7.26.2013

Homemade Baby Food {Recipes & Storage}

Last weekend I had some extra time, so, I spent a good part of my Saturday stocking our freezer with homemade baby food for my sweet girls. They were perfectly good helpers and we all kept each other entertained in the kitchen. 

The girls have recently become really good at eating solid foods.  If you remember, it has been somewhat of a battle from the begining with them.  I actually got discouraged after I spent their entire 6th month trying to get them to eat a single vegetable (I thought ALLLLL babies loved sweet potatoes!) 

In the last couple weeks they have started to really enjoy anything I offer them, making this feeding business a lot more fun- just as I thought/wanted it would be. 
Grocery List
3 mangos
3 apples (organic)
1 bag carrots (organic)
3 medium-large sweet potatoes
1 medium butternut squash
1 ripe banana

This grocery list of fruits and vegetables makes A LOT of baby food.  Right now Parker and Jolie are still eating just one meal a day (hoping to transition back to twice a day as their appetites are back and oh-so-big!).  Currently, between the two of them, they eat about 4 ounces of pureed veggies and sometimes about 2 ounces of fruit along with 3/4 cup oatmeal at their meal time in the evening and I have enough food puree to feed the girls for about 3 months.

To break that down into a dollar amount.. 

Store bough jarred food:
$.62-$.90 per jar of baby food @ about 2 jars/day
Total: $40-$60 per month
x 3 months = $120-$180

Homemade baby food:
3 mangos @ $.50/each (on sale) ~ $2.04
3 organic apples @ $2.58/lb ~ $5.16
1 bag organic carrots @ $2.28
3 sweet potatoes @ $.98/lb (on sale) ~ $3
1 butternut squash @ $2.25/lb ~ $4.50 (a little expensive because it is out of season!)
1 banana @ $.33/lb ~ $.18
Total for 3 months: ~ $17.16

As you can see.. pretty cost effective, especially when I am feeding two little mouths:)

A couple tips for preparation:
-Get a good processor or blender.  Pureeing is so much easier (and quicker!) when you have a good machine.  I love my Baby Brezza- as it steams and purees all in one! 
-Prep all your fruits and vegetables in one step.  Get the 'worst' part (in my opinion) over with right at the start.  After that its all about steaming or baking, and pureeing!
-Always be sure to thoroughly wash and cleanse the fruits and vegetables that you will be using to make your baby food.   Even if you are not using the peels or skins, and even if you buy organic, you should always cleanse the produce. I got a tip from a sweet momma-friend in my life about how she 'washes' her produce. Combine a 10:1 water/vinegar solution and scrub the skins of all produce prior to prep-  antifungal and antibacterial:)

Recipes

Mangos  - Basic Purée
3 Ripe Mangos
Makes about 1 cup

Peel, deseed and rough chop the mango.
Place into blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin puree.  Depending on how ripe your mango is will determine if you actually need to puree the fruit.  I prefer to puree to make sure there are no large chunks for my babies to swallow.

To deseed a mango: I use a kitchen tool specifically for cutting mangos (found here).  If you do not have one of these tools, start by cutting the mango lengthwise, along the side of the mango pit. You will be cutting off its flesh from one side then repeating the same process on the other side. You will then cut the ends off the mango pit.

Puréed Apples/Applesauce
2 apples (Macintosh, Gala or Braeburn)
Makes about 1 cup

Peel, core and cut apple into slices/chunks.  Place slices or chunks into a steamer basket or a pan with just enough water to slightly cover apples. Boil/steam until tender; about 15 minutes.   

Place into blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin puree.

As an alternative, you may also buy a regular jar of Natural applesauce from your local grocery store.  The only ingredients should be apples and water or just apples.  A few companies may add ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or citric acid to their Natural Applesauce; this is fine.

Roasted Butternut Squash - Basic Purée
1 butternut squash
Makes about 2 ½ cups

Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds.  Place halves face down in a pan and cover with an inch of water.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour - be sure the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” out of the shell.  Place squash "meat" into a blender or food processor and puree.  Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.
**You can also peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and then cut into chunks and boil/steam until tender (like when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes) then follow steps for pureeing the vegetable.

Carrots - Basic Purée
4 medium carrots
Makes about 1 cup

Peel carrots and cut into small chunks.  Place chunks into a steamer pan with just enough water visible through the steamer basket. Steam until tender; about 15-20 minutes.

Place into a blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

Carrots and Apples
4 medium carrots
1 apple (Macintosh, Gala or Braeburn)
Makes about 1 ½ cups

Peel, core and cut apple into slices/chunks .  Peel carrots and cut into small chunks.  Place carrot and apple chunks into a steamer pan with just enough water visible through the steamer basket. Steam until tender; about 20 minutes.

Place fruit/veggie mixture into a blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

Butternut Squash and Carrots
½ butternut squash
4 medium carrots
Makes about 2 cups

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Peel the shell and cut the squash into small chunks. Peel carrots and cut into small chunks.  Place carrot and squash into a steamer pan with just enough water visible through the steamer basket. Steam until tender; about 20-25 minutes.

Place veggie mixture into a blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 sweet potatoes
Makes about 2 cups

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks.  Place chunks into steamer basket with just enough water to fill the pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and steam until tender, about 20-25 minutes.   Place potatoes into a blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

Banana Sweet Potatoes
½ banana
1 sweet potato
Makes about 1 ½ cups

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks.  Place chunks into steamer basket with just enough water to fill the pan.  Steam until tender, about 20-25 minutes.   Place potatoes and banana (cut into chunks) into a blender or food processor and puree. Add water or breast milk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

Storage

-Do not leave uncooked or even cooked foods out on the counter at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
-Frozen foods should not be allowed to thaw and then be re-frozen without first being cooked. 
-Cooked and prepared foods for baby should be kept in the refrigerator for no longer than 48-72 hours before they are used or frozen.
- I freeze my food purees in ice trays for 24 hours and then pop the frozen cubes out and toss them into a freezer bag labeled with the puree name and date I made it. 
-Foods in the freezer have varying storage times; it is prudent to use frozen baby food cubes within 4-6 weeks.
-When defrosting, I pop the cubes it in the microwave on defrost for about a minute and a half (4 cubes) and then finish warming the vegetables through with warmed breast milk

For me, it is super easy to make baby food, and the cost of it overshadows any kind of issue I might have in regards to time or energy to actually do it.  In all reality, it doesn't take me too terribly long.  These recipes were made over the course of a Saturday and Sunday.  I spent about 2 hours on Saturday and around an hour on Sunday.  I find it fun to mix up different 'recipes' for my girls and try new things and combinations to encourage other flavors- like bananas- that my girls totally dispise. 

The sweet potatoes and bananas were a HUGE hit last night in our house!

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7 comments:

Kaleigh said...

Thanks for this! My little one is just starting to eating "food". Excited to make some fresh baby food.

Rychelly said...

Thank you for this post! I just started my lil one on solids and have been making hers and this helps me even more! Your girls are darling!

Rychelly-foltzfamilylife.blogspot.com

Shadia Brown said...

Love your recipes!! I had to print them. I'm also making all my baby's food and it's so much more cost effective and good! They're so simple to make as well. I did find that when making pureed apples they tend to taste a little bit sour. I know it's the natural taste of the apple but my son sure didn't like it. Do you add anything else to them? Cinnammon? Thank you for sharing!

Brittany said...

This is exactly what I need to read today. My son is 3.5 months old and I'm just starting to THINK about baby food. What do you do when you bring your girls out and they need their baby food? I'm particularly interetested in how you would store it in public.

Angela said...

I made my son baby food till he was 1yr & eating chunkier foods. I used my Ninja to process which worked amazing. I have a ? about the spinning wheel toy the girls have, where did you get it? My friend has this & I thought it will be very helpful in entertaining baby #2

Olusola said...

The roasted squash was always a hit with my girls at this age but I was never brave enough to try homemade carrots till they were older (fear of nitrates).

Good job twin mama; I know the work it requires to care for twin babies on a daily basis AND make their baby food

Jennifer said...

So glad that you shared these recipes! My babies are 11 months and starting finger foods now and we struggle with what to give them at times.

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