Spring has arrived (finally) and farmer’s markets and CSA’s are gearing up for a season of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect time of year to start thinking about making your own baby food! “What?” you say. “I don’t have time for that! Too much work.” I’m here to tell you that you do and it’s really not. If I did it (for two kids), seriously, anyone can. And it’s fun!
Baby Food Making Reading:
There are tons of books out there on making your own food. I used this book for my first child, and it was helpful. With number two, I discovered www.wholesomebabyfood.com. This website is a tremendous resource and it has all the information you need in one place: food charts, recipes, storage tips, nutrition facts, etc.
Baby Food Making Tools:
All you need to get started is a tool for pureeing. You may choose a food processor, a blender, or a food mill. I used a blender. You will also need ice trays and Ziploc bags. That’s it! I started both my babies with sweet potatoes. Take two large organic sweet potatoes, peel and cut into chunks. Boil or steam (I liked to boil them so I could use the water to thin my puree) until soft. Throw potatoes into blender with a little of the water used for boiling/steaming and puree until you get to the desired consistency. Then, pour into ice trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen you can store them in Ziploc freezer bags. One Step Ahead also sells these great little stacking containers for storing that are perfect for meals on the go.
Why Make Your Own Baby Food
Why bother with all of this? For me, I liked knowing exactly what my child was eating. I could also control the consistency of their purees and bring in more texture as they became ready for it. Both of my girls were only on purees for a couple of months. I gradually increased the texture of their food until I stopped pureeing altogether and just served them soft finger foods. Granted, this is totally kid specific and some children are much more sensitive to texture in food than mine were. I could also add spices and new flavors such a cinnamon and garlic early to add variety to their palates. My girls loved a sweet potato cube mixed with an apple cube cooked with cinnamon-just like apple pie! Furthermore, making your own food is cheap. Those two sweet potatoes would make enough baby food to last a week.
Give it a try! Even if you don’t make all your baby’s food, if you come across a beautiful piece of fruit at the market this summer, try pureeing it for your baby. It will surely taste better than whatever Gerber is offering!
Jeanette Sussi Sten