Even the youngest members of the family can eat well, simply. I have two toddler girls, and with the first, we used store-bought purées, but the expense really added up, not to mention all of the single-serving containers it comes in. For my second daughter, I decided to give homemade baby purées a go.
For those worried that the process is too time-consuming for someone with an infant (and I get that), just know that it really only takes about half an hour for a week's worth of baby food. Not only will this save you money, but it will reduce waste, and you'll know exactly what your baby is eating.
you will need:
- fresh or frozen fruits and veggies
- a microwave-safe bowl or medium sauce pan
- a blender (or food processor if your baby is old enough for chunkier purées)
- ice cube trays
- freezer bags for storing purée cubes
- small, air-tight containers for storing food in the fridge that will be eaten in 1-3 days
- utensils (knives for slicing & chopping; a spatula for scraping the blender)
In this tutorial, I'm making puréed peas and apples.
Steam or microwave your veggies until they're they're soft. Fruits, such as apples, do not need to be pre-cooked, but it does help to microwave them with a couple of tablespoons of water for a minute or two. Place about 16 ounces of fruits or veggies in a blender or food processor, blending until as smooth as possible.
Next, scoop the purée into the compartments of an ice cube tray for freezing. When frozen, you can pop the cubes out, and keep in a large freezer bag. Simply remove a couple of cubes from the freezer about 12 hours before the baby's meal, and let thaw in air-tight containers in the fridge; alternatively, you can take a few cubes out right before a meal, and thaw them in the microwave. This allows you to make a large batch of baby food a week or two ahead of time, and not risk the purée going bad.
There is a great guide to freezing, storing, and thawing baby food on WholesomeBabyFoods.com. They are a great authority on puréeing, freezing, and thawing baby foods, with guidelines such as:
- Baby food can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, maximum
- Baby food can be stored in the fridge for 48 hours, although some argue that 72 hours is okay
- Baby food thaws best in the fridge overnight
- Some baby foods don't freeze as well as others
They also have lots of baby food recipes, purée guides, and menu planners - highly recommended!