Making your own baby food is great way to ensure your baby is eating the freshest locally grown fruits and vegetables. It is quite simple to do and before you know it you’ll have a freezer stocked with your local bounty.
Once your pediatrician has suggested it’s time to introduce solid foods, which is usually around 6 months of age, you’ll want to determine which foods to start with. Common first foods are carrots, apples and sweet potatoes. Here’s a list of suggested first foods. After your baby has been eating solid foods for a few months you may want to try introducing some other foods such as, broccoli, avocados and cauliflower. Here’s a printable food chart for your baby’s first year.
Three basic ways to prepare baby food:
Certain produce tends to respond better to steaming, such as apples, pears broccoli, and plums. Put an inch or so of water in a pot, add in the produce, cover and steam until soft.
Utilizing your oven to roast is a good method for cooking carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets. Chop food into small/medium pieces, or roast whole in an oven at 325 degrees.
Foods like bananas & avocados are perfect in their raw state. Once ripe, just mash with a potato masher. For a smoother consistency you can puree with a blender or an immersion blender.
Here’s how to make a basic carrot puree for your baby
- Rinse carrots in water.
- There’s no need to peel carrots, especially if you are using organic carrots. The vast majority of the nutrients in carrots are contained in the peel! Find out more about whether or not to peel produce for your baby here.
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Slice the carrots into strips.
- Place the carrots in foil and wrap them up, creating a foil pocket for the carrots to cook in.
- Place your foil pockets on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.
- Cook until the carrots are soft. (45-50 minutes)
- Place the cooked carrots into a large bowl and use a immersion blender to puree, add water as needed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a food processor or blender.
- Once the puree is smooth spoon into 4 ounce jars, top with lids and freeze.
- Here’s more recipes for carrot baby food.
Here’s how to make a basic broccoli puree for your baby
- Rinse broccoli in water.
- Cut broccoli florets into similar sizes.
- Fill a medium pot with about an inch of water.
- Add broccoli to pot and cover.
- Simmer broccoli until soft and bright green. (5 minutes)
- Add broccoli to a large bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Use an immersion blender to puree, add cooking liquid as needed.
- Once puree is smooth spoon into 4 ounce jars, top with lids and freeze.
- Here’s more recipes for broccoli baby food.
- Do not overfill jars when freezing. Allow enough headspace for the expansion of your product. Read our post about how to freeze in jars for more important tips.
- Do NOT try to microwave a frozen jar. Thaw jars in the fridge or on the counter, if you are able to monitor them.
- Use jars that are appropriate for freezing food. Jars that do not have shoulders are the easiest because the contents can expand upward in the jar during freezing.
- We recommend the 4 ounce Regular Mouth Tapered Jars, or Ball’s 4 ounce Quilted Crystal. However, you could also use our 2 or 4 ounce Straight-Sided Jars. We’ve pictured both the Tapered and Straight-Sided jar styles below.
- If you’ve been blessed with multiples and wish to freeze in larger volumes to split after thawing, the 8 ounce Widemouth Jars would work well and they’d stack nicely in the freezer.
Pictured from left to right – 4oz Regular Mouth Tapered Jars 70G CT, 4oz Straight-Sided 58CT
Want to learn more about making your own baby food? Here’s a great resource for baby food recipes.