Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Baby Food

I sound like a broken record when I recount how cheap The Good Husband is, but it is true. I am lucky he doesn't turn 2 ply toilet paper into 1 ply to save money. I would divorce him then.

So along with cloth diapering, breastfeeding and getting most of The Good Baby's clothes from yard sales, we decided to make most of TGB's food.

The first thing I did was buy Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby by Annabel Karmel. I really like this book. It has all the recipes broken down by age. There are some funny recipes in there for dinners like "My First Fish Puree" and "Pasta with Butternut Squash, Tomato and Cheese". Not meals you generally think of for babies, but I like the author's idea that babies don't have to eat bland foods.

In fact, we are tying to expose TGB to a wide range of foods.

We are tying to limit TGB's exposure to chemicals in every way possible. The biggest factor being what she consumes. So we are trying to buy as much of her food organic if possible.

It isn't easy. There are a lot of foods I just can't find organic. When was the last time you saw an organic parsnip? So without the aid of the Farmer's Market and using The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, as a guide, I have decided to make all of TGB's food at home and for super cheap.

Here is just a sample of what I have made so far:

The Veggies

From left to right: back row -Sweet Potato, Corn, Carrot, Cauliflower. front row - Green Beans, Parsnip, Broccoli

The Fruits
From left to right: Pear, Peach, Apple, Blackberry
Not pictured: Zucchini, Apricot, Rutabaga, Spinach, Butternut Squash
(This picture strikes me as some work of modern art. It has to be the lighting.)

Making your own baby food has several benefits.

First, I can control the quality. As I mentioned, we tried to get all organic produce.

Secondly, it is cheaper.

Consider, I can buy one jar of organic baby food on sale for $1. Right now, that is two servings for TGB. For $2, I can buy a bag of frozen corn on sale and that will produce about 2 ice cube trays of corn puree, or 14 2 once servings. So it costs $0.14 for one serving of homemade baby food, versus $0.50 for organic jarred.

That alone should be reason enough to make your own.

But making your own baby food also produces less waste, since you don't have to have multiple single use jars lying around. You could make cute Halloween decor with them, but still, most people just recycle them.

Making your own baby food is also super easy. Basically all you have to do is steam and puree all the foods and freeze. Fruits like peaches and blackberries, you can just puree directly from the frozen and then refreeze. I use ice cube trays to freeze them and each cube is about one once.

You can also experiment with several foods. I noticed that veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini didn't seem to be popular baby foods. Either was parsnips or rutabagas. But now I can make my own and TGB can eat a wider range of foods.

She loves peas and carrots and all the root veggies, so far, so I am a happy Good Wife.

So for anyone looking to either save money or control the quality of food your baby consumes, I would recommend making your own baby food.


heidandmatt said...

Great post!!! Healthier & cheaper--it is is a win-win. Do you use the Babycook? How do you make the food--just steam it? How do you thaw it?

The Good Wife said...

I use a metal steamer basket in a pot on the stove to steam the veggies and then just throw them in the regular blender.

Most of the food will puree on it's own but some times I do have to add some of the cooking liquid.

I heat the cube ups in the microwave for 45-55 second and they "melt" but don't get too hot for TGB.