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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
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Make Your Own Baby Food!

Make Your Own Baby Food!

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: It’s late summer, and you have more fresh produce than you know what to do with. You can’t eat it, or give it away, fast enough. Yet, every month you spend a small fortune on baby food.

If this sounds like you, why not save some money, and provide your baby with a healthier diet, by making your own baby food from scratch? While the thought might sound like something out of Little House on the Prairie, making your own baby food is actually very easy. With just some fresh fruits and vegetables — the same ones you grow or buy for yourself — a blender, and about an hour each week, you can save hundreds of dollars.

Most commercial baby foods are just single-serve portions of puréed fruits and vegetables. To make your own, simply cook the vegetables — usually by boiling or steaming them — purée them in a blender or food processor (adding water as needed), and store it.

Reserve any fluid that’s lost during cooking to add back in while puréeing. This will help to things break down more easily. If need be, you can add water, or even formula or breast milk, as well. How thick or thin your baby’s food should be depends on age. As a general rule, the younger the baby is, the smoother their food needs to be, while older babies may be able to handle a few soft chunks.

Don’t be afraid to break away from single flavors. Mix it up a little, and expand your baby’s horizons with combinations like peas and carrots or pumpkin apple. If the baby refuses to eat a certain food or combination, put it away and try it again later. It doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will never like it.

There’s no need to store your baby food in single servings. It’s just as easy to keep it in larger containers and spoon out the amount you’ll need for each meal. If you prefer the convenience of single portions, though, you can reuse old baby food jars, or buy several small plastic containers.

If you plan to make more food than you’ll need for few days’ worth of feedings, separate out any extras and freeze them for later. This way, you can save even more money by buying in bulk, and you can do all of your preparation in a single day, once a month or so, rather than taking time out every week. Be sure to use freezer safe containers. Plastic is a good option, but glass can be fine, too, as long as it’s marked “safe for freezing.” Most canning jars can be frozen, while reused baby food jars cannot. Be careful not to overfill your containers — liquids expand when they freeze. Label each container with the contents and the date they were frozen. It’s best to use frozen baby food within a month.

Many of the foods you make for yourself can also be adapted for a baby. If you’re planning on enjoying some butternut squash one evening, there’s no reason you can’t set aside a small portion to cool off and purée for the baby. If your lunch includes a ripe avocado, why not mash up a small portion to share?

As long as you’re careful to keep the portions small and the presentation smooth, there’s almost no end to the foods you can prepare for your baby.

Here’s a nutritious baby food recipe to get you started, perfect for fall:

Apple Sweet Potato Purée
Ingredients:
One Medium Apple
One Large Sweet Potato

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Core the apple. Pierce the skin of the sweet potato a few times with a fork. Set it on a baking sheet and cook for about 45 minutes. After half and hour, open the oven and set the apple on the baking sheet. Cook it along with the sweet potato for 15 minutes. Remove the skins from both the apple and sweet potato and place them in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before serving.

4 comments

1 barb hollenbeck { 09.16.11 at 9:37 am }

I too made my own baby food in the 70s-along with cloth diapers! I used to puree EVERYTHING & when babies were small i used ice trays to make individual servings. After they’re frozen u can pop out & put in freezer bags- today u can vacuum seal individually but i did it back then preparing for a new baby after harvest seasons over. Also-ive never used ANY salt in preserving as it is about texture for the first 2 years. I use no additives just the food-added salt is NOT necessary-i havent used it in 34 years!

2 Peter { 09.15.11 at 11:19 pm }

its called spin and sprout, the more greens the better its protein

3 D. { 09.14.11 at 9:30 am }

Also, don’t boil the vegetables. Either steam them or oven roast them.

It’s not usually the taste of certain foods that baby doesn’t like – it’s the texture. As they get older they will adapt to something they may not have liked before. Also, as baby gets old, puree the foods less and less all the time so baby gets used to larger pieces of foods, as they have enough teeth to start chewing. Common sense will have to rule this because every baby gets teeth at different ages.

Also, do not mix foods together until after baby has had a chance to sample them separately. Mixing foods is what normally gives stomach upset.

Don’t start baby on solids too soon.

Also, if baby has stomach issues as you go, try adding a little acidophilus to their food, or any good infant probiotic (Culturelle, Baby Me Now, etc.) These probiotics can also be added to bottles for colicky babies, and bifidobacterium infantis can be added for babies with extended diarrhea. IMO, all babies should be given probiotics from the get-go.

Another first food for babies would be homemade yogurt and kefir added to their bottles or first foods. Mashed avocado, as stated, is a wonderful first food with butter and added unrefined sea salt. My kids liked avocado mixed with yogurt as they got older (say, age 10 months or so).

4 D. { 09.14.11 at 9:22 am }

I did this in the 1970s when my babies were small. I had my own garden and had bounty left over, but I made and froze mine long before it was fashionable.

Be sure to add a big dollop of REAL BUTTER (for vitamins A, D, E, and K not to mention the oils and cholesterol needed for the babies brains and veins) and a sprinkle of gray or pink sea salt (for minerals). Eggs yolks first (at about 6 months if breastfeeding, 4 months if formula feeding), then pureed meats (just leftovers of what you served your family, like roast beef, roast pork loin, chicken breasts, etc), then myriad veggies (one at a time of course) and then fruit. No rice cereals.

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