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Make Your Own Baby Food

by verdemama on April 12, 2010

Purple potato with carrot and edamame

I’ve made Orion’s baby food from scratch from his very first meal, only resorting to jarred organic baby food when I’m traveling or otherwise in a pinch for food.* I’m always a little blown away that some people are amazed I do this. They think that it’s somehow a very difficult, time-consuming task or that mega agribusiness folks know more about how to feed our children than we parents do. Seriously, this couldn’t be any easier. If you have ever made a smoothie, you can do this. It’s a similar concept—take fruit/veggies, and throw them in the blender. Done and done.

Here’s a step-by-step how-to for one of Orion’s favorite dishes, orzo with veggies and cheese (which isn’t what’s shown in the above photo, but I forgot to take a pic of this particular finished product). This takes about 20 minutes for a week’s worth of fresh and yummy homemade baby food. (I swear to you, it’s good enough for adults to eat. If it weren’t, you know, blender-ized into oblivion.)

First, I round up the ingredients: broccoli and carrots (both from our farmers’ market), goat cheese and whole goat milk (Erik and I are sensitive to cow’s dairy and therefore assume Orion will be, too. Cow’s milk is actually very hard for human’s to digest while goat dairy is much gentler on the system.), whole wheat orzo and a mild white onion (not pictured).

Forgive me for my ugly kitchen. It’s the one room of the house that has yet to be remodeled.

Check out how amazingly gorgeous these heirloom carrots are. One is highlighter yellow and the other is deep purple on the outside and bright orange on the inside. If you have access to a local farmers’ market (and don’t already know how awesome they are), please, please check it out! The food you’ll find there is so much more fresh, nutritious and interesting than what’s in the grocery stores. I could go on and on about this but I’ll get back to the topic at hand for now…

Next, I chop the veggies to prepare them for cooking. For this batch of food I chose to steam the veggies, but you can bake or broil or simply keep them raw, depending on what you’re making. Steaming veggies retains more nutrients than the other methods of cooking, but sometimes the flavor of a roasted veggie is nice, too.

Then I put the veggies in a steamer basket, and steam them on the stovetop for 10 minutes or so.

I also chop a little onion and sauté it in some olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Orion’s at the age where he enjoys a little more flavor (and will show his distain for flavorless mush by smacking my hand away when I try to feed it to him), so he can handle some onion, garlic, herbs and spices now. I’d recommend keeping your cooking pretty mild for younger babies, at least until you know they can handle more exciting flavors.

After the onions are sauteed and the veggies steamed, I dump them into the food processor, add a little milk and cheese for smoothness and consistency (as well as yumminess, of course), and…

…give it a good blend. Since Orion is an older baby now and can handle textures, I leave the veggie mixture a little chunkier. Then I add the cooked orzo. This is what I get as a result.

As a final step, I spoon the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Later, after they’re frozen solid, I’ll take them out of the trays and store them in airtight Mason jars in the freezer (any kind of storage container will work, I just prefer glass, because I know it’s BPA-free).

And that’s it! It’s super simple to make your own baby food, in less than an hour or so a week. I usually make a bunch of different kinds at once, including a fruit blend for breakfast (which I mix with baby cereal or mashed rice) and a couple veggie blends out of whatever is in season from my local farmers’ market. (I’ll also throw in some edamame, lentils, tofu or chicken for protein, too.) I set up my operation assembly line-style and bang it out all at once. And then Orion is set for the week—sometimes two, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. (And P.S. I rarely, if ever, use a recipe or measure quantities. I just throw together whatever is in my fridge that sounds good!)

You can do it, too. I know you can! It’s so easy to make your baby REAL food, at a tiny fraction of the cost of buying the processed stuff. Happy pureeing!

*I do like some pre-made baby food products, which I blog about here.

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