Total Pageviews

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Homemade baby food

First of all, I'd like to point out something.  My blog has officially surpassed 10,000 views!

Ok, now at least half those are probably just me being all nerdy and rereading past posts... but that means other people are actually reading this too!  And that's pretty cool.  I hope you're enjoying it.

And on to today's post.  I've gotten several requests to share my strategy/system for creating baby food. Q does eat jarred baby food, but there's not much of a selection available here in Egypt, so I mainly stick with food I've made for him.  It does take a little bit of planning and prep, but I like the flexibility it gives me for introducing him to new foods and expanding his palate.

It's really a pretty simple process, buy produce, cut it up, cook it, smash it and then freeze in ice cube trays.

Right now there are about 6 large bags in my freezer filled with little colored cubes, like this.

In fact at the moment, my freezer contains, sweet potatoes, applesauce, green beans, peas, lentils, chicken, zucchini and broccoli.  

And last night I added carrots and white potatoes.  The carrots were a refill, because he loves them and I ran out.  The white potatoes are a new addition to our lineup.

The first thing I would suggest if you're planning on creating your own baby food is to start small. Mainly because if you're anything like me, you don't have all that many ice cube trays, or freezer space.  Nor do you really want to spend an entire day of your weekend making baby food.

So here are the steps with some more detail:

1.  Buy some fresh produce.  If you're just starting out with this process stick with something that's easy to prep, or that your baby loves.  Carrots are super easy, so is zucchini.  Your goal is to buy enough to fill the ice cube trays you have.  I have 5 trays, so yesterday when I made carrots and potatoes, I made about 10 carrots and 5 big potatoes.  

2.  Wash, peel and slice your produce.  My typical wash process starts by dumping all my produce together into a sink filled with water, and then I add about half a cup of white vinegar. A simple and easy disinfection that doesn't taint the taste of the food.  Don't worry about fancy cutting, or making things uniform.  You're just aiming to get things to a size that will fit easily in your pot and then your blender or food processor. (Side note here, if you don't already know which foods you should peel or not, look it up!)  Wholesome Baby Food has been my go to reference on this subject. Some foods have very tough exteriors that aren't right for a young baby's sensitive stomach, or the peels may not be clean enough for a baby to eat, like apples, and others will lose all their nutrients without the peel, like zucchini.

Here's a quick cheat sheet of the foods I use most often:


Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes (You can technically leave these on if you clean them super well)

Don't Peel

Green Beans (but do snap the ends off)

3.  Now it's time to cook the produce.  For tender vegetable, I usually use a steam tray in a pot with a little bit of water.  Think, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, peas, asparagus.  You want to steam them a bit more than you would for when you make them for yourself.  So they shouldn't be crisp anymore, you should be able to easily smoosh them with a fork.  If there's any water left in the bottom of the pot, save it!

For root or harder veggies, I usually boil in water.  Think potatoes, carrots, apples.  This is also my method for grains and meat. Again, you want them soft, but since they're floating in water you don't want to boil them too long or they start to disintegrate.  Save the water!

4.  Now it's time to mash everything up.  There's several ways of going about this, from a potato masher, a food processor, even some very fancy baby food making stations.  I just use my blender.  It's the easiest way I've found to get everything at a uniform texture.  As Q gets older and we want to start leaving things a bit lumpier, I'll probably switch to my food processor, and then just mash stuff with a fork.  This is where that saved water comes in handy.  It helps in 2 ways.  To make it easier to blend, and by adding some of the nutrients that might have been stripped in the cooking process back into your veggies.  If you're not sure how much you need, just add a little at a time till you find the right consistency.  Also as your baby gets older, this is the time to start adding spices to your food.  I've recently started adding thyme, oregano and onion powder to some of the veggies I make.  No need for salt or sugar ever!

5.  The last step is to scoop the veggies into your ice trays (make sure you clean them inside and on the bottom, since you'll probably be stacking)  and then pop them in the freezer.

They typically take a few hours to freeze, so if I'm really gung ho to make a lot of baby food in one day, I'll start in the morning, wait a few hours, and crack this batch into plastic bags, then start with my next batch.  If this is a long term solution you like, it is a good idea to label your bags and date them.  We've only got a few months left in Cairo, so I'm not worried about it.

And here's my favorite part of the whole system... When we get Q's diaper bag ready each day, this is where we put his lunch together.  He's 9 1/2 months old, so I usually send 3 cubes with him each day.  They can microwave them in the nursery for about a minute, mix and serve.  Today he has lentils, sweet potato and applesauce.

He loves applesauce and sweet potato, but isn't that into lentils or chicken.  If they're mixed with the stuff he does like, he'll eat them anyway.  It's super sneaky and a great way to make sure he's trying new things, and getting all the nutrients he needs.

So that's it, that's my homemade baby food system.  Right now I mainly focus on vegetables, since fruits are very seasonal in Egypt.  Most of the time I can't find the fruit I want.

But when it comes to fruit remember it just needs to be ripe, then you peel it, and mash it up.  The only fruit I cook is apples, to make applesauce.


Mangos (can't wait for these to come back into season so Q can try!)

Hope this was helpful for those wanting to give it a try!  It's a nice sense of pride when your baby is humming with happiness as they nosh on food you made for them.    

1 comment:

  1. These are the great blogs; I assure you that I really enjoyed a lot in reading.

    auto spare parts dubai