Before my daughter was born, I knew I would try to make her own food when the time came for her to start solids. I wanted to play an active roll in what she eats and I wanted to do something to avoid using all of those many baby food jars (even though they can be recycled at home for others uses). I did some research on what it involved, checked out some books on what to do and looked into what I needed. I’ve been doing it for 3 months now and it turns out, it’s all very simple. This isn’t because I have great culinary skills. Far from it – just ask my friends and family who’ve probably never had more than a cup of tea made by me. All it takes is some simple planning every few days and a short amount of chopping time.
I buy fresh, organic foods when possible (see an earlier post of mine about which foods you should buy organic and another on where you can find farmers markets in your area) and frozen when I can’t. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky with finding both. Every few nights, I chop up a fresh fruit or vegetable (or take out a frozen option) and steam it in a pot with a steamer basket until everything is really soft. Then I use my “blender wand” (a food processor would work too but there would be more to clean up afterwards) to puree with a little water from the pot. Now that my daughter is 9 months old, I keep it a bit chunky so she can practice chewing.
Then I get out my Fresh Baby Food Trays (which are BPA and phthalate free) and fill them in with what I’ve made. Into the freezer they go and the next morning, I put the cubes into Zip Lock Freezer Bags (not the Easy Zipper Freezer Bags. See below in the comment section for information on this) with a label saying what it is and when it was made. It is recommended that you use the cubes within 3 months. I’ve found the trays to be easy to clean and the covers fit well so there’s never been any spills.
Each night, I pick out what she’ll eat the next day, put them into small Pyrex bowls, and leave them in the refrigerator so they can defrost. Ten seconds in the microwave heats them up perfectly and there’s never any waste because I can easily choose the sized cubes that I know she’ll eat. When I’m away from home and I need to keep her food hot or cold, I’ve used the Thermos Foogo. For BPA-free utensils, take a look at ZRecommends here, here, here, and here.
There are plenty of books available with recipes and information about making your own baby food. I’ve found Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron and Blender Baby Food by Nicole Young to be very good. Honestly, thought, you don’t need books in the beginning – just steam the basics and follow the simple instructions I’ve given. A great web source that I highly recommend, though, is Wholesome Baby Food. They have everything you need to know, from what foods to give at different months, to how to prepare them. They even list recipes.
So consider giving it a try and when friends and family praise you for what they perceive as being hard work, you can either be cheeky and go with it or tell them the truth and spread the good word.