Thursday, December 27, 2007

Homemade Baby Food

Why would I ever bother making my own baby food rather than buying the pre-made stuff in a jar? After all, nowadays the only two ingredients listed on the jar is Carrots and Water. No preservatives, no artificial coloring, nada. So, why would I have just spent the last hour and a half steaming, chopping, pureeing and freezing?

Because I'm weird like that.

But really, it's just something I resolved months ago that I wanted to do. The fact is that I love to cook. I love spending time in the kitchen and there's something satisfying about saying that I make my baby's food. I don't sew. I don't quilt. I don't paint. But, the one thing I do is cook. Granted, running veggies through a food processor doesn't take any culinary prowess, but for now, Henry can't exactly appreciate anything more complex. His time will come.

And beyond that...I am a total cheapskate. I hate paying full price for anything and I especially hate paying exorbinant prices for something I can do myself. In case you haven't bought it in a while: baby food is expensive! It's not that we can't "afford"'s more on the principal of the matter.

Step 1: Peel and chop veggies. Boil. Save water.

Step 2: Using a slotted spoon, scoop veggies into food processor. Puree. Add water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Step 4: Spoon into ice cube trays. Each cube is approx. 1 ounce. These trays have silicone bottoms to make popping them out easier!

Notice how much Sweet Potato I got out of 2 potatoes...versus the size of one jar. My potatoes (not on sale) cost $1.94...32 ounces worth!

Regular ice cube trays work too. They're just a little messier. I need to buy more of those silicone ones...we have no ice! Shh, don't tell Andy!

I picked up three little jars at the grocery store in case my experiment failed. Each Stage 1 Beech Nut jar holds 2.5 ounces and cost a whopping $0.69! Granted, I'm sure you can find sales and clip coupons, but for the sake of comparison:

I whipped up the following:

20 ounces Butternut Squash
19 ounces Peas & Carrots
17 ounces Carrots (organic)
32 ounces Sweet Potato
19 ounces Broccoli

That's 107 ounces of baby food...which would be 42.8 little jars (2.5 ounces each) $0.69 a jar I would have paid $29.53!!! My food bill: $8.43. Basically, as long as you can get your food for less than $4.41/lb., you're saving money. But there's your time Jeannett...that's gotta count for something?? Yes, that's true. But I did it all in about an hour and a half. And remember, this is my first time at it, so I'm guessing next time will be a bit less. Also, this is probably a couple week's worth of I don't have to do it again for a while. Not to mention I just really like being in the kitchen. So, my time, while valuable, is well spent in this case.

Once frozen (about 24 hours), I'll pop the food cubes into labeled freezer bags. Then, I just pull a couple cubes out each time Hen needs to eat! Easy enough!


Kristen said...

I made baby food for all three of my kids. It was super easy and I enjoyed doing it. I used these really neat cubes that had snap lids to store my food. I found them when I was on baby #2. I got them from One Step Ahead - they are called jumbo baby cubes. They worked great and made it easier to transport the food if we were going to be out and about for the afternoon or evening.

Kristen said...

PS Way to go on making all that food. You have got a great start for Henry! YEAH!

K said...

BRILLIANT...I love it! Hope you don't mind, but I'm soooo stealing this from you when my critter shows up. Gotta save pennies any way we can, and this is perfect and convenient and healthy. Go're like supermom over there :)

Kate said...

good job jeannett! i think this is so wise and so good for Henry. You are such a good mommy!

Rachel said...

I do this too with all the veggies. I make it one step easier. If I am making butternut squash, we all have baked squash with dinner, or a squash soup, then I dump Ainsley's in the blender and go at it. No extra prep time. I never ate butternut squash or sweet potatoes before I was a mom, but I wanted to continue to give my kiddos these yummy veggies so I just added them to the whole families diet.

I only have two ice cube trays, so I only make up to two things at once, and I have never let Ainsley go hungry.

Here are a few other easy ones. Buy Libby's canned pumpkin put it in trays and your done. I serve bananas straight from the skin, ans i buy unsugared applesauce to always have a fruit on hand. I also do a lot of veggies from fresh frozen bags. The prep is already done for you.

Oh, and be careful with broccoli, it is really gassy and you may be stuck with a fussy baby. Long comment, sorry!

Jeannett Gibson said...

I'll definately be pureeing veggies from our dinner meals, but since he goes to daycare, I have to plan ahead and be super organized about it all. I probably wouldn't do such big batches otherwise, but I know that if I don't, I'll find myself out of food and using jar stuff.

Working full time + being "granola" = being VERY organized

lindsey cheney said...

i did this for gracie, but quickly gave up. you made it seem so much easier. i'll give it a try again. i also tried soy beans,but couln't get the consistency quite right. oh yeah, henry's allergic to soy.

sarah said...

That's great! If you figure you saved $21 and then divide that by an hour and a half of your time, it's like you're paying yourself approx. $14/hour to make food. Plus it's something you enjoy!

Besides, even if the ingredients in store bought baby food really ARE only carrots and water (for example) there is still something so comforting about making your own food. After all, you can never really, truly be sure how your food is handled/prepared, etc.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Yes, it is true you can never be quite sure how food is prepared...and then there's the fact that the FDA allows a certain number of insect legs and rat parts and still be okay for human consumption! We all eat it in our normal food and while I know I can't protect Henry from everything, I'm being more diligent as his digestive systems are still developing...once he's a grown up, he can eat McDonald's to his heart's content! :)

Marcia Fiedorowicz said...

I made food for my kiddo's. It was a lot of fun. I didn't use the ice cube trays. That's an awesome idea! Smart gal, you are!

Kristen Borland said...

good job!

Joyful Weddings & Events said...

I am highly impressed and inspired! What have you found is the best way to defrost them?

Jeannett Gibson said...

I just pull a few cubes of each food I plan on feeding him the night before and leaving them in the fridge overnight...I bought those Take n Toss bowls with lids...they're brightly colored and make sippy cups well. You could probably defrost in the microwave in a pinch.