MOMMYHOOD: Make your own babyfood and don't spend a ton doing it.
I was flipping though my beloved Williams Sonoma magazine the other day, with wishful sighing at all the wonderful cooking gadgets I could own if I had a kitchen the size of Sausalito, when I came across a section on making baby food. I have to admit, I "oohed" and "ahhed" over the pretty, ergonomic and handy cooking gadget (above) they were selling for making baby food, and the cute little freezer containers they had along with it-but I cringed at the price tag. So, I decided to write a little bit about making baby food and how to do it with what you already have in the house. That is how I did it before it was trendy! And you can too.
What you will need:
• A sauce pan with a steamer basket or a steamer gadget. (I used the old fashioned pot and pan approach!)
• A food processor
• Lots and lots of ice cube trays (I went to a thrift store and disinfected everything in boiling water. You could try a dollar store, too.)
• Lots of freezer storage bags
• A sharpie
• Fruits and vegetables ( I bought all organic in year #1 and my daughter was sick only once before her first birthday. I think it makes a huge difference! If you go to the trouble of nursing-why start feeding your baby chemically laden food? Just my two cents-)
• A cookbook. We really liked The Healthy Baby Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel. She cooks with subtle spices in the steamed apples and really great finger-food recipes for toddlers. I know these days there are a lot more chefs writing baby food books-so look around and read reviews.
My husband and I would pick one Sunday a month-spend two or three hours and make over a month's worth of pureed food. We would steam the fruit or vegetable (sometimes nestling a cinnamon stick and a bit of whole nutmeg in the apples-keep them whole so you could take them out easily before puree). Then, puree. Spoon the puree into ice cube trays, cover. Freeze. Label the trays if you need. Once frozen, pop them out. Store each flavor in it's own freezer bag, label and date. That's IT! Each square is a Tbsp. serving size. They defrost easily in a bowl of warm water or a few seconds in the microwave.
I really enjoyed doing this. The money you save by making is incredible! Its greener, its not that hard, and you know exactly what is going into your baby. I can say that our daughter has always had a diverse palette and to this day a healthy eater. I would like to think the extra effort in giving her full flavored, homemade food when she was younger helped develop her taste buds. I don't know-probably not-but I can dream!
Now, If you have the money and the space, I will admit that the beaba babycook gadget from WS is pretty cool. Here is a link to it on their site, if you want to splurge. If it will entice you to make food for your little one, then go for it! It is such a great thing to do for them. Really! Here is the link-and happy steaming!