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Monday, July 22, 2013

DIY Food Edition: Baby Food

In an attempt to un-process our food as much as possible, I'm going the DIY route with a lot of things I'd otherwise just purchase.  Baby food was one of those things with my first baby.  I started making my own with my second baby.  And now that I'm onto my third baby, it's no big deal to whip up small or big batches of homemade baby food!
So here's the basics.  Puree fruit.  Serve.  Or cook vegetables.  Puree.  Serve.  :)  But just for kicks, here's a photo step by step for ya of a veggie batch.

My tools:
A big pot
An immersion blender (here's mine, for example)
Silicon ice cube trays (these little gems can also be found at Walmart if you're lucky) or old baby food jars or little baby food storage containers

The goods:
2 large sweet potatoes
5-6 medium carrots

Step 1: Peel the sweet potatoes (I don't peel the carrots, just scrub them really well with a veggie brush), and chop both sweet potatoes and carrots into small chunks (mine were about a half inch by half inch by inch rectangles of sweet potato).  Smaller they are, faster they cook.

Step 2:  Plop 'em in a big pot.
Step 3: Cover with enough water for them to cook in.
Step 4: Bring to a boil, turn down to medium low and let 'em cook until tender.  Check with a fork, if it pierces easily, they are done.
Step 5: Puree with immersion blender.  Or you could just as easily throw it all into a regular blender and puree.  You may need to add water, but be cautious, you don't want it to be TOO watery and thin.  How thoroughly you puree depends, of course, on the age of your baby.  We're still in the silky smooth puree stage.
Step 6: Put into storage, whether that be old baby food jars, special little baby food storage containers, or in my case, silicon ice cube trays.  I adore these, they are easy to use and then you have perfect little 4 ounce cubes of baby food.  After you fill those trays, tap it on the counter to settle the food.
Don't fill any of these containers all the way, as the baby food will expand as it freezes.  (And no, the glass baby jars will not break if you don't fill them up all the way, I used those for my second baby's food, and nary a one broke.)

Step 7: Freeze.
No, freezing will not cause dramatic color change.  These are prunes.  Forgot to take a photo of the sweet potato/carrot cubes before I popped 'em out.
Step 8: If you are using the silicon ice cube trays, pop those babies out and put them in a freezer ziploc or for  longer storage when I make a big batch, I seal 'em up with my Food Saver.
Step 9: Thaw (I pop mine in the microwave, 1 minute for one cube, a minute thirty for two cubes) and serve to a darling baby who will undoubtedly make a big mess with it.
She makes prunes look good.
This particular batch made about 26 4 ounce cubes of baby food.  (Stage 1 jars are typically 2.5 ounces, Stage 2 jars are typically 3.5 to 4 ounces, Stage 3 jars are typically 6 ounces.)
I spent less than $2 (I don't know exactly how much, unfortunately, but I guarantee it was less than 2 bucks since I got the carrots on sale!), so that's less than 8 cents a serving.  Gerber Stage 2 from walmart.com is $0.54 per 3.5 ounce serving.  Savings?  Check.  Knowing precisely what is in your baby food?  Check.
Easy Peasy!
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