First off, you’re going to need some wine. Kidding. Unless you want wine, then go for it, it’s just not required. I’m having coffee because morning are boo.
I like to make my own baby food because I know exactly what’s in it, how old it is, and it’s MUCH less expensive. For about $10 I can make enough baby food to last a month, where-as store bought food is on average a dollar a jar. My kid eats 2-3 jars a day and unfortunately (maybe I mean fortunately because my husband has a great job and I’m grateful for that) we didn’t qualify for WIC so that’s all out of pocket and this household runs on a budget. Every dollar we save on things like making baby food is a dollar we can put into savings or toward another bill (my car is THISCLOSE to being paid off!!!).
Now, there are a few ways to do them and they all work well enough but I tend to prefer the path of least resistance because I do all this while juggling an 8 month old and 200 pounds of dogs along with establishing my own business and running a household.
The most popular ways to make it include boiling, steaming, baking, or my personal favorite, the crock pot.
I’ve tried all the others, this is bar none the most passive.
Follow along for pictures and pithy commentary!
Today we’re going to be making carrots for the young prince because he’s decided he’s too good for sweet potatoes even though I’ve got yams all over this damn house.
To begin with, all those cute products like the Baby Bullet and Infantismo are absolutely adorable, fun to think about, and 100% unnecessary. It’s just a bunch of extra stuff to clean, parts to lose, and disposable bags to buy. When I first started making baby food I was determined to have one but a friend convinced me to try it without all that stuff and JFC is it easy.
Today we’re going to need:
8 peeled carrots
4 cups of water
A blender/emulsifier/egg beaters
Seriously, that’s everything we’re doing today.
turn the crock-pot on high. Chop the carrots into chunks.
Put it in the carrots in the crock pot.
Pour the water into the crock pot.
Wander off for a while.
Seriously, that’s the whole show for three hours.
After three go take a look at the carrots. They should mush under a fork, if not make sure there’s still enough water in the crock pot to cover the carrots and leave them for another half hour. Assuming they did mush under a fork, transfer the carrots to the blender and add about half the water from the crock-pot. I use a magic bullet because that’s what I had (What you do from here will depend on how old your baby is. If s/he is under 8 months or so, blend until they carrots are smooth, adding a little more water from the crock-pot so that it has a thin (but not runny) consistency. If your baby is in the 8 months and over category, I recommend using pulse blending so it stays a little bit chunky. Little guys need to practice chewing!
If you’re using an emulsifier or egg beaters you do the same thing, just use a bowl instead of a blender pitcher and add the water that way.
The reason you use the water from the crock pot is because when you were cooking the carrots some of the nutrients leeched out and into the water, by using that same water you’re adding them back into the carrots. If there’s not enough water left in the crock pot it’s totes fine to add some extra.
Once you’ve got it to the consistency you want, we move on to storage. There really isn’t a -wrong- way to store them but the easiest is to put a week’s worth in a reusable jar (I just recycle baby food jars) and put the rest into an ice cube tray. Firmly put the lids on the jars, and put the ice cube tray in the freezer.
When the food in the trays is frozen solid, pop them out and put them all in a big Ziploc bag with the date and type of food written on it. When you’re through the type you have in jars, pop out a couple, throw them in a microwave or steamer safe container and let them defrost.
I generally use the bottle warmer I have to warm up baby food, I occasionally buy Beechnut brand organic baby food (if we’re out longer than I expect or for some reason I wasn’t able to bring home-made) and reuse those containers. You can absolutely microwave it too, either is fine. If after warming it up it looks a little thick, add a tablespoon of water and stir it well, that generally gets things to the right consistency.
Now you may be wondering why not just put all the food in baby food jars and freeze it that way. Fluid expands when frozen, if the jars are filled too full to accomodate that (which is very easy to do) the glass can crack. If it’s a bad crack you can see you just wasted a bunch of food, otherwise it could just be a strain on the glass that causes it to litter microscopic glass shards into the baby food. Not worth the risk, don’t use glass in the freezer.
Super easy, right? Seriously, if people really understood how easy it is and how much money they’d save doing it Gerber would go out of business. Now other methods are absolutely faster but I like this one because I can leave the house, don’t have to deal with scalding steam, and I can do huge batches if I want. My little dude is old enough that I add a little oatmeal to his food. A tablespoon and a half right in the jar, a teaspoon of water, stir it up super great, then put it in the bottle warmer and let it cook all together.
I have a bunch of tasty recipes for baby food (unless it involves peas, Mister Baby does NOT eat peas no matter how well I hide them). I’ll probably post some of them soon because I know how exhausting it was to figure them out myself.
Earlier I mentioned that $10 was enough to make baby food for a month. That’s several different kinds of baby food. What I made today cost me $0.45 because carrots were on sale for a nickle a piece. This is easily fifteen feedings. If you were hesitating at all, think about that for a minute in comparison with a dollar per feeding. Srs.