This is part 2 in my baby food series. Part 1 breaks down the equipment I’m using, this part will explain the process of making the food and storing it, as well as a break down of the cost.
A quick note before I get into the demonstration- The cost is going to break down differently depending on what you use to make your baby food, specifically the product you buy. If you check out the label on a stage one bottle of gerber baby food (bananas for example), it will read that the ingredients are Bananas, water, citric acid, and ascorbic acid. Not to mention the pesticides used in growing the bananas. When it comes to making Elliot’s baby food, I’m selecting mostly organic vegetables and fruits, and the only thing that goes into his food is that veggie and water. While the cost is one of the best things about making your own baby food, my personal favorite is knowing exactly what is IN his food. If I had any skill in gardening I would endeavor to grow my own vegetables for this!
If you’re using any other product other than the Beaba Baby Cook, you’re going to have to cook your food before you begin. Since I’m using this awesome little machine, my food cooks in the steam basket, in the same bowl I’ll later puree in. Its simple with the beaba, just chop up your veggies, fill the reservoir, and push the steam button. It will cook the veggies perfectly every time. For this demonstration, I’m making peas. =)
Once your veggies are done steaming, you can flip that basket over and dumb them straight into the large cup. That cup is also holding all the water used to steam your veggies. If you want a slightly thicker puree, you’ll want to dumb out a little bit of that water before you add your veggies. Once you’ve added your veggies to that cup, you’re ready to puree them. You can do this in a food processor or a blender as well. If you can’t tell though, I’m in love with the Beaba!
Yummy! (Quick note on pureeing peas- For some reason they’re hard to get smooth. If you dunk them into an ice bath right after you steam them, they seem to puree smoother) You might have to puree and stir and puree and stir to get the consistency that you want here. For stage one you want a nice runny puree. If you’re breastfeeding, you can most certainly use breast milk in place of the steam water! I can’t even describe how much I wish I could do that!
Once this step is done you’re ready to feed or freeze. I spread my purees out into the silicone trays I use (Trovolo Brand), and I always pop them on the counter once or twice to get air bubbles out. Then I freeze them overnight.
After they’ve frozen, pop them out, and put them in some good quality freezer bags for your long term storage. You want to use these within 6 weeks for sure, but its best to aim for 4 weeks. Be sure to always put a use by or a made on date on your freezer bag, and label what veggie or fruit it is! (That sounds silly, but believe me, sweet potatoes and butternut squash look like the exact same thing when frozen!)
Each square is exactly one oz. So when you’re ready to use them, just grab a square or two, and thaw it. Most baby food jars and two oz servings, for reference.
If you’re using the beaba, you can put your frozen cube into a small ramekin or a baby food container, and use the steam cycle to thaw it. I’m too lazy for that and I usually pop them in the microwave for 25 seconds. *shrug*
Tada! Yummy, home made, organic peas!
For storage I bought a file crate on clearance at walmart. It sits in the top of our deep freezer, and I line all the bags of baby food in there, with the freshest food going in the back of the crate, and I pull Elliot’s meals from the front of the crate.
I make his baby food every two weeks or so. If you have less storage space, you can make smaller batches once a week and keep one or two bags of baby food in your regular
One serving of Gerber Organic Peas cost $1.34 (plus tax) (Thats a 2 oz serving)
For this batch of peas I paid $2 (plus tax) for a bag of organic peas. Out of this batch I got 15 servings (also 2 oz a serving). So that’s a cost of $.13 a serving!
If you’d like one more break down of cost- here’s one for Bananas!
A cost of Gerber Organic Banana is the exact same as above. $1.34
For the Bananas I made for Elliot, I paid $2.88 for 6 bananas. I was able to make 15 servings from that, which breaks down to $.18 a serving!
That spells it out perfectly for me. Would I rather pay $1.34 for a serving, or $.13? (For those that argue the “cost” of time to make this baby food, It took me less than 10 minutes to make these peas!)
VERY IMPORTANT THINGS!
Do your research, and talk with your Pediatrician before you begin solids with your baby! Not every baby is ready for solids at the same time. Elliot began at 4 and a half moths, but some babies need to wait until 6 months or even longer. If you are breastfeeding your baby, rest in knowing that your breast milk is the ONLY thing baby needs for the first year of her life.
Do your research on whether or not Purees are right for you. A lot of parents are introducing solids following Baby Led Weening. While BLW is amazing to me, it was not something I felt comfortable with. Had I had more time to research it and understand it, yeah maybe. But I know Jason probably would have never gotten on board with it! haha.
Only offer your baby foods that are appropriate for your baby’s age. This again could be started with DO YOUR RESEARCH. Proper first foods for a baby include- Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Avacado, Bananas, Apples. Make sure you know which food to avoid in the first year! (cows milk, citrus, etc.)
Always feed your baby only ONE type of puree for 4 days before beginning a different puree. This is for your baby’s safety. If baby has an allergic reaction, its much easier to figure out the allergy if baby has only had one food in the past few days!
Keep in mind that baby food is not meant to provide the baby with what she needs nutritionally during the first year. Breast milk or formula fulfill that role, so always feed those first. Start a feeding with nursing, or with a regular sized bottle, then move on to solids. Let baby tell you when she’s finished.
Now for some yummy pictures!