Homegrown Baby: Some tips for making your own baby food at home

Our family is anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new baby sometime during the beginning of August! My boys are excited about the baby stuff that keeps popping up in the nursery and they can hardly wait to meet their new brother or sister (yep we like to be surprised!)

Baby Food1

Besides the clean baby smell, being witness to the first smile at 1 am, and all the other fun stuff that comes along with having an infant in the house—I am looking forward to making my own baby food again! I just love making my own baby food and watching my baby’s first reaction to new tastes and smells! (It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I made the food and know where it comes from!)

I thought I’d take some time to share some tips I’ve found along the way. Even if you don’t have a baby of your own—you might consider helping out a young mom and whipping up a batch of food for her little one as a baby gift!

I know there is a pile of books out there on baby food making, honestly when you’re a mom with young kids it’s hard to find time to sit down and read a book—so here is one great website that I’ve found, it’s helped to answer a lot of my questions about the safety of how and when to introduce certain baby food’s and my pediatrician approved it as well: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/

Every situation is unique so remember to always consult your pediatrician to make sure your baby is developmentally ready for certain foods—and if your doc gives the okay—then dive in to the wonderful world of baby food making!

Here’s a list of some of the seasonal produce I like to buy locally or grow and prepare for baby food:

  • green beans
  • apples
  • peaches
  • blueberries
  • apricots
  • carrots
  • plums
  • pumpkin
  • nectarines
  • prune plums
  • zucchini
  •  peas
  • sweet potatoes

This list is by no means complete; during summertime in Berks County the options are endless. You can find directions on how to turn most produce into baby food by doing a search online. I will share with you two of my favorite recipes:

Prune Plums (We’ll be harvesting these gems the last week of August/ first week of September).
Method I cook them down in a pot with some water (just enough to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan) until they are tender and will easily puree in my blender. After they are cooked down, I strain them slightly (reserve the liquid) with a slotted spoon as I place them in the blender and then puree until all the chunks are out you can thicken it or thin it down by adding more or less of the cooking water you strained off.

Green Beans
Cook in water until tender, add the beans and cooking water to the blender puree until it is a thin consistency (Note: it will be slightly chunkier looking than the green beans you buy in the store, my babies have always tolerated it just fine but if you notice any discomfort with the extra fiber it may be a good idea to wait a few weeks before trying to reintroduce it).

Hint: After your purees are cooled down you can freeze them in ice cube trays. When they are completely frozen, pop out the food cubes and place them in freezer Ziploc bags. (Make sure you label and date the bags so you can remember what’s safe to eat). Generally speaking most purees when stored in a properly sealed bag last for up to 6 months. If anything smells or looks funny after coming out of your freezer—obviously don’t feed it to your baby! It’s better safe than sorry.

While making baby food may seem somewhat tedious, once I got my system down it really did not take long to whip up a batch. Often I would cook extra veggies for my family and then just reserve some for the baby’s food before I added any seasonings.

I’ve found that introducing my kids to a variety of veggie and fruit flavors at a young age has made them more eager to try new veggies and fruits now that they’re older—they don’t like everything they try—but I love the fact that they both still eat a lot of fruits and vegetables in their diets. So give baby food making a whirl and let us know how it goes!