When my baby was approaching 6 months of age, I started getting really excited about beginning solid food. One day I was checking out baby food options at Target and I realized that feeding my little munchkin was going to get expensive fast! I remembered that I had generously been given a Beaba Babycook at my baby shower so I got it out and started reading about making homemade baby food. It did not take much googling to find the most incredible website, Wholesome Babyfood, which was extremely helpful with everything to do with starting solids. I highly recommend checking it out!
The information I found most appealing when I first found Wholesome Babyfood was how much money you save by making your own! Check out this chart comparing homemade baby food with popular brands like Gerber and Earth’s Best. You can save up to 27 cents per ounce by making your own food! For example, homemade peas will cost 5 cents per ounce. Buying a jar of Gerber peas will cost you 28 cents per ounce! It is a big difference especially when they eat more and more every day.
The thought of homemade baby food can be a little intimidating at first especially when you already have so many other things to do and are quite possibly sleep-deprived! However, it is actually really easy and if you make a big batch and freeze it you won’t have to do much on a day to day basis. So here is a little step-by-step tutorial for making and freezing your own stage 1 baby food! I hope this helps you save time and money as well as feed your little one baby food that is high quality, fresh, and natural.
Homemade Baby Food: A Step-by-step Tutorial
First, you need to decide which fruits and vegetables you want to start with. A few good options for a 6 month old baby would be apples, bananas, pears, peaches, avocados, squash, carrots, peas, or green beans. This can actually be a big decision for first-time parents, I know it took me awhile to decide!
Next, you need to head to your local Farmer’s Market or grocery store to find fresh, crisp blemish-free fruits or vegetables. I love when our Farmer’s Market is in session because the quality and taste is incredible. I was able to get some beautiful carrots, green beans, and squash for this tutorial.
Gather your produce of choice and make sure you wash and cleanse it thoroughly – peeling if necessary. We prefer soaking our fruits and vegetables in a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution for about 5 minutes to disinfect them. It works well and vinegar is really cheap!
Chop the carrots, apples, squash or whatever you are making into uniform sized pieces. It is better to use a wooden cutting board than a plastic cutting board because it is easier to remove bacteria from wooden boards. Make sure you don’t use that board for meat which can cause contamination.
Next, you need to steam your produce. You can do this with a baby food maker like the Beaba Babycook or a pot with a steamer. Some rice cookers also have a basket for steaming. You really don’t need a special device to make baby food – you can save money by using items you already have in your kitchen. Whatever you use, just make sure you add enough water to thoroughly steam the food until tender.
Once your food is steamed and tender, remove it from the heat source and drain the water. Empty it into the appliance you will be using to puree the food whether it is a blender, a food processor, or a bowl for using a blender wand. Add water as necessary and puree until you get a smooth, thin consistency.
Note: If you are making carrots, don’t use the the leftover water for pureeing the carrots until your baby is at least 8 months old due to Nitrates possibly getting into the cooking water.
Now that you have finished your batch of homemade baby food, it is time to prepare for freezing it! You can do this easily and affordably with ice cube trays. Make sure you wash them with warm, soapy water first. You can also wash them in the dishwasher on the sanitize setting or even boil them although that depends on the type of tray so you might want to check first.
Pour or spoon the pureed baby food into the ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap. Put it in the freezer and depending on how much you make, you’ll have baby food for the next few days, weeks or even months. You can also transfer the food cubes from the trays into freezer bags. Just make sure you label each bag so you know what it is and how old it is because it is best to to keep it in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months. One cube is about one ounce which in the beginning is also one serving.
In order to prepare the food for eating, remove enough for a day or two from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. To warm it up you can use the microwave or the stovetop on a low setting. If you choose to microwave, use a glass bowl and stir it to get rid of any hot spots. You can also float a bowl of frozen baby food in another bowl full of warm water. Don’t be afraid to combine different types of frozen cubes to make new flavors!
Note: Never store leftovers that your baby was eating from because saliva could contaminate the food and cause food poisoning.
Have fun watching your baby enjoy wholesome, nutritious and affordable homemade baby food right from your own kitchen! Have a camera ready to capture those first bites.
Start-to-Finish Photo Strips
Here are a few photo strips to help you see the process from start to finish using various appliances.
In the photo strip above, green beans were washed, chopped, steamed, pureed and frozen in ice cube trays.
Do you have any tips for making homemade baby food? Feel free to leave any in the comments!