Making your own baby food is a great way to know exactly what is going into your babies body. It also allows you to introduce more variety into your babies diet. This baby food is stored in 1/4 pint freezer jars. They are an easy to find, and reusable, storage option. In this post I will go over the basics, and show you a few combinations that my current baby enjoys.
Making your own baby food doesn’t have to be a big event. You certainly can make an afternoon of it, and whip up a bunch of different kinds of food. (I actually love doing things this way.) It is also very easy to just make things as you go.
If you are baking something, throw in a couple of yams or sweet potatoes, or maybe a halved winter squash along with it. If you are boiling up some veggies for a side at dinner, double the amount and use that extra for baby food. (I would wait to salt/season what you are preparing for dinner until after you have removed the baby food portion.) If you have some extra apples, peel and core them, and boil up a little applesauce while you are doing dishes or cleaning out the fridge.
What kinds of food make good baby food
Babies grow and change very quickly. Their food needs also change quite quickly. At 6 months a baby may have only had breast milk or formula to eat, and by 12-15 months many are eating a slightly chopped up version of the rest of their family’s meal. Here are some foods that are good for babies:
- Small pasta
- Other cereal grains
- Peanut butter
- Green beans
- Bell Peppers
- Cooked greens
This list is not exhaustive. There are many, many, many good foods that can be used. If you are in question about a certain food, look it up.
When you are first starting your baby on solid foods, it is best to make sure they are smooth and not too thick. I have had the best luck with sweeter vegetable varieties as first foods. Yams, winter squash, and carrots all go over pretty well. Fruit is often too acidic for my babies at first, but yours may do great with something like applesauce.
Always introduce one food at a time. That way if there is an allergic reaction, or strong aversion, you can tell what caused it. As you introduce more foods, you can also begin adding them together in combination foods.
Adding meat into homemade baby food generally adds a bit of texture. My 8 month old baby is at the stage that he seems to enjoy more textures, so I added ground turkey and/or some very small noodles to some of the foods I made this week. Just make sure that you chop the meat into very fine pieces. Otherwise, the baby can choke. I chop pretty much all of by babies food in a food processer at this point.
Some other things you can add to give your baby food more texture are: well cooked rice, regular oatmeal, and even some very soft fruits and veggies that have been left as larger chunks.
Cooking methods for making homemade baby food
The best methods for cooking fruits and vegetables that you are going to feed to your baby, or anyone for that manner, don’t allow nutrients to be leached away. So, things like baked or steamed are generally best.
A lot of fruits like, apples, peaches, berries, etc. can be cooked in a lidded pan on the stove with just a little water added at first. You will need to keep a good eye on it and add water if needed so that it doesn’t burn. The little bit of water you are cooking in will be mixed into the fruit puree so you won’t loose many nutrients that way either. If you do burn it, (been there) you can still use the unburnt food. Just be careful not to scrap the burnt part into your baby food.
Some foods like bananas, avocados and peanut butter are already soft and don’t require cooking.
Baby foods this week.
- Apple banana
- Peach mango
- Turkey squash
- Peach mango carrot
- Apple peach mango
- Turkey yam
- Peach mango banana
- Turkey noodle w/ carrots
- Apple turkey
Packaging and storage
With babies that are just starting solid foods you can freeze little portions in ice cube trays. As babies get older, they eat more at a time. My baby is 8 months and has always been a big eater. I put the food I just froze for him in 1/4 pint ball jelly jars. They are safe to freeze because the sides are straight. This allows the liquid to expand as it freezes without breaking the jar. If you are concerned (or confused) about your jars being freezer safe, look up the brand and size.
I also write what is in the jar on the lid with a permanent marker. I reuse my jars and lids. If I want to use the lid for a different food next time, I can use an alcohol wipe or a dry erase marker to get the previous permanent maker off of the lid, first.
Your baby food can be stored in the freezer for several months, but it needs to be used with in a couple days after it has been thawed. Thaw it in the refrigerator, in cool water, or by heating it up.
You should not put a frozen jar of baby food (or frozen jar of anything really) into the microwave or the jar will break. If you need to use a jar of baby food, and don’t have time for it to thaw slowly, put the jar in cold water for a couple of minutes. Then, you should be able to slide the baby food out of the jar onto another dish and heat it up from there.
If you have any tips or tricks for making homemade baby food, please leave a comment and let us know.