When I was pregnant, I remember excitedly talking to another pregnant mom about homemade baby food and how great it would start making baby food at home. A few months after we both became new moms, I brought up the subject of making baby food at home and she told me that she just couldn’t handle the thought of making her son’s food along with everything else that came with caring for a baby.
I totally understand that having a new baby means having your hands full, but there was no convincing her that making homemade baby food is easier than you think! This is the first article showing you the many different ways you can make baby food for your little one at home. By the end of the series, I’m hoping you’ll not only be amazed at the variety of foods you can make for your baby, but also at the variety of ways you can make it!
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If you’re looking for easy baby food recipes, they’re all easy! Just puree and mash individual fruits and vegetables and mix them together. I have more advice coming up in a future article, but, really, you can’t go wrong if you stick with basic fruits and vegetables.
You’ll need a few tools for any method of baby food-making, but you probably already have at least a few of them in your home (you have a fork, right?). I strongly advise you to keep your budget in check before you purchase any specialty supplies for making baby food. After all, one really good reason to make homemade baby food is to save money!
If you do want or need to purchase something, look at the value it might add beyond the baby food years. For example, I have a nice food processor that I used to make baby food, and I still use it all the time for cooking prep and baking! It was an investment, but definitely worth it for the mileage I’ve gotten out of it. On the other hand, if you spring for a Beaba Babycook or other baby food maker you likely won’t use it after your little one starts eating regular table food.
Here are 10 useful tools you can use to make baby food at home:
Basic Tools: How to Cook Homemade Baby Food
- Basic saucepan :: almost every fruit or vegetable you serve to your baby needs to be cooked. A no-frills saucepan with a 1.5 to 2-quart capacity is step #1 in basic baby-food making.
- Slow cooker or Crock Pot :: Slow cookers are perfect for those who “don’t have time” to make baby food at home. Most foods just need to be rinsed and possibly peeled before tossing into the slow cooker. You don’t even need to slice most of them (they’ll just need a longer cooking time). I have this 2.5 quart Crock Pot and it worked wonderfully for baby food.
- Food steamer :: You can definitely use steam to cook everything without a food steamer. At around $40, I understand that this isn’t the cheapest option. I just wanted to share that I used this Oster steamer because it was really nice to set the timer on it and get other things done while letting the steamer do the work. Plus, a steamer one of those appliances that can be used before and after the baby food-making stage.
- Steamer basket :: This is a great companion to your saucepan. Steaming is an incredibly healthy way to cook almost any fruit or vegetable, and you can even steam meat to make it extra tender. I received a food steamer like the one above as a gift, but, at $6, a steamer basket is a much more affordable option!
Basic Tools: How to Mash or Puree Homemade Baby Food:
- Table fork or Potato Masher:: Yes, an everyday table fork is easily the most affordable and accessible tool in this list! A fork is perfect for already-soft foods like bananas and avocados. You can also try using a potato masher or fork to mash cooked foods, but your baby might insist on a totally smooth texture. In that case, you’ll be better off with an electric option like a blender or food processor.
- Food Processor or Blender :: If you don’t have one of these, you probably shouldn’t buy one with the express purpose of making baby food. While it makes the process easier, Either one is a hefty investment when you should be saving money! If you have both of these, the food processor is a better option because is requires a lot less liquid to get a smooth consistency. If you only have a blender, never fear! It will work just fine to make your baby food.
- Immersion Blender :: If you already have an immersion blender or if you were planning on buying one for other purposes, it’s is a fabulous option for making ultra-smooth baby food. The only catch is that you’ll need to add a significant amount of liquid to get it pureed, but your baby might prefer it that way. One other option is to cook the food, add water, blend it with the immersion blender, then keep it on a low heat to let some of the excess water steam off before cooling and storing the baby food.
- Baby food grinder or Food Mill :: While this is a tool that has one specific purpose, a handheld, rotary baby food mill is far more affordable than other options and it’s an easy way to finely mash up baby food. One advantage to a baby food grinder is that you can make any food into baby food “on demand.” If you’re having chicken noodle soup for dinner, you can just run some of the chicken, noodles and vegetables through the grinder on the spot for baby.
Basic Tools: Storing Homemade Baby Food
- Ice cube trays :: If you’re planning on making more than one serving of baby food at a time, then you need a way to store them. Forget the expensive baby “food cubes”. If you want to freeze more than 8 or 10 cubes at a time you’ll end up spending a small fortune on multiple cubes. Go ahead and grab some basic ice cube trays instead; Dollar Tree usually carries two ice cube trays for $1! Pour the pureed food in the trays and pop them in the freezer.
- Zip top freezer bags :: After the baby food frozen in the ice cube trays, run hot water over the bottom and pop the cubes out into a Ziploc freezer bag. You can keep separated by food type or mix them all together. If you only have regular ziplock bags just double-bag the baby food cubes to prevent funky-tasting baby food.
As you can see, you have a lot of options in the methods you can use to make your own baby food. You might not even have to spend a thing, depending on what’s already in your kitchen!
Keep an eye out for more homemade baby food articles!
Have you made homemade baby food? What tools did you use? Are there any that you recommend?