Who Needs the Stuff in Jars? 6 Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

By Ebony Porter, October 19, 2015, Recipes

When your baby begins the journey into the world of solid foods, this turning point is exciting for you as a parent. It’s also nerve-wracking, as you’re responsible for laying the nutritional foundation that could shape your kid’s eating habits for the rest of his or her life.

Who Needs the Stuff in Jars? 6 Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

“What do you expect? I can’t actually feed myself now, can I?

Thankfully, making your own baby food is easy, and the time it takes is well worth it. Even for working moms and dads, you’ll discover that preparing your baby’s food for just a few hours each weekend will provide food for the entire week.

We don’t recommend cooking baby’s food on the grill, in the microwave, in a fryer, or in a pressure cooker. Too many nutrients are lost, and cooking on a grill creates char that isn’t good for baby. It’s also advisable to cook all fruits you’ll give your baby, with bananas and avocados as the lone two exceptions.

Skip the jars of baby food on your next grocery shop, and head straight for the organic veggie and fruit section. Let’s get started!

Three Methods of Cooking Food

If you include making your baby’s food into your main meal preparation, it will soon become second nature. Try any or all of these methods!

1) Roasting

Roasting is one way to turn hard root vegetables and fruits into soft palatable food for your wee one.

  • Peel and de-seed vegetables or fruits first.
  • Brush vegetables with olive oil and dash with salt.
  • Place food on a single layer on a roasting pan.
  • You can start them at 350 °F and roast for 15 minutes, depending on what you’re roasting. Pears will roast quicker than sweet potatoes, for example.
  • Use a butter knife to determine if the fruit or vegetable is soft enough to move onto the puree stage.

2) Steaming

Who Needs the Stuff in Jars? 6 Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

Broccoli. Perfect for the steamer – and full of nutrients for your baby.

Steaming is another way to ensure all nutrients and vitamins stay intact.

  • Again, peel and de-core your fruit and cut into slices.
  • Steam for 8-10 minutes until fruit is super soft and will mash beneath the pressure of a fork.

Broccoli and spinach are great veggies to cook via steaming.

3) Boiling and Stewing

Boiling and stewing are similar methods in that they both use water in a pot on a stove top to cook the fruit or vegetable. Each method, however, requires a different water level.

Stewing is typically reserved for fruits.

  • Place washed, peeled, and de-cored fruit slices into a medium saucepan and fill with 2 inches of filtered water.
  • Cover and place on stove top on medium heat.
  • Stew for 7-9 minutes until fruit is soft to the point of falling apart.

Boiling is great for veggies.

  • Wash, peel and cube your vegetable of choice, and place into a medium sized saucepan filled 3 inches from the top with water.
  • Feel free to season your water with a dash of salt.
  • Bring pot to a rapid boil, and then lower heat to a gentle boil for 6-8 minutes.
  • When a knife easily drives through the vegetable, it is ready to be pureed.

Three Methods for Preparing the Puree

Since we are focused on baby foods, everything needs to be prepared for their little palettes to ensure they can easily eat and digest what is given them.

1) Food Processor or Blender

Who Needs the Stuff in Jars? 6 Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

Why get lots of dishes dirty? Just blend up your baby’s food in the same pot you used for steaming or boiling!

A food processor makes it easy to puree a lot of food at one time. If you are preparing baby’s food for the entire week, consider using a food processor and then pressing food into ice cube trays for the freezer. When it’s time for baby’s lunch or dinner, simple pop a few out, and warm to her liking.

Blenders also work well, as do hand immersion blenders. When working with pumpkins and squash, make sure those long stringy veins are blended up well.

2) Push Through a Sieve

A sieve is a fine wire metal strainer that ensures whatever goes through it comes out the other end super fine. Place cooked fruits or vegetables into the sieve, and push the food through with the back of a large metal spoon. It’s more laborious than using a food processor, but it makes absolutely sure the food is silky and smooth enough for baby.

3) An Old Fashioned Fork

Camping? Prefer going old-school or don’t want to buy a new appliance? Reach for a fork! Get to mashing really well, and make sure there are absolutely no lumps in the food.

If any of these methods leave your food seeming overly dry or too thick, add breast milk, formula, organic non-salted butter, or coconut oil to smooth and loosen it up. All of these give baby the good fats they need for growing brains and bodies. Shy away from using water.

Are any of our readers pros at preparing homemade baby food? Please give us your suggestions and tried-and-true tips in the comments!

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