In trying to keep Brooks on our family's clean eating path, I have made all his baby food. At around 6 months he started eating solids, usually simple, watery purees of one fruit or vegetable. He loved broccoli, and sweet potato anything remains his favorite flavor. He is now 9.5 months, so we have moved to more complex flavor combinations with more texture. To make his food, I'll use an afternoon to peel, dice, steam and mix everything. Then I can freeze it for about a months worth of meals.
My grocery list for this batch included the following:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
12 oz bag of frozen blueberries
10 oz bag of frozen peas
1/2 lb broccoli
3 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
2 sweet potatoes
Total cost: $24.67
*I purchased all organic produce, and local grown whenever possible.
*If you have no other use for kale, and can only buy it by larger amounts, just use spinach in its place. Or vice versa.
*Babies will seriously eat anything. Can't find a mango? Use a peach. Hate peas? Use asparagus. Brown rice can be substituted for quinoa.
*But DO pay attention to not use any hi-risk foods, such as honey, peanut butter, citrus, corn, raspberries.
To make and store the baby food, I use the Baby Bullet system. Or just use your regular blender. I like the storage that comes with the Baby Bullet, which has a freezer tray to freeze 6 servings, as well as 6 serving containers. There are lots of other storage options available, and ice cube trays work well too. All the extra purees get stored in BPA free Ziploc bags until I'm ready to use them.
Start by prepping all your ingredients. Here is how each needs to be prepared:
Quinoa: Add quinoa and 1 cup water to small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Kale and/or spinach: toss in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until wilted
Carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, pears, apples, sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes, & peel and core the apples and pears. Chop everything into 1-2" pieces. These all need to be steamed or boiled. I don't have a steamer, so I just throw it in a pan with enough water to cover it and let it cook until soft. I did the apples and pears together, and the carrots, zucchini, and squash together.
Peas: defrost according to package directions.
Mango and bananas: Peel and dice.
Once everything is ready to go, it's time to start creating some interesting mixes. You can adjust flavors to your babies preferences. If he favors sweeter taste, always include a fruit with your veggie mixes. Apple works well to sweeten up any green mixes.
Here are the flavor combinations I did:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 banana, 1/2 pear
1/3 sweet potato, 1/3 zucchini, 1/2 squash, 1/2 cup quinoa
all broccoli, 1/3 apple, all kale
1/2 blueberries, 1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 carrot, 1/2 blueberry
1/3 zucchini, 1/2 banana
1/3 zucchini, 1/2 squash, 1/3 pear
1/3 apple, 1/2 carrot
all spinach, 1/2 pea, all mango
1/2 sweet potato, 1/3 apple
1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 pea, 1/3 pear, 1/3 sweet potato
Measurements are by cooked and diced ingredient, so 1/2 pear equals half of my cooked chopped pears, not half of a pear. I hope that makes sense...
I blend everything as is first, then add small amounts of water as necessary until it gets to a good consistency. Depending on your child's age and how good they have gotten at mashing food with their gums, you can have a smooth yogurty consistency, or a mix with a little chunkiness.
Put your mixes in your storage containers, or in Ziploc bags. Lay the bags flat until frozen for easier storage. When I'm ready to use them, I just let them defrost in the fridge, cut off a corner, and squeeze the contents into my baby bullet containers.
And that's how I make a months worth of organic baby food in about an hour, for less than $25