I made my own baby food with Sprocket and wanted to do the same with Spark. I realized I never really documented any of it and wanted to put together a post that showed some of the process.
The underlying theme is the same regardless of the food…cut, steam/boil, puree.
|$13.85 worth of produce|
Here are some sweet potatoes that I cut and boiled — 4 sweet potatoes makes a pretty good batch. I cut them lengthwise and then slice.
Once boiled, I drain and save some of the water. I puree in a Babycook (but have used our food processor or even blender in the past) with some of the cooking water to thin it out.
Then, spoon into ice cube trays, cover, and freeze.
I never made spinach with Sprocket, and wanted to give it a try. I bought some fresh spinach, washed and cut the stems.
The spinach was a little runny once pureed, so I mixed it in with some apples and sweet potatoes for some fun combinations.
Apples are pretty straight-foward. Peel, core and slice (I do with an apple corer), and boil in enough water to barely cover the top of the apples. I don’t know how long I boiled…just until tender.
Again, I save some of the water when I drain so that I can mix it in when I puree.
I saved a quarter of the batch to mix with spinach and another quarter to mix with avocado.
Carrots are very hard to puree to a smooth consistency, so they are another one that I mix to help with texture. I wash, peel, and slice about 6-7 carrots for a decent batch.
I don’t have any pics of the puree process, but it was just more of the same — strain, save water, puree and add water to get to desired consistency.
Regular ice cube trays will work and the volume of these trays can vary. I have either been gifted or found great deals on baby food specific trays, but the only difference is a plastic cover that snaps on vs. just using foil with a regular tray.
The other difference might be that the baby-specific trays are dishwasher safe, but because I bought them secondhand and don’t know for sure, I wash by hand anyway. It is by far the most annoying part of this whole process. All those little compartments.
Once everything is frozen, I put it in baggies and label with date and type of food.
Breast Milk or Formula or Water?
I used cooking water to get desired consistency, but formula and milk could also be used. I used milk with Sprocket, but with Spark I am baaaaaarely keeping up with her when pumping, so I just couldn’t spare the extra. Also, you have to really pay attention to dates when using breast milk to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
It’s quick. I drop 2-3 cubes in a coffee mug, microwave, check temp, and feed to Squishy baby. Easy Peasy.
1. I don’t follow a recipe or even pay attention to amounts of liquid added or vegetables/fruits cooked. It’s funny because I am the complete opposite when cooking regular food — I follow the recipe closely. It is just about trial and error…I mean, you can’t really screw it up.
2. Combinations — many people will puree and freeze separately and then mix when they warm up. I like to mix when I puree to ensure that I get the consistency I want. Early on, I like to have the food options on their own as well. This is because we only introduce one new food at a time to look for allergies or reactions, so we want to try the food on its own before offering it in combos.
3. Consistency — because Spark is just starting with food, I keep everything super duper smooth, which actually takes quite a bit of liquid. Once she gets used to new foods, I will ease up on it and introduce chunkier/more textured options.
Let’s Talk Meat…
Once Spark is 9 months old, I will introduce proteins — mostly chicken or turkey. Meat gets a really weird consistency when processed, so it is really important to mix with very juicy fruits or veggies. With Sprocket, I often pureed chicken with either tomatoes, apples, or sweet potatoes. That kid has loooved tomatoes from Day 1.
The Bottom Line…
Contrary to popular belief, it is actually slightly more expensive to make your own baby food — unless only buying in season produce. I actually did the math and making my own costs about 18 cents/ounce. Gerber food at Target is 15 cents/ounce. Not a huge difference and I like to make it, so it is worth it. Also, after eating home-made food when he was a baby, Sprocket refused to eat the packaged stuff when I bought when back visiting Iowa once. I think it was all about the texture.