Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade Baby Food...Easy Peasy

After spending a small fortune on organic baby food for the boys I decided it was time to start making my own.  We have a Vitamix and that totally makes it a breeze.  It's spendy but we've had it for a couple years and use it for so much more so I find that it's worth it. 

I started out buying a bunch of organic fruits and veggies.  I spent $26 and made approximately 71 jars of baby food that is way tastier than anything you can buy and it only took a few hours one Sunday afternoon.

I washed and cut up all the veggies saving the apples and pears for later since they would turn brown sitting on the counter.

I only have one steamer insert so I started off with the zucchini and gently steamed it until tender.  Gentle is important and please don't let it get mushy.  Even though we're pureeing them mushy vegetables are gross and they're robbed of their healthy nutrients when cooked like that.   

After gently steaming, I blended the zucchini in the Vitamix with a little bit of formula to thin it out.  You can use the water that you steamed the veggies in but some, like carrots, leave the water full of nitrates so you have to be careful and know for sure which veggie water is ok and which should be dumped out.  I choose to be paranoid and not use my steaming water at all. 

When the zucchini was pureed to the consistency my boys like I poured it into baby food trays.  I bought the Baby Fresh Food Trays from Babies R Us but found them on Amazon for $5 cheaper when I went to buy another set. I ended up with a bit more than a tray and a half so the boys had the leftovers for dinner that night.

As soon as I was done steaming one veggie, I washed out the pan and started the steaming process all over again with another while I did my pureeing. 

Sweet potatoes can be diced and then steamed, boiled or baked.  I chose to bake them and when they were tender (about an hour) I removed the skins and then pureed with formula.

After the veggies were done I started on the fruits.  Peaches aren't in season right now so I went with frozen, organic peaches.  They were very easy...blend by themselves with a little formula or add to another fruit.  I chose to add them to the apples. 

I steamed everything until tender except the apples which I barely covered with water and then gently boiled until tender.  I removed the skins from both the pears and apples as well as the seeds and core.


Pears - 1 of the pears was not quite as ripe as the others (hence the bit of green) but this worked out fine because the others were very ripe.

I had only bought 2 of the Baby Fresh Food Trays so I filled those two and then put the rest of the purees in glasses in the fridge figuring I would just pop the frozen food out as soon as it was ready and then add the next batch to the freezer.  I quickly realized that wasn't really feasible so off we went to Target to get some ice cube trays.  I was excited to find they had sets of 2 BPA free ice cube trays for $2 and snatched up 4 sets. 

After washing them, I filled 7 more trays, covered them with Press and Seal and put them in the freezer. 

The next day, I popped the cubes out of the Baby Fresh Food Trays and thought to myself "this is so easy!" Then I got to the ice cube trays and after twisting, banging and all but throwing the damn things out the window I thought to myself "%*!#^!" and then "I'm buying more of the food trays, they are worth every penny!"  Ben agreed since he had been helping me get the food out of the ice cube trays.  I was secretly glad he had a hard time because then he wouldn't say much when I dropped another $10 on two trays after we just bought 8 for $16. 

I put the cubes in freezer bags and labeled them with the contents as well as the date.  Each cube is about 1 - 1/4 ounce and they will last in the freezer for up to a month.

Below is how much I used and what it made...

1 pound Asparagus = 8 jars
3 small Zucchini = 9 jars
2 Sweet Potatoes = 17 jars
2 Apples = 5 jars
2 Apples + 1 bag Peaches = 13 jars
4 Pears = 9 jars
1 head of Broccoli = 6 jars
1 hand full of Green Beans = 4 jars

(a jar = 2.5 ounces)

I have since made more green beans, avocado (which I don't freeze) and blueberries.  I feel so much better giving the boys food that I made and it has saved us so much money.  It only took a few hours and now I just make stuff as we run low so it takes even less time. 

Connor and Parker were my taste testers and they definitely agree that mama's cookin' is better than anything that comes in jar...

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