Thursday, January 22, 2009

Homemade Babyfood Tutorial, Part One

UPDATED TO ADD: Thank you so much, Jenny! I forgot to mention that it is not recommended to make your own cereals. There is absolutely no nutritional value in rice. So, even though it is easy and cheap, there is no need for a baby to have a homemade cereal - it would be a filler only and would keep them from being hungry enough for the nutritional things they need. Instead, the commercial cereals are fortified heavily in iron and other nutritional needs. Please keep commenting with your tips and suggestions throughout this blog series! I'd love to learn as we go.

I've been taking pictures here and there and filing away basic hints for making homemade babyfood. I know several of my friends are interested in a tutorial, so I thought I'd post it here. I make all of Hannah's food. My reasoning is strictly financial, but we have found enormous benefits additionally. Here is the basic argument for making your own baby food:
  • You control what goes into the food - quality, quantity, and extras
  • There are no preservatives (something we found out after the fact that Hannah is very sensitive to!)
  • It is VERY cost-effective
  • It's easy
  • The purees taste just like the real thing, so the transition to table food is much easier
  • The possibilities of food combinations are endless!

Okay, here are the tools I use most frequently. 1) Steamer - We got this one from WalMart on sale for $20. It has honestly been the best investment that I've ever made in an appliance. I almost use it once a day! I'd highly recommend this one because every part is dishwasher safe - awesome.

2) Ice Cube Trays - I go through these quickly. I'm about to invest in all silicone because I find the plastic ones break very easily with how frequently they're used around here.

3) Freezer Bags - I buy quart and gallon-sized

4) Food Processor - This one is the Cuisinart Mini Prep - cheap, high-quality, and all dishwasher safe

5) Pastry Blender - I rarely use the food processor at this point in Hannah's development. I typically mash everything with either this pastry blender or my mix n' chop (see #7).

6) Fine Mesh Strainer - After pureeing things like peas, green beans, corn, or anything that's stringy or has a skin to it, you'll want to press it through a fine or medium mesh strainer to achieve a more desirable consistency for your baby at first.

7) Pampered Chef Mix n' Chop - This has become my favorite all-purpose kitchen tool. It is safe for non-stick pans, so I can use it to chop up ground beef or turkey, it is very sturdy so I can use it to mash fairly firm things, and it was a very good buy at $9.50. Lucky for you, I'm hosting a Pampered Chef catalog show now through January 30th. Let me know if you're interested in buying one of these or anything else!

8) Steamer basket - I have only used this a couple of times, but I got it for $1 in Target's dollar section. It's worth it if you don't want to buy the countertop steamer or if you want to steam multiple things at once.


Brandon and Jenny said...

Hey...just a little tip...this may be old news to you and you might post this later, but you shouldn't make your own baby cereal. I mean, I make all my own food too, and b/c of that I made BabyM's rice and oatmeal and mixed cereal. The baby cereal here has sugar as the second ingredient and so I thought I was being responsible. Well, the added iron in baby cereals is so important in months 4-6 of baby's life and afterward, too. Iron rich foods don't get introduced until later and not in sufficient quantities. This is at least important for breastfed babies. I don't know if that really applies to babies that are on iron fortified formula. You would know better about that!

Rachel said...

Obviously we are beyond the baby food stage with Lucas, but I am interested in trying this for our next baby. I can't it better to steam or can you boil the veggies to make them softer? Or, does boiling cause the nutrional value to "boil" away? I know microwaves destroy a lot of the nutrients, but I asn't sure if it was the same for boiling.

Erin said...

Generally, I've heard that steaming is better than boiling b/c the nutrients go into the water. So, whenever I boiled veggies, I would use the "boiling water" to help with the texture when pureeing them.

Alicia, I've got 6 silicone trays you're welcome to use while you're still building your collection if you like b/c I know they can be pricey! I am not making baby food at this point in time... :)