When my partner and I decided to start a family one of the first things we talked about was baby food being made at home or store bought. It wasn’t even a debate we both obviously choose to do the at home route. Sure it did require more work than grabbing a jar and opening and heating it. You had to plan ahead, prep the food, cook it and blend/puree it for your little human. BUT, It was a lot cheaper and healthier than the store made/brand made. Did you know we bought a jar of baby food approximately April or May of 2020 and and it expires the following year. That does not feel right for us to be feeding whatever substance was in there but we couldn’t complain about the convenience so through we would have a few jars on hand just in case we had a situation where we needed to give him food.
Homemade experience for me has to be fair, been pretty great. Before I had moved to Quebec I worked as a Residential Councillor Assistant. Where I worked in homes with adults who have difficulties ranging from mental to physical. I had to puree some of my clients foods there so when I thought about doing it at home It really wasn’t that hard as long as you unstuck the blades and have patience to not completely water down the food before it is fully pureed!
Making homemade baby food seems easy. And even though it does take time it really is easy! We started with carrots and sweet potatoes with our son. Then we moved on to peas and green beans and green peppers as well. We never added meat til he was a bit older. He loved veggies, Oh and we also did squash and turnip too! But depending on how those are mixed he isn’t always a fan! When I cook things I made sure to over cook them. Remember from a previous blog I don’t really eat a lot of fruits or veggies HOWEVER this is something I do know by looking how cooked they are or how they should feel. A friend of mine said their doctor said also if the veggie is green to use the water from it to puree, however if it was orange or whatever else color to throw it away. We followed this advice too. We never puree mixed veggies together as we like to mix and match cubes for his meals and if we were to put say squash and turnip together that would be weird having to use those cubes all the time. We also use the same trays so that way it really can help when measuring and figuring out if he is eating the same amount to add another cube or not too.
Pureeing meat can be tough, Again based on my previous job I was doing this quite frequently but to my boyfriend who never really seen it before he described it looking like cat food. When a friend of mine was telling me about how to make baby food, she suggested that to do chicken breasts or say stew beef in a crock pot. Add some stock with it and put it on for the day. The juices help when pureeing and it also makes the meat very tender so you can blend it quite easily.
Thankfully, with Covid we don’t go anywhere so my experience with store baby food is limited. When covid was low here and travel wasn’t frowned upon, we went to visit and introduce our son to my partners parents. They live about 2.5 hours away. Sure, we could have fitted out a small cooler for the ice cubes. Instead we thought for the obvious convince why not bring a jar. I’m not even sure if he was old enough for protein yet! Lunch time came around to prep his food. The instructions were simple enough. Just put in a bowl, heat, serve. Do not heat in jar as it heats unevenly. I went to dump the jar into his bowl and whoa, It was so watery I’m not sure how people give it to their babies. It was for sure smooth but I have no idea how parents give it when the “sauce” barely stays on the spoon. It was so close to water my boyfriend even asked if I added too much when I jokingly said “No, no.. This is straight from the jar”. For convenience, sure, but anything else I feel like it was just not the quality, texture, or thickness that I would like to give my son or future kids either. Not to mention I think it is about a dollar a jar. This means if you give your child (as they grow) a jar or a few a day, it will become super costly. Not including biscuits or other purees or snacks that you give to your ever growing child.
Also before closing, if time is something you are worried about, don’t be! Friends of ours whose son is 2 months older than my son are simply pureeing food they eat for supper. Which essentially just a few moments at dinner times to prepare. My boyfriend and I eat at weird times and you all know my eating habits. Thankfully my partner has a lot better food habits than myself but with his job and or time we still do cubes. I make different cubes all at once over a weekend and it typically lasts for the month or so depending how much of a particular fruit or veggie we get. Remember once froen the cubes can last about 3 months too. Though I have never had them stay in there that long, we normally used them up.
Few tips I would suggest is:
– If you have a blender, you wont need to go get a food processor. A blender is what we used and it works fine. Just do not over fill as it will be harder to get the texture you want because you will always be pushing the chunks to the bottom.
– Add water SLOWLY, Once you add too much water it is hard to go back. So add it slowly to not over add.
– Things like blueberries, strawberries, cooked green peppers will not likely require much water if any because they are so watery. You just might need to stir a bit more to move the chunks around.
– If it is a green vegetable, keep the water from it to use to mix things a bit smoother.
– Also if possible, get ice cube trays that are the same size (or super close) so that way you can judge if your child is eating more or less of something.
Other than that, I would suggest just trying it out and seeing! If someone was to ask me which I would say to do, hands down making baby food at home is the best thing, for multiple reasons. Sure, it may take longer then opening a jar, but in the end it is totally worth it!