Having a baby changed the way my wife and I do some things around our home. Time and money have both become a little more precious than they were before. One way we save money is by making our own baby food. Sure, it takes a little more time than buying a dozen jars at the store, but making your own baby food can be a cost effective and healthier alternative than buying store bought brands. And it might not take as much time as you think – especially if you make large batches and freeze some of it into single serving size portions. Here is how we make homemade baby food.
How to Make Homemade Baby Food
Homemade baby food is a fun project that saves money, and more importantly, gives you the peace of mind of knowing what your baby is eating. Make sure to choose the freshest produce, meats, and dairy for your baby. I prefer organic and/or locally bought foods.
Thoroughly wash all produce and when possible, steam foods instead of boiling in order to retain nutrients. If you do boil, use as little liquid as possible and add some of the leftover liquid when pureeing the food. Finally, introduce new foods slowly so you can determine any allergic reactions. One new food item a week is a good rule.
Required kitchen utensils
Making home made baby food is relatively easy and you can probably do it with items you already have at home. First you will need to cook the food, then you will need to cut it into manageable chunks, then mash or puree the food. Some options for pureeing include:
- A portable, hand-turned food mill or baby food grinder. Good for on-the-go.
- A hand blender – an electric blender that is inserted by hand into a bowl of food
- A food processor – excellent for purees.
- A regular kitchen blender.
- A fork. Great for mashing soft foods like bananas or avocados.
Here is some chopped chicken and what it looks like after a few moments in the food processor. The following pictures are all used in the recipe at the end of this article:
Thinning and thickening the homemade baby food
Depending on the water content of the food, you will need to add liquid when pureeing it. Options for thinning foods include: breast milk, water, formula, cow’s milk, plain yogurt, or homemade broth.
If the food needs thickening, you can use: cooked egg yolks, sweet potato, wheat germ, whole-grain cereal, cottage cheese, or plain yogurt.
The following pictures are diced sweet potatoes that have been pureed. You will need to add some liquid when you puree sweet potatoes.
Storing homemade baby food
Once the food has been pureed, you can use it immediately or store it for later use. If you plan on using the baby food within the next couple of days, store in air-tight container in the refrigerator. I like to use a couple of glass baby food jars that have been washed.
If you have extra baby food that you will not be able to use within a couple days, then freeze it for later use. We like to freeze it in small portions for easier use. One-ounce ice cube trays come in handy for this. Once frozen, pop out the baby food and store it air-tight containers. Use within 2 months.
Sample baby food recipe: Chicken and Sweet Potato
Here is a sample recipe which is easy to make.
- 1 Chicken breast, cooked and chopped
- 1 small Sweet potato, cooked and chopped
- Liquid of your choice for thinning (I use about 8 oz stored, frozen breast milk that has been thawed in the fridge.)
- Place chicken in food processor and grind to small chunks, about the size of cottage cheese.
- Add chopped sweet potato.
- Give everything a quick mix in the food processor until all is blended.
- Add your liquid of choice and puree in food processor.
- Continue adding liquid until you get the consistency you want.
Another favorite recipe – Broccoli, peas, and pears: Boil broccoli and peas, and puree them with fresh pears. You will need to add liquid to this, so consider adding milk, fruit juice, or the water used to boil the vegetables (it will be vitamin rich).
Do you make your own baby food?