With a lot going on around and within me, I haven’t posted in a while.
I have been making my son Dominic’s baby food and we just got past the first stage of trying things one at a time and started mixing fruit and veggies and we’re introducing meat(chicken), which any mom could tell you is pretty exciting. Our little babies are now eating meat! Isn’t there something about eating meat that just says ‘grown up’?
Here are a few tips to help you start making and freezing your own baby food. I’m sure there are other ways, but this is what worked for me.
1. Organize your baby food tools. I use an immersion blender for making the food. I found this works best because it blends small amounts of food too and it’s easier to clean. I use 3 ice cube trays with lids for freezing the food after making it. I also have these little containers that I use for extra food that didn’t fit in the trays, so that nothing is wasted. Sometimes I put some of the fresh food in the fridge in these to serve that day. I keep everything in a basket in my kitchen cabinet, so that when it’s baby food time I can just take it out and everything will be in one place. I don’t use these items for anything else.
2. Use a steamer/rice cooker. I steamed everything except for the chicken and the peas, which I boiled in a pot. We don’t have a separate steamer so I use the steaming basket that came with our rice cooker. It’s very easy and very quick.
3. Steam 2 fruit/veggies at a time. To save time, I pair fruit and vegetables with similar cooking time together. For example, Apple and pear, broccoli and zucchini, carrot and sweet potato,etc. I change the water and rinse the basket between uses. For this batch, I mixed them, but if your baby is still at stage 1 or you’d rather have separate things to mix later you can steam them together and blend them one by one.
4. Make small quantities. From what I read, the frozen baby food is at its best in the first month and keeps for up to three months in a good freezer. Our place is “blessed” with power cuts once a month or sometimes more often, so I make about 2-3 weeks’ worth of food at a time and after power cuts I throw whatever was left out and make a new batch. But with this system, not much food gets wasted. Remember babies don’t eat too much at a meal, mine eats about 2 cubes, and after a while you might want to try new things, so it’s best to keep quantities small. I would say about 6 cubes of each would be ideal. Of course sometimes you will end up with much more broccoli than you thought, like I did. But that’s ok, baby Dominic likes broccoli.
5. Add water to make food easier to blend. Don’t overdo it though, or your food will be watery. Most veggies and fruit only require 2-3 spoons of water to blend nicely. An exception are the root vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes that will need a little more. After you defrost your food to use it, you will find that it might need a little extra liquid to be smooth, especially if your baby is at the beginning of his/her solids adventure. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of water, formula or breastmilk to make it easier to swallow. I prefer to add water to keep the taste of the food and not make everything taste like formula. Plus, we are on a special hydrolized formula that smells and tastes awful and I just don’t have the heart to ruin the fresh food’s great taste.
6. Don’t forget to label your food. This is easily done with a Sharpie/black marker. Like I said, I throw leftover food out often, but if your place doesn’t have power cuts like mine, it could be easy to forget when you made the baby food or exactly what is in it.
7. Keep baby food all in one place. I go the popular route and pop baby food cubes in ziploc baggies. Then I found it helps to keep all the baggies together, in a basket/freezer organizer/container. That will keep your freezer organized and prevent baby food baggies from getting lost and forgotten under the other stuff in your freezer.
8. Separate meat from other food. Especially when first introducing it. I was very tempted to blend the chicken with the broccoli and zucchini, it just sounded so much more like a complete meal. But this way, if my son has a reaction to chicken after he first eats it, or if he absolutely hates it and I have to try again later, then the batch of zucchini and broccoli will not be wasted (he loves those on their own). And now I have a few chicken cubes which I can add to any other combination/vegetable or even serve it on its own.
This is it for now. This is a cheap and easy way of making and freezing baby food, you can make enough food for 2-3-4 weeks in about 2.5 hours. You can be creative and have fun and make sure your baby had fresh healthy food to spread all over your floor and their face. I mean, eat.