This is another guest post by my sister JP, she has two kids of her own and in honor of the birth of my second child she coughed up a second guest post about baby food to keep me going until I can get back into this sleep deprived routine.
I am going to preface this article by saying that I am not an expert at making baby food. I have never read any books or taken any classes on how to properly prepare my own baby food. In addition, I am not, by any means, one of those gung-ho, super-healthy moms who started making baby food because it’s in some way better than the jarred stuff. I actually met someone last week who decided to start his own farm in order to ensure that his kids are getting fresh, undoctored meat. More power to him. I, on the other hand, have no desire to kill what I eat, and since I grew up on grocery store food and turned out just fine, I am certain that my kids will, too.
With that said, I started making my own baby food for a very simple reason – I’d heard it was cheaper. Having a baby in the 100th percentile for height and 94th percentile for weight, I guess it was a given that she would eat a lot. At four months, she was already eating cereal and baby food. By five months, she was eating two jars of food, plus cereal, for breakfast and dinner.
In an attempt to save some cash, I first dished out a lump of it – about $50 – to get a food processor. One suggestion I have – if you are really dedicated to making your own baby food, invest in a higher dollar food processor. Mine works…but it doesn’t work great.
Now, instead of explaining the whole process step-by-step (trust me, you want to find a different online article for that; did I mention I’m not an expert?), I’m going to offer some tips for the few types of baby food I have made:
Applesauce. The first time I made baby food, I decided to start with applesauce. I read an online article with directions on how to make the applesauce, and it suggested using Macintosh apples. I, however, bought Fuji apples because I like Fuji apples, so why shouldn’t my 5-month-old? I peeled them, diced them, and steamed them, and after gleefully watching the food processor puree the apple and water mixture, I somehow ended up with lumpy, clumpy apple soup. The next time, I used Macintosh apples. It turned out perfect.
Carrots. I have no advice to offer for these. I have yet to make a good batch of carrots, either with frozen or fresh.
Sweet potatoes. In my opinion, this was the absolute easiest one to make. Just peel them, dice them, steam them until they’re good and soft, and put them in the food processor with some water. I generally use the water left over from the steaming. Never had a bad batch of these.
Prunes. Ah, the joys of having a constipated baby. For these, I bought dried prunes, soaked them in a bowl of water for at least thirty minutes, and then added them to the food processor whole. If you get anything out of this article, remember this: do not add water to the prunes before starting the food processor. Perhaps because of the weight of the prunes, the food processor sloshed them around so much that it ended up spewing prune-tainted water everywhere. You should first process the prunes alone and then gradually add water from the bowl in which they’d originally soaked until you get it to the right consistency.
I admittedly have not tried much else. With buying a house and my daughter starting daycare (where they feed her breakfast and lunch), making my own baby food hasn’t really been as much of a priority. I would still highly suggest giving it a try, though. It’s fun, and it does save money. I took a jar of baby food and used it to fill up the cubes in an ice tray (where you put the baby food after you’ve made it so you can freeze it into cubes and later store it in baggies). One jar of baby food equaled three ice cubes. Using that as a basis for comparison, I counted up how many ice cubes of baby food I made for each item and compared to how much I would have spent on store-bought baby food. I believe the ratio for the carrots (even if I never did quite get them right) was 4:1 in favor of the home-made food – if you get a 99 cent bag of frozen carrots. Apples were maybe a little less than 2:1. The prunes and sweet potatoes were somewhere between 2 and 3:1. So basically, if I spent $4 on a bag of prunes, I could get $8 (or more) worth of baby food out of it.
So there you have it – an article on making baby food from a total non-expert. If you want to actually learn how to do it, I would suggest doing some sort of online search. There are, I’m sure, books and instructional videos, etc. But there are also plenty of totally free online articles that give pretty decent instructions. Enjoy!