Posts Tagged ‘purees’

Homemade Baby Food Purees

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

homemade baby food purees

When my older daughter started to eat solids, I decided I would make my own baby food purees. Making my own purees was less expensive than buying jarred baby food. She had a milk intolerance, and I read that cross contamination in baby foods was a common problem. In addition to saving money, I was happy that making my own purees allowed me to control what went into her food (and what stayed out).

Her first food was avocado.  I simply used a food processor to mash the avocado. Once the avocado was smooth, I mixed in pumped breast milk to thin it out to a very loose consistency.

After Lily ate avocado for a few days, I tried sweet potato, then butternut squash. To prepare the sweet potato, I boiled the sweet potato, then used the food processor to puree it. I used some of the cooking liquid to thin it to my desired consistency. With the butternut squash, I halved it, removed the seeds, then roasted it in a shallow pan with a little water until it was super soft. I then pureed it in the food processor, and thinned it with pumped breast milk.

I used my slow cooker to make apple sauce and pear sauce once I started Lily on fruits. I would peel, core, and chop 4 -6 of pears or apples, place them in the slow cooker, added a little water, and cooked on high for 2-3 hours. Once the apple or pears were super soft and basically falling apart, I would puree them in my food processor, again adding the cooking liquid or a little pumped breast milk to thin the puree out.

When making the purees, I made much more than Lily would eat at any one time. I used ice cube trays to freeze small portions of the purees. When I decided what I was going to try to feed Lily, I would pull out one ice cube tray portion, and carefully heat it in the microwave, adding more pumped breast milk as needed.

Although slightly more work than picking up a jar of baby food at the store, making my own purees did not require any special kitchen gadgets and did not require much cooking time or food prep. The peace of mind of making my own purees as well as the money saved more than made up for the convenience of the jarred food.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

Easy Homemade Purees

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

homemade baby foodIf you haven’t tried, making your own baby food purees is super easy and surprisingly quick. You don’t need to buy any special equipment, assuming you have a typically stocked kitchen. It’s a nutritious and inexpensive way to start your child on solids.

The easiest choices are banana and avocado, as all you need to do is mash up a bit of fresh fruit. Make sure they are ripe, and scoop out some avocado or slice of a chunk of banana into a bowl. Mash it smooth with a fork and voila, dinner is served (or breakfast or lunch or whatever).

Other fruits and vegetables require cooking before mashing. Generally speaking, steaming is my favorite option as it retains a lot of nutrients, and also keeps the texture moist and easy to puree. Veggies like squash, carrots, potatoes, and softer fruits like peaches can all be mashed with a fork by hand, if you don’t have a food processor or blender.

For more fibrous foods, like green beans, spinach, or apples, it’s best to use a food processor or blender after steaming. When blending, you will need a blending liquid. Expressed breast milk or formula are good options (if you exclusively breastfeed but don’t have a freezer stash, this can be a good way to use up the sample formula cans that formula companies send). If your child fights constipation, you can use a little bit of prune juice as the liquid.

Meat can be a little tougher to process. Again, steaming is a good way to go (baking works too though). Rough chop and put in your processor along with with your chosen liquid. Keep in mind, when processing, that a smoother texture is usually better tolerated, so check the texture and when in doubt, blend a little longer.

Feel free to make a batch at a time; you can freeze the purees in ice cube trays and store in ziploc bags in the freezer once frozen. I used to thaw out what I needed for the next day by putting frozen cubes in old glass baby food jars and then into the fridge the night before. You can also purchase jars specially designed for homemade baby food.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.