Monday, June 28, 2010

chop, steam, purée...repeat

Yesterday, I went on a big adventure. An adventure into the world of making baby food. Why would one bother to make baby food when it comes in those adorable little pre-made jars? Well let's break it down shall we?

Packaged baby food (jars or plastic) = $.22-$.40 an ounce
Cost of large peeled bag of carrots = 3 bags @ $1.99 each ($5.97 total)
Cost of fresh papayas from store = 3 @ $2.50 each ($7.50 total)
Cost of fresh mangoes at store = 9 @ $1.50 each ($13.50 total)

3 bags of carrots = 168 ounces of baby food = $0.03 an ounce
3 papayas = 96 ounces of baby food = $0.08 an ounce
9 mangoes = 89 ounces of baby food = $0.17 an ounce

So you can see the difference. Some things seemed to be much more worth it than others. The mangoes (and the nectarines which I did not price out) did not yield as much baby food per item. But most things save a TON of money. And I really do like knowing exactly what is going into Lila's tummy. Which will just be the actual food and a little bit of water. And of course, a mommy's love...I know, gag me.

We decided to make the baby food as a group, since it is really just as easy to make a small amount as it is to make a large amount. The work is in the amount of different foods you are doing at one time. Me and 2 of the other Four Pack mommies all picked 2 foods each and then gathered to figure this out all together. Imagine lots of unnecessary using of pots and bowls, lots of messy puréed food on the floor, the hubbies trying to handle the babies, and baby paraphernalia central. 

I am so looking forward to making more baby food now that we have a handle on it. All of our recipes and information were taken from the Wholesome Baby Food website. And here is the How-To for baby food making. If you want to read more information, just click on the "Read More" below. Hope you enjoy the directions for your own baby food making party!
Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Yellow Squash
Nectarines, Mangoes, and Papayas

Carrots are really easy to make if you buy the fresh carrots that are peeled in the bag. First you steam them in a steamer pot.
Once they are tender when poked with a fork, you put them in the food processor. Water them down as you are processing them until they reach a smooth, thick soupy texture.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes require a little more time, as you have to peel all of them by hand. Once peeled, you can steam them or boil them. We chose to boil them.
Once tender, process them and water them down until they reach a smooth, thick soupy texture.

Yellow Squash
The squash have to be peeled (although they said you do not have to peel them for infants over 8 months). And then chopped them into small pieces.
You usually would steam them at that point, but we got a little distracted and processed them raw :-0 Whoops! So we put the processed pieces into the oven to bake, and then once cooked, ran them through the processor one more time. Always laugh at your mistakes!

Nectarines have to be peeled and then chopped into pieces. We chose to bake them rather than steam them, as the website stated this would pull out more of their natural sugars and make them sweeter. So we put a little bit of water in a baking dish, put all the pieces into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until tender).
They went into the processor until smooth. I will say this fruit yielded the least amount of baby food per piece of fruit.

Mangoes are very soft and juicy, so they do not need to be cooked. We just peeled them and then chopped around the hard pit in the center.
We put all the slices into the processor and it made very runny baby food. I think we might have to thicken this with rice cereal once it is thawed.

Papayas are also very juicy, so they do not need to be cooked. Peel them and then chop pieces off of the sides. Be careful though, as in the center of the papaya is lots of little seeds. That quite honestly look like disgusting fish eggs. 
We put all the slices into the processor and it made very runny baby food. Thickening probably required on this one also.

Freezing the Baby Food
After cooking, we divided up the puréed baby food among the 3 of us, which made a TON of food!
Then it was time to freeze it. I poured the baby food into plastic ice cube trays, which divided them into 2 ounce servings. The ice cube trays go into the freezer overnight to harden into the shapes.
Then pop them out, put them in labeled freezer bags, and voila! Baby food that can be individually thawed!


Veronica Lee said...

Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.

Have a nice day!

Joy said...

hey thanks for stopping by my blog

I also made my daughter's food (just don't tell my son) You are right it is SO much cheaper and really not all that hard.

Mix bananas and avocado sounds weird but it was in a baby food book I bought and my dd loved it. Also with fruit I just bought frozen bags I found it was alot easier and there are alot of varieties.

this is the book I used

Kelli Joyner said...

Just reading your blog for the first time and came across this section on making your own baby food! I'm so glad to hear someone else's experience with it first--I just started feeding Isaac solids, and was debating on making my own, although I've just given him jarred food at this point out of convenience. Thanks for the advice! I don't have a processor though, so wondering how it would work in a blender?

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