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How to Make Baby Food

By Kate |

If you’ve been reading The Shopping Mama, and particularly the All About Eating series, you know I make my own baby food, but I’ve never actually written about HOW to make baby food. So, that’s what this post is all about: a step by step how-to and some suggestions for what you need.

So, I’m not an expert on how to make baby food. This post is based on my experience preparing baby food for my (now three) kids. I am lucky enough to have some exclusive interviews with bona fide baby food making experts to share! Check out my interview with Annabel Karmel and Q&A with Liza Huber of Sage Spoonfuls for more helpful advice and how-to’s. 

Basics

Making your own baby food is really very easy. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. I acknowledge that it takes a bit more time than jarred or prepared baby food, but I think of it this way: I take the time to cook and prepare food for my husband, son and I so I can take the time to do it for my daughter, too.

The basics steps:

1. Cook a batch of food
2. Puree it to desired consistency
3. Freeze food in small compartment containers
4. Move frozen cubes of food to freezer bags
5. Thaw a cube (or two), and
6. Serve!

See, I told you, it’s easy!

What You Need

Recipes

Some of the basic recipes are very straightforward (i.e. steam frozen peas, puree, freeze), but as you move into introducing meat and want to mix up your baby’s diet I highly recommend a baby food cook book. Here are a few of my favorites:

You can also reference these really helpful websites:

Equipment

You probably already have everything necessary to make baby food because at a bare minimum all you really need is a food processor (or blender or food mill) and an ice cube tray. Of course, it’s much easier with some additional products designed specifically for baby food making.
If you use a regular ice cube tray, you will need to cover the trays with saran wrap to protect from freezer burn. From personal experience, I can tell you it’s much easier to use trays designed specifically for baby food storage or an ice cube tray with a cover. I really like the KidCo BabySteps Freezer Trays. I also use Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food/Breast Milk Trays and I know that Tupperware offers covered ice cube trays.

If you’re looking for a really cost-effective system that has literally everything you need including a basic cookbook, electric food mill and storage trays, I definitely recommend the Sage Spoonfuls System and the  BabySteps Complete Feeding System.

Another great product I’ve been using lately is the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker. This single piece of equipment steams and purees baby food. It’s more compact than a food processor and takes the guess work out of the length of time to cook food. I LOVE the way this machine purees fruits and vegetables. It makes everything super smooth and really a great texture for early eaters. And another bonus with this is that you only have to clean one appliance!

Tips for Success

Double the recipe. Make a big batch of your kiddo’s favorite fruit once a week rather than making two small batches twice a week. Frozen baby food will stay good in the freezer for months so there’s no harm in making a lot at once.

Mix It Up. After preparing a few batches of food you may have several single food cubes so mix them to create more variety. For example, if you have cubes of peas and cubes of squash, thaw one of each and mix them up for a different taste. Or, thaw an apple and a sweet potato. Obviously, this gives you a lot more options without a lot more work.

Make it fun. Host a baby food making get together with friend or two. Each person brings a couple recipes and the food needed to double the recipe. Cook, steam, puree with company and everyone takes home a variety of food in their storage trays to freeze for baby to eat later.

Some is better than none. If you don’t have the time to make all your little one’s baby food, make some baby food. Cook an usual recipe that you can’t buy prepared so your baby still gets a good variety and exposure to different tastes and textures.

Reuse. If you buy prepared baby food in a glass bottle, save the container, and use it to freeze and store your homemade baby food. This also makes it easier to take homemade baby food on the go as it’s already in serving container.

Why I Like Making My Own Baby Food

In the long run, it’s cost effective, earth-friendly and I know exactly what my baby is eating because I made it. I just LOVE making my own baby food and it really gives me a sense of pride to be able to prepare special food for Baby Girl. Seriously? Go for it! You’ll be so glad you did!

Do YOU make your own baby food? If so, what am I forgetting or what’s your must have product? And, why do you make your baby’s food?

 

Kate

Kate

Kate started The Shopping Mama™ in January 2009 when, after graduating law school, she traded in online legal research and writing for locating the best products for children. She shops three kids ages 6,4 and 1 from their home in Germany. Her military family is making the most of the overseas assignment by traveling Europe every chance they get.

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  1. 1.
    Shari@aPsychMommy

    Gosh, I drooled over that Beaba baby cook! In the end, I didn't get it and just used our food processor which was fine. It just would have been nice to be able to steam and puree with only one device!

  2. 2.
    Sue

    The Magic Bullet is my favorite for pureeing food. Especially now that my daughter is old enough for raw fruit. I just cut some up, stick it in the small Magic Bullet cup and 30 seconds later it's ready!

    For storage I asked my friends who do not make their own for their plastic Gerber containers. They're the perfect portion size. I found it a lot less messier since my ice cubes always seemed to freeze together when I moved them into the storage bag.

  3. 3.
    The Shopping Mama

    Shari, I have to say I was VERY lucky to win the Babycook from the Magic Beans 31 days of giveaways. (If you haven't checked it out – you should!) I'm really loving it!

    Sue, I've never used a magic bullet but it sounds really convenient for making baby food.

    I totally agree about reusing store bought baby food containers. I collected quite a few from friends with my son but this time around I don't have many friends with young kids. I also bought some small Glad ware (disposable with lids) that I found to be a good serving size.

  4. 4.
    Tylerpants

    Thanks! My 5 month old son is just starting to eat food so so this helpful! So far he's only mastered rice cereal and bananas but I plan on introducing him to one new food a week.

  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Cheyenne and John

    Thanks Kate! It is because of you I ventured into the land of frozen food cubes! :) Very helpful post!

  7. 7.
    mommytoo

    i made my own (uh, my son's) baby food, mostly because you told me you loved it. :) and i did too, it was so easy and cheap. if you're going out all day, you can put a couple of cubes in a little container and it thaws by the time you need it. fruit was easy too, before nate had teeth i cooked it in the microwave too, and popped it in the cuisinart. i liked having a cookbook even though it's easy, because it gave me ideas of what foods to try when (i used the one you recommended at the time, kate, the one that came with trays. apparently they don't have weird chemicals like ice cube trays sometimes do?).

    one more thing — it was easy to transition the boy to more grown-up food as he got better at biting and chewing, partly because i wasn't intimidated. it wasn't like we had to make a major shift from baby food to big people food.

  8. 8.
    Tiffany

    Awesome tutorial Kate. I'm wondering how long you can store these before they start becoming freezer burned, and if it's not a good idea to use baggies? I tried making it with Rowan and it got freezer burned quickly and he didn't like the taste.

  9. 9.
    The Shopping Mama

    That's a great point, Tiffany. I usually let the food cool before putting the top on the freezer containers. I've found that really helps to avoid freezer burn.

    If you have the space in your freezer, a quality airtight tupperware type container might be a good alternative to baggies.

  10. 10.
    Deb K

    What great ideas and recipes~Thanks so much for all that you do here!!

  11. 11.
    Anna Pinder

    Wow, making baby food is such a smart idea! When I have kids I would love to try that!

  12. 12.
    The Petersons

    What a great article! I bet you would save a ton of money making your own baby food.

  13. 13.

    Great idea making your own baby and a whole lot fresher too. Thanks for your article.

  14. 14.

    I agree. I made babyfood for baby#2 and fell in love with the idea. However, I found I would only make the same few things and as a result, sweet potatoes are my baby’s favorite! You can bake them or steam them before you puree.

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