I didn't start out making my own baby food. I think I was a bit overwhelmed with work, intimidated by the vast amount of foods, and scared of doing it all wrong.
Red made such faces when we first introduced solids, that it made me worry that I was already doing something wrong. I started reading up on organics, bought what was on sale and used my coupons like a crazed woman.
|Looks like the Longhorn Bouffant Lady!|
But, it was still expensive in the long run. Plus, there are only a few "Stage 3" foods available out there. They usually vary from store to store, but there are not a lot of them. Once we got to this point (where Red needed to learn how to eat chunkier textures), I started to make my own bananas and easy to mash foods like that. Success came slowly. Now that he's used to that, I need to create more chunky things like veggies, and (dear god) meats.
Cue the process of making your own. What follows is my step by step process to create a few purees. The great thing about doing it this way, is that you can create a customized chunkiness/pieces designed for your needs, it's way cheaper, fresher and easier than I thought. Feel free to mix flavors or add some light seasonings and salt if you feel it's necessary. Remember - baby's taste buds are much more sensitive than ours!
I wanted to make Sweet Potatoes for Red. Some people call them Yams (we southerners do!), but there is a subtle difference in these roots. The rounder version on the left is a sweet potato. It is lighter in color and usually doesn't get longer than 5-6". The version on the right hand side is an actual Yam. They are darker, sweeter, and get very large naturally. If you shop in the south, you will most likely find Yams in your store, even if they are marked "Sweet Potatoes".
|Sweet Potato vs. Yam|
First, drag out all the stuff you need to make your purees - cutting board, boiling water, knife, peeler, food processor with good blade, and little storage jars.
I prefer to use these Rubbermaid Easy-Find 4oz. thingies. They clean really well in the dishwasher and are secure enough to take with you. You can also use washed and dried baby food glass jars, larger tupperware, etc.
If you don't have a food processor, you can always hand-mash your potatoes. For other things like broccoli and snap peas, you will want to dice them finely with a knife and mix them into something like sugar-free applesauce. (You can also use your blender, but it doesn't work as nicely).
|Mashy Mashy Mashy, Mash your little veggies.|
I like to add a little salt to my water, but just a pinch. And, like Alton Brown taught me, I make sure it's a nice Kosher salt! Next up, use your peeler and get all the skin off your potatoes. Dice them into smaller pieces, which helps them cook faster!!
|Slice and Dice!|
Slip them carefully into the boiling water, making sure not to splash yourself with scalding-hot-fire-of-God water. Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until your potato piece mashes gently with a fork. After your potatoes finish cooking, drain them in a strainer in the sink. Note the excessive steam. HOT!!
After draining the water, place your blazing hot veggie pieces into the processor.
Use the Chop and Gring features of the control panel to alternate blade spin directions to get a creamy consistency. If your puree is too think, add some formula, breast milk, or water to get the desired creaminess. Now would be a good time to add other purees that you have on hand or have already made in order to mix flavors. I added a tiny pat of butter and a mini-dash of seasonings to mine.
Gently spoon out your finished puree into the tupperware containers, or washed and dried baby food jars. You can also spoon the purees into ice cube containers and freeze your "cubes" of food.
Also, you little piggy, clean up your mess when you're done :) And make sure you're not a horrible mother and operate the food processor when your baby is in the highchair looking on. You might irrevocably scar him with the loud noises.