So, here’s how you do it! This page can be one you just bookmark and use it as you need it. If you try to read it all now, it’s overwhelming. Don’t do it! Just read it as you need it or as you need new ideas! You only have to cook one thing every couple of days, so ease into this at your own pace!
These are the foods we use, mostly in the order we use them.
1) Butternut squash
2) Sweet Potatoes
8) Acorn squash
9) Spaghetti squash
14) Green beans*
16) Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
19) Roast beef
*These foods are the leafy vegetables and they puree best with a root vegetable. So, once you know your baby isn’t allergic to butternut squash, sweet potato or acorn squash, puree them in with one of those. Then you can customize other combinations after you know these foods are safe.
And the list goes on. Kids can eat whatever fruits and veggies we do, so you can do whatever you want to. I started with butternut squash because a baby food book I read started with that. I agree that it or sweet potatoes should be first because they puree so well. These are sort of my “base”, if you will, for the rest of the mixes. Once you know that your kiddo isn’t allergic to any of the foods you try, you can mix any of them you like.
So, now I’ll go into how to make them all. Just read this as you need it. It’s a resource for you; that’s why it’s on a blog for you to refer to again and again.
Butternut squash can be baked or boiled. I tried to peel it, cube and boil it, but it’s very difficult to do. However, I do think that it purees better this way. So, peel the butternut squash (use a serrated peeler…you’ll thank me later), cut it into cubes, discard the seeds and put carefully put those cubes in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. You should be able to stick a form in the cubes and it will be very soft. You can also bake a butternut squash, which is easier for me because it bakes while I watch other kiddos. If you choose this method, cut it in half on the long side, scoop out the seeds and fill the cavity left from the seeds with water. Put it in a pre-heated oven in a 9 by 13 pan and bake for about an hour and a half at 350°. Scoop out the flesh of the squash into the blender, add a little water and blend until very smooth. This should be about the consistency of pulp-free orange juice or a smoothie. As your baby gets older, you can make it thicker by adding less water.
Wash the potato(es). Cut the ends off, peel and cube. Add them to a pot of boiling water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Separate them from the water using a slotted spoon. Save the water, add the cubes to the blender and add a little bit of the water you boiled the potatoes in. Blend. If the potatoes are too thick, add a little more water and repeat until they’re the correct texture.
Add water about an inch deep in a medium pot. While that water boils, add the spinach to a vegetable steamer and put it in the medium pot. Cover and let the spinach steam for about seven minutes.
Pears, apples, berries:
For fruits with “skin”, you can either peel them or not. I peeled them all first, then found that it was easier (and better for nutrition) to leave the skin on. Cube the fruit into pieces that are a little bit bigger than a sugar cube. Add the pieces to a small saucepan and add water to just over the fruit. Bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Fruits absorb much more water than the vegetables do, so take the pieces out of the water using a slotted spoon and add to a blender. Don’t add any water until you see how the fruit purees. Add water if necessary. These textures are new to kids, so don’t be concerned if they don’t like it at first.
Mangoes and Peaches:
These are a little trickier to do, but well worth it. Mangoes and peaches have to be peeled and pitted, then cut up and simmered in a small amount of water until soft. Blend them first, then add water as needed in order to get them to the proper consistency. These puree very well, so if you’re combining fruits, you can use this as your “base”
You can peel these or not. No matter what, wash all food well before steaming, boiling or baking. I usually peel half of these and leave the other half alone. Cut the ends off and slice these about half an inch thick, like a cucumber in a salad. Add these to a steamer in a pot of boiling water that’s about an inch deep. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes. Blend to puree, adding water as necessary until they’re smooth and free of chunks.
Wash well. Cut off the leaves and ends. Peel well. Slice these up and steam according to directions in spinach and zucchini. Blend and add water as needed until they’re pureed well and free of chunks.
Bake this as you would a butternut squash.
Use fresh chicken rather than frozen. Trim and cube the chicken. Add to a large pot of boiling water and allow to boil for fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s best here to shred the chicken if possible. Either with forks, a standing mixer, however you can. Add to other vegetables and add some water. Puree and add water as necessary. Pay close attention to the consistency here. You need to fork through or spoon through before freezing to make absolutely sure there are no chunks in this food. You can also allow this to cook in a crock pot during the day instead of boiling it.
This is one that you can cook however you usually cook. I chose to cook this one in the oven, allowing it to bake according to a recipe with just water. Shred it if possible and puree with other vegetables.
Green Beans, Broccoli, Asparagus:
Wash all vegetables well. I use fresh green beans and simply chop off the ends. Trim broccoli and asparagus. I then steam them in a vegetable steamer for about ten minutes, until they’re soft and flexible. Then add them to a blender with another root vegetable.
These are possibly my favorites! You don’t have to cook them or freeze them! For these, I just buy them at the store, make sure they’re soft and ripe and mash them with a fork or blend them. I usually add some water to these to make sure that they puree well. So far, these have been some great additions to our kids diets!
Rice/Pasta: Cook according to package directions and add to meal of choice in blender. Check the label to ensure that these can be frozen.
Turkey: I usually buy a whole turkey breast, which bakes well. Honestly, I just add some water, cover it with foil and bake it until my meat thermometer says it’s done. I cut it up finely, and use the water from this in the blender.
On a separate note, once we get our kids used to eating foods, we add yogurt to their morning routine. I love this part because it’s all berries and fresh goodness! I start with a plain, full fat yogurt. The labels on yogurt are deceptive, so be sure to read them well. No honey or vanilla flavoring allowed! You can use Greek yogurt for the added protein, but it’s not necessary. Start with a fruit you’ve already safely tried (and you know your babe isn’t allergic to), blended in to the yogurt. Blueberries are good here. You can simmer them in water or add them fresh. That way, you’ll know if you baby is going to have a reaction to the yogurt that it’s the yogurt and not a new fruit you’ve added. Then, you can add more as you go. My kids love this, and I love starting their days off right with foods that are good for them!
This is the 2nd post of 3 in a series about how we made our own baby food for our little ones.
To see the other posts, click the links below…
1) Making Baby Food-Not Only for Granolas
2) Homemade Baby Food-What I Made and How I Made It
3) Homemade Baby Food-An Example Food and Process