One of the smartest things my wife and I did when our oldest son was big enough to start down the baby food path was to make baby food ourselves. There are a host (like a literal army) of reasons for this. Helping Mom was certainly near the top of this list.
The thing we liked best was the ability to control what foods our son ate. In this age of increasingly scary food allergies, it was comforting to know exactly what he was eating. If it was apples, it was just apples. If it was beef, it was just beef and broth.
Cruising down the baby food aisle at any store you’ll see that store-bought foods can make this decision difficult. Apples appear in almost everything. They’re the trash food that thins out thicker things. So if you have potatoes, it probably has
Think About Your Child’s Needs
If you’re trying to be absolutely sure if your kid is allergic to this or that, you’re going to want to control for as many of the variables as possible. When you make baby food yourself, you can do that.
We also thought it was smart to know not just what kind of food was going into his little body, but the quality as well. There is some debate about the potential benefits of organic food. Is it really worth it?
In our case, we’ve decided that maybe there is. On the one hand, authors like Michael Pollan have made a pretty compelling case that organic food offers no additional nutritional benefit over non-organic food. Well sure, the food doesn’t really change, so that makes sense.
An added issue is that “organic” doesn’t really mean anything.
There isn’t a standard across the United States for what is to be considered organic. But here’s the thinking that the wife and I had. If you can buy an apple that the store suggests wasn’t sprayed with a chemical that I can’t spell, or one that probably was, which should we choose?
Our choice is to lessen the number of chemicals when we make baby food. We won’t control everything, but the more we can control the better.
Saving Money? Absolutely!
Another great thing we found out when we make baby food is that we save money. I mean sure, we put some labor into it that would otherwise be born by the baby food industrial Walmart complex. But that labor is good quality family time (normally).
It also cuts down on the waste we generate. Check out how many glass jars build up if you just buy baby food. Fuck that. I’d like these kids to eat and maybe inherit a world that isn’t totally buried in dirty diapers, wipes, and food trash. I can’t do much about the first two (I’m not washing cloth diapers), but I can about the last one. Plus, we find that we save money.
So how does one make baby food easily? All you need are some good ingredients, a few tools, a freezer, and storage containers. It really is easy to make baby food.
Get Started With Easily Made Baby Food
You’ll need the following tools to really get started:
- A pot big enough to process enough food. We use the pot we make spaghetti in.
- A steamer insert.
- A food processor, or blender. Any type will do, but you’d like it to be sized to get a whole pot’s worth of food into it at once or it will take longer than you’d like.
- Silicon ice cube trays – I like the Ozera two pack from Amazon. They’re a good size for a growing boy. The great thing is that the thin-walled ones release the food very easily.
- Storage for the food – You’ll be storing the food in the freezer, so make sure it fits well with what you have going on now. We have a dedicated tray in our freezer that we put the finished containers in.
You’ll find that to make baby food is a really easy process.
Easily Made Baby Food: 3 Steps
Baby food is easier than you think to make. Let’s take a look at the three step process any Dad can use to make their kids next several meals.
Step 1: What am I Making?
First, you need to choose what you’re going to be producing. In this article, we’ll use broccoli as a good example, but there
Step 2: Wash and Chop
Next, you’ll need to wash and chop your broccoli. This process is just like it would be for any meal you might want to make. It doesn’t really matter that you get it chopped all that small, but it does speed up the next step somewhat if you make the food about a square inch in size. If you make baby food chunks bigger than that they can take a little longer to process. No big deal either way.
Step 3: A Nice Steam
Once you have the chunks the size you want them, they’re going to get steamed. Put some water in the bottom of the pot (I can’t stress this enough… don’t forget… don’t be me), put the steamer basket in, toss the broccoli in, and cover. Once covered, put the burner on really low. Your goal here is to steam the broccoli until it is soft. Check on it every once in a while, and poke it with a fork.
When the green stuff is super soft, it’s ready for the next step. If anything, err on the side of over steaming the broccoli. Baby’s aren’t usually foodies, so when you make baby food softer is better to start.
Step 4: Blend!
When the broccoli is done steaming it gets blended. This is where your regular old people food dinner becomes baby food. Take the green stuff and toss it into the blender. I’ve found that a spaghetti spoon works really well for getting all the soft vegetables into the blender. Since they’re so soft they can be kind of tricky to pick up otherwise, but any large spoon should work. Fill that blender!
Okay, blending is about to commence. If you have any older kids, this is a great time to bring them in on the process. I’ve found that my older son loves to blend things for my younger son. I think it has to do with the destruction of perfectly good food. He loves mushifying things.
Blend the steamed broccoli until it is the texture that you want. Being able to vary the texture is another benefit of making your own food.
For baby’s just starting out you want to make sure that there is as little texture as possible when you make baby food. Blend it within an inch of its life. You’re looking for a nice uniform texture without lumps, bits, or anything else. You might need to scrape the sides of your food processor several times to get this consistency.
For older kids, you can start introducing more texture to the food. Eventually, the goal is to get them off the mush right? So as your kid grows, dial back the blending until you have a paste that vaguely resembles whatever you started with.
Step 5: Storage
The next step is to freeze this baby food in a usable way. You’re going to want to fill your silicon ice cube trays with food. You can use any type you like, but there are some distinct advantages to using the thin-walled Ozera one’s we have settled on.
If you’ve ever made candy (did you know you can make candy?) you’ll know what they are. Working with a paste in a pain in the butt. It gets everywhere. Anything that doesn’t make it into the mold is waste and cuts into your savings. Minimize waste when you make baby food. That’s the key.
The thin-walled ice cube trays allow you to do that. They’re easy to spoon into, smooth the top down, and make sure that the cubes are tightly packed. So they reduce waste.
But when it comes time to release the food we’ve found that these things are the easiest to use. We haven’t had any trouble getting any food out of them at all where we have had problems with other candy molds. When you’ve got a screaming baby, you don’t want any extra problems.
Okay, take whatever you put the mush into and stick it in the freezer.
When the food is frozen, pop those cubes into containers. Make sure to label what they are (you’d be surprised how much beets look like cherries), and the date. The date is kind of optional as if your kids are anything like mine, this stuff is going to get eaten way before it goes bad. Stick your containers in the freezer and you’ve got long-lasting baby food.
To serve, just toss some cubes into a bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until they reach room temperature.
There you have it. You too can make baby food at home!