Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby Food Doesn't Necessarily Come From a Jar. . . .

I'm not sure where I got this idea, but at some point I decided that I needed to make baby food for the babies. There are three reasons for this: (1) I know what's going in their food; (2) it's cheaper than buying commercial baby food; and (3) babies that eat "homemade" baby food instead of commercial baby food purportedly are less likely to be picky eaters because they've been exposed to real food from the beginning.

So, I bought this book called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron, and I spend a lot of time on a baby food website learning more. The babies started out with cereal, and have since also had avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, winter squash, pears, and green beans. Next up is oatmeal, peaches, and peas. So far, the babies haven't absolutely hated anything, though green beans are definitely not a favorite. We have 5 days in between each new food so that we can watch out for food allergies, and so far we haven't had any allergic reactions to the food. I have been very pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make baby food, and to store and serve it.

First, I start out with fresh (organic if possible) foods. . . .





Then I get the food ready to be cooked (if cooking is necessary). It is a testament to how much I love my kids that I actually snapped green beans for them. . . .



Then I cook the food, preferably by baking or steaming (boiling releases too many nutrients into the water).



I think that my winter squash baked up particularly nice. . . .



Then, after everything is cooked and ready to go, I puree it (and as the babies get older, I will make the food more chunky). I've recently found that the best way to get the baby food very smooth is to use a food processor THEN an immersion blender to smooth out little lumps.



After the baby food is the correct consistency, I then spoon it into ice cube trays for freezing. One ice cube is approximately 2 tablespoons, or one ounce, which is a serving size of baby food. Here are green beans and winter squash in ice cube trays:





After the baby food freezes overnight, I pop the cubes out and put them in ziploc bags labeled with the type of food, date I made it, and the date it expires. Most baby food lasts 2 months in the freezer, but some lasts 3 months, and some (like pears) even last a year.



Recently I've been keeping up with how much the baby food I make actually costs us. I made green beans for 8 cents an ounce, and pears for 7 cents an ounce. Peaches were more expensive at around 20 cents an ounce, but that's probably because they are out of season right now. If I had bought Gerber organic baby food, I'd be paying around 30-40 cents an ounce, so we're able to feed all three babies for as much or less than we could feed one baby. Clearly I'm not factoring in my hourly billing rate in making the baby food. . . . It does take time, but it's fun and I think the benefits far outweigh the time investment.

8 comments:

Amanda said...

It's about time you gave in and started a food blog :-)

Marissa said...

alright, you officially get the Best Mother of the Year award!! I hated spending all the $$ on store bought baby food, but I just couldn't manage the time/mess to do it myself. And here you are doing it for three AND you work on top of that!! You are seriously my hero! :)

Kate Garrett said...

Heather,
I have spent the morning looking through your blog while I'm at home on bedrest. Your babies are absolutely beautiful! I love the videos. I'm praying that I'll make it to thirty weeks or more just like you did.

Jen said...

Wow...I am very impressed that you are making baby food!!! ...and the color looks so much better than store bought baby food.

I agree with Amanda...you should finally give in and join the food blogging world!

Peggy said...

I am amazed at how organized you are. You are doing a great job and those green beans look tasty!

Ricky T. said...

Are you for hire? We might could use you in a few months. Any tips/tricks on duck taping a pacifier in a babies mouth? =)

Heather Lee said...

I was thinking my food-blogging friends would like this post!! The only way I will join a real food blog is if I can puree it for the babies, because I don't think I have any more time in the day!

Kate ~ I'm glad you're enjoying the blog and way to go on making it through another week!

Ricky ~ I'd love to share some baby food with you in a few months! :) As far as the paci, duct tape really worked the best for us. . . . Now that Henry can usually keep the paci in, I'm just waiting for the day that he can successfully put the paci in his own mouth! Hang in there. These hard first few months pass quickly (unless you're living it at the time).

Cathy said...

I think if you took those ice cube trays outdoors in the optimal 4 p.m. natural light, and maybe set them next to a couple of pine cones or put a swig of rosemary on them, we'd really get the essence of the food. But since you are new to food blogging, we'll cut you a little slack in the styling department. Seriously, I think this is such a great thing that you are doing! The babies are getting the best food, you know exactly what is in it, and you save some money to boot! You should write a book!