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Making Baby Food at Home
Making your own baby food at home will result in time and money savings, and give your baby the healthiest choice for food. It does not have to be a scary mystery. Making baby food is easy and very inexpensive.
Your initial investment for homemade baby food should be very small. You will need:
8 ice cube trays
Freezer Quality storage containers or Freezer bags.
A Blender (if you do not have one, it is not absolutely essential)
If you start with fruits:
The easiest one to make at home is applesauce. You can purchase a huge economy size jar of Unsweetened organic applesauce and simply open the jar, pour it into the ice cube trays, cover with foil and freeze. If you already make homemade applesauce, you can freeze that in ice cube trays as well. For babies, be sure you do not add the citrus to the applesauce unless baby has already had it.
Bananas are just as easy. When they start getting ripe, fork mash them if you do not have a blender and put them in the ice cube trays. Whenever you have bananas going soft, just mix up a batch in the blender and put it in trays. If you are concerned about the color (it will look a little brown) you can add a drop or two of lemon juice, again, only if baby has already had citrus. You do not want to introduce two foods at once.
If you want to start with veggies, pumpkin is the absolute easiest. Go to the aisle where you buy canned pumpkin (what you buy to make pumpkin pie). Check the label. Some of it is 100% pureed pumpkin. This is what you need. Do not get any with added spices. Buy the biggest can. Open it and put it into ice cube trays. Wrap it in foil and freeze. Other very easy ones are: Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, green beans, peas.
In a day or two when it is hard frozen, you pop the cubes out and place them in the freezer baggies.
I used to keep one Tupperware container in my freezer that had all veggie cubes and one that had all fruit cubes, then each day I would go through and grab what I needed. I usually just thawed them in the microwave. Mix them well and test the temperature with your finger. If the food is too thick (maybe it will be at first) you can mix it with small amounts of water or breast milk or formula.
As baby gets older you will use 3-4 cubes per meal, but at first you may just use one cube per meal.
These are highly portable. I just had a few little containers. I put the frozen cube in there and if we went out someplace it would melt, or I could add a little hot water and melt it quicker if needed, then mix in dry baby cereal to get the perfect consistency.
Apple sauce, bananas, avocado and pumpkin are the simplest to make and if you do nothing else, that will still save you money.
If you want to go a step more, All the fruits and vegetables can be prepared for baby by simply cooking them until softened (retain all the water that you use to mix in to make it soft and runny). The water will have a lot of vitamins in it after the veggies have been cooked in there. Once they are soft, run them through a blender. Keep adding in the water that you used to cook them until it is a soft, baby food consistency. Once it is nice and soft, pour it into the ice cube trays. Freeze. Pop it out a few days later and wash your trays to use again.
I did a big batch of something about once a week. Then the next week I would do a different batch.
If you decide you want to try to make your own cereal at home, it is easy too.
To make about a two cup batch of baby cereal, once she is ready for adding protein:
1/3 cup whole dry grains (brown rice, millet, oatmeal, barley, etc)
2 Tbs dried legumes (lentil, dries split peas, etc)
Put those in the blender (DRY) and grind it to a powder. It will make about 1/2 cup of powder. When you are ready to cook the cereal, you stir that into two cups of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes (double that if you include soy beans). Whisk it frequently while cooking. You can just store this in the fridge for two or three days or freeze it. Be sure you freeze it in small portions. This recipe came from the Super Baby Food Book. She has all kinds of great recipes to make nutritious foods from scratch for babies.
Once she gets older and is ready to try meats, your regular blender will probably struggle with that. We have a really nice blender, but if yours is not powerful enough, you can substitute with a food processor. Just cook up several chicken breasts with just water (no seasoning). Then take a fresh pear from the grocery and put it in the blender with a piece or two of chicken, adding enough water to make it smooth (be sure baby is old enough to eat raw pear that is mushy). Freeze that and use it rather than the baby food meats. Those smell yucky anyway, and the homemade chicken smelled quite appetizing.
You can also add formula or breast milk or baby juice to any food to get it to the correct consistency.
Finally, you can also freeze milk in ice cubes. This is really helpful if you buy milk in larger quantities than your child can drink before it goes bad. This works fine with goat’s milk as well, however, the closest you freeze it to when it is fresh, the better tasting the milk will be when you thaw it and use it. So if you have milk in the fridge and you know you are leaving for a few days, you can freeze it to make it last longer, and use the cubes when you need fresh milk but do not have any. These will work fine in making your homemade mashed potatoes or for baking.
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