Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventures in Baby Food Making

Since Presley has been eating solid foods, I have been experimenting with making some of her baby food.  I started out with just a few things, and now am making most of the food she eats at home, with a few exceptions. 
This was not something I ever did when Mattie was a baby, in fact it never even occurred to me to do it.  Everything she ate came out of a jar, and we progressed through the stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 foods, right up until she was eating the Gerber Graduates meals.  But with Presley, after I had done some reading and internet searching, I thought I would try my hand at this, and I have found it to be a great thing for several reasons. 
1. It’s a lot cheaper than buying all jarred baby food.   I haven’t actually done the math, but I know I’m saving money. 
2. When I make it for her, I can control how thick, chunky, or pureed her food is instead of letting Gerber do that for me.  Right now, she’s eating fairly “chunky” fruits and veggies, chunkier than the stage 2 jarred foods, and I feel like she’ll progress to table food a lot quicker than Mattie did.  I can also mix things up how I want them, and combine things in different ways than Gerber does. 
3.  I am not a person who strives to eat organically, and I am certainly not a food snob.  All in all, I don’t think there’s much wrong with jarred baby food, and looking at labels, it’s just veggies and water until you start getting into some of the stage 3 stuff and then they start adding in the preservatives, etc..  I still buy some of it to have on hand,  and I still send it to the baby sitter for the meals Presley eats there.  There are some things, like prunes, that I still buy jarred because I think it’s easier than making it.  But I can say I do feel good about what I’m doing for Pres and I do hope I am providing her some nutritional benefits.  I have never sampled baby food as an adult, but supposedly the flavors are pretty dull and bland, and feeding babies “real” foods is much more flavorful to them and develops their palette more. 
So, with all that said, I wanted to document my process a little bit  in case anyone was interested, and to prove to some people who I think don’t believe me when I say I make baby food(cough*angela*cough).
There are several different things that I’ve been making, and they’re all prepared different ways, but last night, I was working on sweet peas and green beans, which are both steamed, so that’s what I photographed.
I don’t have a steamer basket, and I couldn’t find one at Wal-Mart, so I’ve been using this strainer basket and it’s worked great for me.  I buy frozen sweet peas and green beans, and steam them like this for a while…both of these went for about 30 minutes to get them good and soft.
I bought this little Black & Decker mini food processor at WM for $10 and it was worth every penny.  I have used it just about every day for the past few months, and it’s simple to use and cleans easily too.  It is pretty noisy, but I think all of them are.  So, after the veggies steam until soft, I throw them in the processer and let them go until they’re the consistency I want.  I left these pretty chunky this time. 
Then, I portion them out for freezing using ice cube trays.  I got these for around $1 each at WM too.   I cover this with saran wrap and then stick in the freezer overnight.

The next day, I transfer the frozen cubes to freezer bags and write what it is and the date on the bag. 
And then transfer it to the freezer with all the other stuff.
And that’s it.  The steaming takes a while, but it’s not something you tend to the whole time, so all in all, this whole process took me about 10 minutes, and this made about 16 servings of peas and 12 servings of green beans.  Both bags of frozen veggies were around $2 each.  Gerber baby food is around $1.25 for two tubs.  So, I’m saving some dough! 
I have been buying several different frozen fruits, like the peaches and blueberries in the picture, which are also around $2.00-$3.00 a bag, and I just defrost and chop those as needed instead of doing big batches.  Sweet Potatoes are easy because I just bake them, puree and freeze, and two potatoes makes a ton.  I buy bananas, pears, and avocado fresh and use those daily as needed.
What I try to do is pick out what Presley will eat the next day the night before, put the frozen stuff on a plate, and stick it in the fridge so it can defrost over night and be ready the next day when I need it.     Within the next month, I’m going to start adding in some meats, and trying some “casserole” type things for her. 
Hope that wasn’t too boring! 

1 comment:

  1. So I love the fact that you're doing it with PK but never even thought about it with Mattie! Because... I did it with Mackenzie and never want to do it with Dylan!! Ha! Too funny! I am so proud of you! Way to go Mommy!! BTW... I have a collapsabile steamer basket I bought for this purpose and have never used again. I'm bringing it to Wanda's tomorrow!