I like to know exactly what goes into my children’s bodies, which you have probably figured out by now from reading some of my other posts. I think this picture shows the reason why I make Lila’s food better than I can explain why I do it! These are peas. The spoonful on the left is from a jar of organic peas from Earth’s Best. Though they are organic, and thus better than the jarred food that isn’t, you can tell by the color that my homemade peas on the right have a lot more nutrients! I also find that the homemade food tastes so much better! I taste everything I give to the kids and I find that the fresh food has so much more flavor (common sense I guess!).
I think the stigma with making your own baby food is that it takes too much time, but I don’t find this to be the case at all, especially since you can make a big batch and then freeze it. Instead of opening a jar to warm up some food, you are opening a freezer tray and proceeding the same way.
As far as preparing the food, here is a How to Guide: (Note: It’s really just 4 easy steps!)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
A pot, a collapsable steamer ($8.00 on my online store page), water, the ORGANIC* veggie or fruit being prepared and something to puree it in. I use a mini food processor and, for the first stage, a magic bullet (if this was as magical as they say, I wouldn’t need the mini food processor in addition to the bullet, but I have yet to see the real magic of this appliance).
*The last thing your beautiful newborn needs is to have chemical laden food introduced into his/her system at such an early time in his/her life when a baby’s organs, especially the brain, is still developing. These chemicals (pesticides) pose serious health risks, including cancer, to everyone who injests them (just look at how the cancer rates have gone up with the use of pesticieds and chemically processed foods).
WHAT TO DO
1. Put the steamer in the pot and fill with water until there is about 1/4 inch space between the water line and the steamer. Turn the flame on high.
2. Peel and cut up the fruit or veggie (the smaller the pieces the less time it will take to cook).
3. When the water is boiling, put the food in the pot and cover with the lid. Check the fruit/veggie in a couple of minutes – the food should be tender enough that a fork goes right through it, but not steamed to the point where it is too mushy, as the longer you cook it, the more nutrients are lost.
4. Puree the fruit/veggie until it is a consistency the baby can tolerate – if it is the first time you are introducing solids, puree until liquidy. You can start thickening the texture when the baby is around 6 or 7 months, depending on how old the baby is when you start with solids. If you need to make it more liquidy, add a little bit of filtered water or breastmilk (or formula).
Helpful Hint: Make enough to feed the baby on the day you make it, putting some aside in the refridgerator for the next day and a bit more to freeze. I use PBA free ice cube trays. When I make apples, I will use 4 or 5 apples at a time. When making butternut squash, I use the whole squash, which will last for a while.
The foods I make baby food with the most:
Butternut Squash (you can also roast the whole squash in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees instead of peeling, cutting and steaming. Roasting is a lot easier.)
Common Question – do I need to steam the fruit or can I just puree it as is? Because a baby’s digestive track is still developing, he/she will need the help of the cooking process to digest the food. I would cook the fruits a bit until the child is old enough to digest the enzimes on his/her own, which you will have to test. I would say to cook it until the baby is at least 10-12 months old. The exceptions to this would be avocados and bananas, which don’t need to be cooked, just pureed.