I knew I was going to make my daughter’s baby food from the very beginning. Surprisingly, the money that I would be saving my family was not the reason why. I decided I had to know exactly what I was feeding my daughter and how it was being prepared. So, making it myself was the only option. It was not until after, that I started realizing how much money I was saving.
To put it in perspective, a typical non-organic jar of baby food will cost you around $0.50. But, when I buy a fresh bag of baby carrots, I usually spend $1. From my experience, I would say a bag of carrots makes, what is equivalent to, around 15 jars of baby food. That means that the homemade baby food would cost you $0.07 a jar. For arguments sake, if you fed your child 3 jars of baby food a day, from the age of 6 months to 1 year (182 days), that would be about 547 jars. At $0.50 a jar, that would cost you about $274. Or, you could make it yourself and would be spending about $38. That’s a huge difference.
In order to make your own baby food, you will have to make sure you have the right tools for the job. First, you will need an appliance to blend the food. Either a food processor, hand crank food mill, blender, or a good old-fashion fork will do the job. I personally chose to purchase a food processor. It was a little of an investment, but I was already been thinking about getting one and this solidified my need for it. Then, you will need a few ice cube trays and some zip lock freezer bags. I found these at my local dollar store.
Equipment, check! Ok, lets get cooking. Based on the type of food, the cooking process will be different. Most vegetables and fruit can be softened by steaming or boiling on the stove top. Make sure to always wash all produce thoroughly. A Vinegar and water bath is cheap and does the trick Squashes can be a little tricky, but all you need to do is poke holes in the skin and bake until soft. Some foods do not require any cooking at all, like avocados and bananas. Just simply mash and serve right away.
After your baby food cools, blend until you get a smooth texture. I always found it convenient to serve whatever I was making right away as my daughter’s next meal. Then, I would store a small portion in the fridge for the next day or two. Everything left was frozen. The freezing process is very simple. Spoon the food into the ice cube tray and pop in the freezer. Once the food is frozen transfer into ziplock freezer bags. Make sure you label the bag with the date and what food it contains. When its time to use, re-heat cubes in the microwave and serve.
*Once your child is able to chew, you don’t have to stop making specific meals for them. I just started making, what I called, frozen toddler meals. Her favorite is my homemade mac and cheese with peas or ham. They are so convenient to have in the freezer. I always know that my daughter has a homemade healthy alternative. Every few weeks, I cook a few meals in bulk and freeze in meal size portions. A lot of my meal options include three different food groups to ensure a balanced diet. They also come in handy when traveling to visit friends or family. I can easily grab one out of the freezer and have a homemade nutritious meal anywhere. This process is not only saving my family lots of money, but it is also saving my daughter from eating lots of preservatives.