Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Homemade Baby Food

I've never claimed to be a good cook which is why making homemade baby food is right up my alley. Simplest form of cooking ever! It pretty much goes like this: cook, puree, store. Pretty simple. As with cloth diapering, the thought of making my own baby food never really occurred to me until I realized a couple of my friends were doing it. I don't even know how much store-bought baby food costs, but I know that making it yourself will save bundles. When I make my own baby food I know exactly what's in it and exactly how it's prepared...and that makes this greenish mama pretty happy. And the low cost hardly puts a dent in our food budget which definitely adds to the happiness factor.

Our little guy is about 9 months now so we're still introducing new foods 4 or 5 days apart (he didn't start solids until the AAP's recommended 6 months). So far we've tried: brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, zucchini, green beans, peas, tofu, avocado, bananas, apples, yogurt, and garbanzo beans - organic and homemade with the exception of the tofu and yogurt (organic, but not homemade*) and the apples (which were actually in the form of regular, store-bought, all natural applesauce). He loves it all (well, except for the rice, which I ended up using to make some pretty awesome gluten-free cookies for the rest of us that I found the recipe for here). The homemade cereals/grains can be a bit of a challenge to make, but nothing too difficult (first you grind them into a powder...hence the rice flour I had to make the cookies). I'll post about making cereals/grains later. For the rest, I basically either steam or bake (to retain the most nutrients) and then puree using my little Cuisinart mini-prep food processor (which we already owned - it was a wedding present which means it's been around for almost seven years already and it's still going strong). I like to spend a couple hours once or twice a week preparing the food in batches and freezing it in Fresh Baby food trays (like ice cube trays but BPA-free and with lids which I love). Once frozen, I transfer the cubes into reusable, freezer-safe containers and label them with painter's tape (so it doesn't leave behind any sticky gunk when it's time to remove it) and a Sharpie (including what it contains and the date it was made).

When it's mealtime all we need to do is select however many cubes our little guy is hungry for. What's great is that if he's still hungry we can grab one more cube at a time so we're getting just what he wants. We're not having to waste anything by opening up a whole new container of something (and we don't end up with a bunch of partially used jars of food that we're not sure when we opened). We ALWAYS use glass containers when heating up his food (glass vs. plastic will have to be a whole other post). I found these at TJ Maxx and they are awesome (they're the perfect size and they have lids which makes them great for meals-on-the-go).

So anyway, if you're at all interested in tackling homemade baby food, I think it's a great, greenish idea. It will only take a couple hours per week to prep it, you'll save money, and you'll have the peace of mind that you're feeding your child something safe and nutritious. On top of that, you will forgo wasting countless empty containers from store-bought food (this article estimates the average U.S. baby will go through 600 jars of baby food by 12 months). Good luck and happy cooking!

*UPDATE: I'm now making my own yogurt too! Check out this post with details. 


  1. How much do I love that photo with the green, yellow and orange square! I'd eat that!

    600 jars? That is a lot of baby food jars.

  2. Isn't it fun!? I kind of miss those cube days now that Little J eats what we eat...

    600 does seem like a lot. Confession, I kind of wish I had some empty baby food jars for little storage projects around the house. I sure hope people are putting those cute little jars to good use!