Adventures in Baby Food

So, I’ve always known I wanted to make my own baby food for my children. Well, maybe not always, but since the serious conversations about having babies started, I knew I wanted to make my own baby food. Store bought stuff has always worried me, between recalls, preservatives and who knows what else, eww. Then, at my baby shower, we did a “guess the baby food flavor” game. If I wasn’t devoted to the homemade baby food before, I was a believer after that!

We started Claire on solids at about 5 1/2 months. We started with an organic brown rice cereal, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We did rice cereal for about a week before I began my homemade baby food adventure.

I had no idea what to do, but my sister let me borrow her vegetable steamer, so I started with that. Baby’s first food was sweet potato, but I had only bought and steamed one… and when I finished steaming it, it looked so good, that I used 2/3rds of it as a side for dinner! ha. Claire loved the sweet potatoes also. The next morning she had organic carrots. I also have steamed some summer squash, but I have it in the freezer, she’ll try it in a week or so.

Since my first round of homemade baby food went well, I decided to step it up a notch and make enough puree to last her a bit. I bought 6 lbs of sweet potatoes and a big butternut squash.

For sweet potatoes, I actually bought a 3 lb bag of “yams” that looked kind of small and wrinkly, and then 3 lbs of loose “sweet potatoes”… on the receipt the bag showed up as “sweet potatoes” and the loose sweet potatoes came up as “yams”. haha. The small wrinkly kind were only 84 cents per pound, the bigger lose ones were $1.29 per lb.

After peeling and chopping 6 lbs of sweet potatoes, the 3 lb bag of small wrinkly ones were WAY easier to peel and cube. They are uniform in shape and size. The loose variety were bulky and odd shaped and took forever to peel.

The butternut squash is a little bit of an adventure for me, so I’ve documented my baby food making process as follows.

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I have NEVER washed, peeled, cut, or otherwise prepared butternut squash. So, I had to watch a video on how to do it. This one is the one I watched actually: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7gVcPXQfdE (This recipe looks super good, I plan on trying it sometime! Since I cook for two, I’ll either make it as a main course, or as a side for a big family event)

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I used my sister’s steamer (butternut squash on the bottom, sweet potatoes on the top) for about 45 minutes (probably a little too long, but they get super super soft)

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I then pureed them in my Sage Spoonfulls Baby Food Maker (basically a glorified immersion food blender / food processor)

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A few small batches later: voila!

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I did the same with the sweet potatoes, and then put them into 1 ounce portions in my ice trays.

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Freeze overnight, then pop out an put into freezer bags.

Obviously this is more nutritious then jarred baby food. But is it more affordable?

Butternut squash: 3.14 lbs at $1.49/lb = $4.68

Made the equivalent of 6 jars of food in the freezer, and 3 additional portions which I fed to her the next day. = 52 cents per portion

Sweet Potatoes: 3lbs at 88 cents/lb, 3lbs at $1.29/lb = $6.98

This made the equivalent of 18 jars of food in the freezer, plus 4 additional portions. = 32 cents per portion

So, yay! cheaper and healthier.

I also did the math on carrots:
$1.50/lb = 20 cents per portion (This was for pre-peeled baby carrots. It would be cheaper if I bought and then peeled them)

Summer Squash:
I paid $3.99 for my two pieces of organic summer squash. This was silly, I peeled them! Organic is really important when you are eating the skins. But, she can’t eat the skins yet so… silly me! Summer squash didn’t make a whole lot either. When I buy it again I’ll pay $1.29/lb, I think it’ll end up being about 50 cents per portion.

Side Note: I have been reading this blog about baby food and have found it helpful: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/pureebabyfoodandstore.htm

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