Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DIY Wednesday: Baby Food


            
            Today’s post is a little different. I felt like sharing my experience with making my daughter’s baby food for the first time and also needed something for my DIY Wednesdays this week, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Hope that’s alright with all of you. ;)
            First off, I felt I should include a little disclaimer, of sorts. Yes, I boiled the fruits and veggies I used. Yes, I know steaming is better because you don’t lose as many nutrients and other good stuff. To be real honest, my husband cooks more than I do. I’m not familiar with steaming ANYTHING and didn’t feel like researching steaming methods before I made the baby food. I just wanted to get it done. (I do feel a little silly now because I just read that steaming is actually quicker.) I do plan on steaming the fruits and veggies next time I make baby food and I suggest you do the same as well for the previously mentioned reason.
            I decided several years ago, long before I had my daughter, obviously, that I wanted to make my own baby food for my children. Three summers ago I had a bad case of strep throat and decided to eat some baby food because I didn’t much feel like eating but knew I needed something. Let’s just say it was a name brand baby food and it made my tongue BURN. My husband even tried it just to see if my being sick had something to do with it. Nope. He had the same reaction. If it can make an adult’s tongue feel that way, I’m sure as hell not letting a baby eat it! So, now that I have my daughter, she will NEVER eat that brand of food. I have bought her some store bought food, but I check the ingredients like a hawk! Peter Rabbit Organics and NurturMe are my fave store bought brands. But we’ll save those for discussion another time. ;)
            Ever since my daughter was born, I couldn’t wait to start making her own baby food! I’ll admit, though, at first I just assumed my husband would do most of the work since he’s the one who actually likes cooking. Now that the time has come to actually make it since Myka is starting to try “real” food, I just decided to take the task upon myself since I have more days off than my husband. And honestly? It really wasn’t as bad or hard as I thought it would be! I actually enjoyed it! Not to mention the peace of mind I have from knowing there are no additives or extra preservatives in her food.
           
As you can know, there are a billion different ways in which you can prepare food; making baby food is no exception. Listed below are simply the items I used and the steps I took in making mine. I strongly encourage you to play around with your own methods and find what’s right and easiest for you! :)

What you’ll need (Don’t let the length of the list scare you. It’s basic kitchen items for the most part.):
-fresh veggies and fruit (you can use frozen as well if fresh ones are unavailable)
-knives
-cutting board
-peeler
-large pot(s)
-ladle or wooden spoon
-spoon
-food processor
-ice cube trays, freezer/fridge safe container, reusable or disposable food pouches
-permanent marker (or anything you can use labeling for that is not going to wash or rub off easily)

Optional:
-steamer basket (would come in handy for steaming instead of boiling)
-Infantino Fresh Squeezed line Squeeze Station (I cannot express enough how handy this is!)

1)     If you’re using frozen produce, be sure to thaw it out in the refrigerator the night before you plan on making food.
2)     Prep your produce: wash, peel, chop, etc. Suggestion: the smaller you chop/cube your produce, the quicker/easier it is going to blend.

3)     Boil or steam your produce until it is nice and tender. Make sure you drain the water well if you choose to boil. (Trust me. I found this out the hard way with the green beans yesterday. Lol)
4)     Once your produce is completely drained, you can either dump all of it into the food processor at the same time or add it in small amounts. I dumped all of mine in at the same time and wish I would have done it in increments. I suppose it also depends on how much you are making.

5)     Puree your produce to the consistency you like/need. Be sure to scrape off the sides occasionally, like you would with cake, cookie dough batter, etc.
See how it's all clumpy in the middle? Don't forget to scrape occasionally!
Yum yum! My daughter is a pureed pea fiend! :)
6)     Pour your puree into your choice of storage container. I would highly recommend using a large metal spoon for this, no matter what kind of containers you’re using.
The spoon helps out a LOT, but a funnel would be helpful too if you have one!
7)     Don’t forget to label and date! Depending on how much you make and how much your child eats, I would recommend putting the majority in the freezer (obviously do this if you use ice cube trays!) and putting one or two of each blend in the refrigerator so you have some ready to go!
Of course the one time I NEED a permanent marker, I can't find one to save my life!

Helpful Tips:
-Multi-tasking is your friend, especially if you’re making large batches of purees! I tried to have one type of produce in the “processing/squeezing” station, another boiling, and a third type being peeled and chopped at any given time. I know it sounds insane, but you’re a parent, after all. You multi-task all day long whether you realize it or not. :D
-If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could have several large pots/steamer baskets going at the same time with different veggies/fruits to expedite things some.
-Please, please, PLEASE be sure to wash all of your equipment thoroughly that you’ll be re-using, ESPECIALLY if your child has not tried a particular food yet. You never know if your child may have a food allergy and you don’t want to cross contaminate if they do.
-Try to get your cooked produce from the stove to the food processor as quickly as possible. I found that the warmer it is, the easier/quicker it is to puree.
-I highly recommend checking into Infantino’s Fresh Squeezed line of baby food making products. The squeeze station I used made things sooo easy!
-I’m going to stress again how important it is to drain off excess water if you boil. Evidently I didn’t do my green beans well enough and when I went to squeeze some out for my daughter yesterday there were pockets of water. Lame!
-I also suggest dumping your cooked produce in increments in the food processor. This way you won’t have to scrape the sides as much and get everything pureed completely quicker.

Multi-tasking is your friend!
Squeezing pureed peas into the pouches!


I’d love to hear about your baby food making techniques and experiences! What products make your life easier? What is your baby’s favorite food?

*I did not receive any form of compensation, money, products, or otherwise, from Infantino. I have no affiliation with them. I just really like their line of Fresh Squeezed products and felt like sharing! All opinions expressed herein are my own.

12 comments:

  1. I'd love one of these! My kids are 3 and 4 and I still feed them fruit and veggie blends in pouches. For some reason, they'll eat anything if it comes in a pouch :)

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  2. Kudos to you for making your own baby food. Even though my daughter is now a teen (wow!) I really strive hard to feed her only the best ingredients and food - home cooked. We very rarely go out.

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  3. Wonder if you could refill those Applesauce to go containers and use them for packaging?

    http://www.thesavingswife.com

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    1. Not sure which ones you are talking about, but the pouches I used are disposable. We thought about trying to reuse them, but probably not a good idea. They do make reusable ones as well.

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  4. I did this when my son was an infant :)

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  5. We have 3 children 5 1/2 and under, so I never even thought about making baby food until our youngest was about 8 months old. She would go through 2-3 plastic containers a day and then I got to review for a company and its awesome! we're expecting #4 in Dec and will be doing this from the start to save money

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  6. I wanted to do this with my kids, but never did. You made it sound so easy! I'm done with having kids, but if I had another I think I would do this. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It is easy! It's a little time consuming if you do a lot at one time, but totally worth it! You know what they say, "If I can do it, you can do it!" ;)

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  7. Thank you for linking up to my Tutorial Tuesday Blog Hop. Pinning this to my Tutorial Tuesday board on Pinterest.

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    1. Thanks, Maegan! I try to remember to link up every week and check out other people's posts. :)

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  8. That is amazing! I did puree food in our blender. I also mashed potatoes and squash at that stage. Right now he likes to eat what we eat- chickpeas etc.

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    1. Blenders and food processors are the best things ever! I think it's a great idea to feed babies the same thing you eat (as long as it's healthy, obviously. lol). I'm actually getting ready to write a little bit about that in my upcoming Baby Food Fridays series. :)

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