Making baby food is really quite easy to do! There are entire blogs and large books published on the topic, so this will not be an inclusive post on how to make all baby foods, but rather a post that breaks it down into the basic steps so you can see how easy it is and consider venturing into the world of making baby food. You can see my post “In Action: Making Babyfood” for more information and for reasons why I think you might like to do so.
Here are the basic steps in making any food.
STEP ONE: COOK THE FOOD IF NEEDED
For any vegetable, you will need to cook it. For younger babies, fruits will need to be cooked until six months old. After that age, you don’t necessarily need to cook a fruit.
You can cook the food any way you like the food cooked. My opinion is that veggies taste better baked than boiled or microwaved, so I bake my food for my babies. For carrots, I cook them in the slowcooker. Whatever method you choose, you want the food to be very soft when done, so steaming might not be the best method for baby food for certain foods–I guess unless you steam it longer than I would steam for myself. I like my steamed veggies crisp. You can easily search recipes on the nice worldwide web for how to bake, microwave, boil, or slow cook vegetables.
Cooking Tip: For cooking sweet potatoes, put a drip pan or a cookie sheet on the rack under the sweet potatoes. You cook them on the rack, but the juices will start to drip out at the end. With a drip pan or cookie sheet, you can just clean that up instead of having to clean your whole oven.
STEP TWO: REMOVE SKINS
If you microwave or boil your vegetables, you will remove skins before you cook them.
Sweet potatoes will literally just drop out of the skins when they are baked. I just take them out of the oven and let them cool enough that I can work with them without burning my fingers. I then cut them in half and let them cool more if I need to. I then hold it over my Cuisinart and just let the flesh drop out.
For squash, I use a cookie scooper as pictured above. I scoop the squash out and drop it into my Cuisinart.
If you are not cooking your fruits, you might want to blanch the fruit to aid in skin removal. Blanching sounds ominous before you try it. Google ways to blanch for videos or tutorials. Basically, you have a pot of boiling water on the stove and a sink full of ice cold water. You put your food in the boiling water for usually 1-2 minutes, then remove and put it in the ice cold water. The skin will then easily slip off (if the fruit was ripe–under ripe fruit doesn’t blanch so well).
STEP THREE: PUREE FOOD
One way I puree the food is in my Cuisinart Food Processor. I put any food I have in large quantities in this. For example, I do squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, prunes, and green beans in this.
Another way to puree the food is with a Baby Food Mill. I use this for my bananas and avocados. You could use it for strawberries if you wanted to puree them. I will also use it to quickly puree some pears or peaches that I have preserved in mason jars. You could do smaller portions of the other foods in this, too. So if you made squash for the whole family, but wanted to puree some for baby, you could do just one portion in this.
I also use this for squishing up my bananas for banana bread. It is an inexpensive baby tool and I find it useful beyond baby food.
You can also use the old fashioned method of a fork to smash things up. A blender works great as does a potato smasher.
If you are making babyfood for 2-3 months (or more), my tip is to not thin it much when you make it initially. I discovered this accidentally. I made some food that I just didn’t add much water to (carrots). It was smooth, but thick. When she was younger, I would add water to get it as thin as she needed it. As she got older, however, I would add less and less water until I didn’t add any.
As they grow, their consistency needs change. If you make it thicker, you can always add water when you serve it, but you can’t take the water out. So, if you are making a large batch, try not adding much water so the food can “grow” with your baby.
STEP FOUR: FREEZE THE FOOD
The food will last for a couple of days in the refrigerator, so I save a couple of portions for baby in the fridge. The rest goes into ice cube trays. I scoop it using a spoon or my cookie scooper. I use traditional trays and the trays from Fresh Baby. I like the Fresh Baby ones best. The lids help keep the food fresh and you can stack the trays easily.
Once it has frozen (usually about 12 hours) you can move it into freezer bags. I write on the bag with a permanent marker with what it is and the month and year I made it. Then each morning, I get out any cubes I need for the day and put them into baby bowls with lids.
If you need it thicker when it is time to eat the food, you can add cereal to the puree. My go-to was always oatmeal.
See! Four basic steps to making your own pureed foods. I make enough at once that I only have to do it every few months. For keeping track of what you have introduced and what you plan to introduce, check out my free printable Baby Meal Planner.
There are two resources I like best.
- Wholesome Babyfood.com: This is a great site, and is really the only resource you would need. Something nice about a website is that it is dynamic and they keep current recipes on the homepage. It offers lots of different recipes for each food. If you check out the avocado section, you will see several different ways to prepare avocado for your baby. This isn’t really necessary; baby is fine with the same old thing over and over, but you might find it fun.
- Super Baby Food : This is my favorite resource. I am more of a book person than a website person. I like to have books to look through. I keep this book in my kitchen with my recipe books. This book is worth it even just for the section on how to choose, store, prep, make, and keep all fruits and veggies. I use it for the whole family! If you prefer books, I would get this.
- Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit: I use this book for quick reference in finding what ages foods are recommended for. This book has fast microwaving tips. It also has great ideas for spices and herbs that go well with different foods.