have a puree.  We cooked venison and chopped it in the food processor to blend it with mashed potatoes so we ended up freezing a large batch of apples and chicken and a large batch of venison and potatoes.  When we take those cubes out we may also toss in a cube of peas or carrots to make sure he is getting other types of veggies.  I also make my bananas and apples together because they blend and cook well together.  So for breakfast he may have apples and bananas or just apple sauce or apples blended into his oatmeal.  You can use pears, strawberries and blueberries and on and on the list goes.

All you really are doing is cooking the foods to get them soft.  (Meats obviously cooked)  Then you process them and freeze them and store them.  If they are too thick, add water or milk.  Babies can have milk mixed in to the their foods.  It is recommended that they not begin drinking milk (cow milk) in a bottle until after 12 months, but as a blend it is perfectly fine.  This I confirmed with his doctor just to be sure.  You can also use 100% juice.  You know what you can or want to eat so just use those things.  Pastas are done the same way.  You cook to soften and blend until you have it in small pieces.  Then blend it with something else.  If you are making meats, you will blend them with something else or add stock to it after it is chopped and blend again to puree the meat.  You can freeze it like that or you could add it to another food like potatoes or peas.  There is so much you can do.

It is very easy, it saves you significant money and it is very healthy.  Start out with something simple like a bag of sweet potatoes or a frozen bag of peas.  Once you see how easy this is you'll probably be hooked!  Even my husband likes to peel and core the apples to slice them with bananas and blend them up.  Enjoy simple living. :)