Baby Food 101 Part 2: Where to begin and pureeing in bulk

It’s that time again…

Only this time instead of preparing a meal for one baby, I’ve added a toddler into the mix…oye.

Before I had kids, I figured I would be that good little wife that made everything homemade and make everyone happy. After Boo was born I realized it was harder to home-make everything, and my goals before hand were definitely harder to reach. Then came Sweet Pea and if I’ve even been able sit down and eat that day I consider myself accomplished and amazing…

I’m going to throw this out there and say the thought of making homemade baby food sounds daunting, too much work, and even to some ridiculous. I agree that I’ve thought the same at one point, and if you told me in high school that in the future I would be writing a blog post all about homemade baby food I’d throw my half eaten chili dog at you and laugh in your face.

Today I’m going to share with you how I’ve made it work for me and my family, and the important and helpful things along with making your own baby food! I wrote a few posts about homemade Baby Food when Boo was a baby (sad…she’s no longer one…), so if you want check it out you can HERE!


Decide what and how much baby food you want to make-

Do you want to do a bunch at once or a little at a time?

This was the method I chose because I’m a”let’s get it over with so I don’t have to think about this for a while” kind of person. :)

The idea here is to purchase a larger quantity of each food item that you want to puree, set aside a few hours at home, cook, puree, and have baby food ready for 1-2 months.

With this method, the idea is to take it slow so you don’t overwhelm yourself. It also works great if you are a working mother, or don’t have time to set aside 2 or so hours to puree a bunch of food.

Each week, along with your normal grocery lists, buy 2-3 items in a larger quantity (like 3-4 large sweet potatoes.) During dinner, nap, cleaning the house time, etc., cook that food item, puree it, and store it. You can do one every other day, or twice a week, etc. This will allow your baby food stock to fill up slowly and at your pace!

(Pic on Left: Boo @6 months, Pic of Right: Sweet Pea @ 6 months)

Before going crazy and buying out the produce section, make sure certain foods sit well with your little one. When you are first starting out feeding your baby, you have to introduce foods slowly to make sure there are no allergies, sensitivities, or reactions to certain food types. I would hate it if you pureed tons of sweet potatoes and your baby can’t eat them!

With this, I always buy canned organic baby food! It’s the most wholesome and pure, to me.

Make a list, check it twice, and set aside the time/s that you need to puree the food. I usually do my grocery shopping on Monday, and then that Tuesday I set aside time to puree the food. If I did it all at once on Monday, well..I would have gone cray cray. (crazy…)

Make sure you have the appropriate cooking and storage items! For this you will need:

-Small storage containers with air tight lids (I used the ones above, they were the cheapest I could find @ 3 dollars for 8 containers!)

-a good blender, food processor, or a Magic/Baby Bullet

-Pot with a steamer on top

-labeling stickers

On the day of the food prep, wash and dry all your veggies/fruits. If you are doing it all at once, here is where the prep and planning will be important. If you are baking an item, put that in the oven first so it can cook while you are steaming and pureeing the other items.

Here is how it laid out for me:

As I steamed one item, I prepped the others (such as cutting, peeling, dicing, etc.) Then when one item was done steaming I would dump them in my food processor, turn it on and let it puree. While it was pureeing I would throw the next batch of veggies or whatever into the steamer to be steamed. While it was cooking I would finish pureeing, package it, and label it and set it aside and let it cool, with the lid off.

If you aren’t doing items that involve cooking, like fruit purees, just do them one after another.

Some items may require soaking such as prunes, raisins, dates, or dried beans. Soak everything the night before, or maybe just need a few hours to soak. Remember that in your planning. If the beans need cooking, start their cooking process at the beginning of your plan.

Here are the items that I pureed for my little one. It’s not everything that I would like to have on hand,  andI know that one day I might try apple sauce and maybe next week I’ll make some bean purees!

Ingredients:

Dried, pitted, prunes-Make sure there are no other ingredients or additives, and if it’s in your budget go organic

water

Directions:

1. add prunes to a large bowl and fill with water until all the prunes are covered. Soak for at least a couple hours or if you want overnight. Once done, dump the water out and add prunes to processor and blend until creamy and no chunks appear.

2. Place in individual air tight containers and store in the freezer. When needed thaw in the fridge the night before.

I did a post already on how to puree butternut squash HERE! :)

Ingredients:

Carrots

Directions:

1. Wash, Peel, and cut carrots and add to a steam basket. Steam until tender.

2. Once done, blend until creamy, and if needed at a little water.

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes

Directions:

1. Wash, peel, cut sweet potatoes. Place in steam basket and steam until tender.

2. Once done puree until creamy, add water if needed.

Ingredients:

Squash

Directions:

1. Wash, peel, cut squash and place in steam basket. Steam until tender, then puree until smooth. It will be a little watery.

Ingredients:

Fresh or frozen peas

Directions:

1. If using fresh peas, scrape out the peas from their pods and place in a steamer basket. Cook until tender.

2. If using frozen peas, boil until peas are tender. Then puree until creamy.

Ingredients:

Beets

Directions:

1. Wash, peel, and cut beets. (Make sure to remove stems and leaves.) Place in steamer basket and steam until tender.

2. Puree until smooth, this may take a few times to get it the right consistency.

Ingredients:

Fresh spinach

Directions:

1. If spinach needs to be washed then do so. Place spinach in a pot or stovetop pan over medium heat with a tiny bit of water. Toss spinach until it becomes wilted, this will only take  a few minutes.

2. Place in blender and puree.

Whether you decide to use individual containers, I always set aside some of my purees in ice cube trays for a fast pop out and go option. With ice cube purees, you can throw them into warm soups, grains, smoothies, etc. Something fast and easy.

As for the individual containers, freeze what you aren’t using and place the ones you are using in the fridge. When you are running low, take some containers from the freezer and plop them in the fridge and let them thaw.

I brought home the following items:

2 large sweet potatoes

2 large packages prunes

1 large bag peas

1 large box spinach

1 large bag carrots

1 large butternut squash

2 large squash

3 large beets

TOTAL COST: under $20.00

20 dollars would buy about 20-25 cans worth of baby food.

If you child eats 1-2 cans a day then you could end up spending $20-$50 on canned baby food per month. (Sweet Pea tends to be a little piggy and has eaten 4 can’s a day. So for us, it sometimes is more!)

I made about 2 months of baby food for $20.

SO..I saved money! (Trust me friends this doesn’t happen often…)

I cut my cost in half…at least!

I’m telling you friends…Initially making the food is a lot of work and takes time. Oh…and your house will be a complete mess.

But after it’s done, the worry is over and you saved some money! And when the food runs out, your baby won’t be eating strictly pureed foods so you won’t have to do it ALL over again. :)

Hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions, please let me know!! :)

Happy pureeing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Emily timothy says:

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!! Makes me want to make homemade baby food again….if only my 10 month old would eat it! Haha He started refusing purée at 6 months and has never let me feed him with a spoon since….he only likes little pieces of food, sometimes. I even tried again today some oatmeal thinking maybe..just maybe….and nope. Just gets as mad as can be. Stubborn little boy! :)

    • Arielle says:

      Oh I hear you, my two year old has hated food since she was born! haha and my 6 month old just LOVES to eat. Just goes to show every kid is different! No fair huh? haha

  2. My sister just started pureeing food for my niece so this is a great post for her to use as a resource, thank you! I’m sending it over to her now:).

    PS. I love your header font! So beautiful :)

  3. stella says:

    i cannot get over how flippin adorable sweet pea is! i cant even handle it!

  4. Jenn says:

    I loved making baby food! It was fun to experiment with different recipes and watch the reactions both my kids have to each new food. I got to the point where I roasted most of the foods (especially fruits) because it really brought a whole new texture and flavor to the food and helped draw out the natural sugars for added sweetness.
    Keep up the good work! It’s always better to give fresh healthy options for your family for sure!

  5. Andrea says:

    How long does it last in the freezer? What a out thawed in the fridge?

    • Arielle says:

      I would say they could last in the freezer for about 3 months, but it will probably be all used up by then anyways. As for thawing out in the fridge, I would say it all depends on the serving sizes which you save it in. The mini containers I used last about a week and I feel that was perfect.

      • Nuke says:

        Hi..just wander how to thaw / reheat the food, can we use the container directly in the steamer or we should remove the puree into a glass container first?

        • Arielle says:

          I always place a few containers in the fridge and let them thaw in there. It usually thaws overnight. To reheat, you can do it in a glass container. :)

  6. EmilyH says:

    How do you keep banana from turning brown after pureeing it? :-/

    • Arielle says:

      Hi Emily!
      I hate to say this but I usually avoid pureeing bananas in advance for this reason. It’s usually best to puree them right before you are going to use them. Unless of coarse you are pureeing them with something else, then it would be fine to do it in advance. Hope that helps! :)

    • Jasmine says:

      Same with apples, to from browning you can toss them in a little citrus (Lemon or lime) juice :)

  7. angeleque says:

    Fresh bananas can be frozen in the peel. Thaw in the fridge and mash…voila! I was wondering about using canned fruits and beans..we really struggle to find a variety of fresh produce in our tiny town.

  8. Dawn says:

    a tip- for items that are not runny you can use an ice cream scoop and put on a lined cookie sheet to freeze versus the ice cube trays that i always seem to have trouble with. We also invested in a food saver so we could keep in the freezer long when making bulk. i also did some research on when to start them on certain foods. Fresh food is harder on their little bellies than the bought food. With twins in the house we would be broke if we bought all of their food.

  9. Lily says:

    Wow. This is fantastic! You are so informative and your pictures are so great! Baby Paisley and I will love making and eating your recipes! I will definitely be keeping up with your blog!

  10. Mia says:

    Great ideas! I made food for my first three kids, and it truly was not that difficult. I wanted to know what kind of labels you use. I ended up writing on the container with a sharpie which makes it hard to reuse it for something else. One last thing I would encourage moms to think outside of the box. Some of my kids favorites were from throwing things together out of necessity. Sweet potato thinned out with coconut milk and roasted fennel bulb and apple were some of their favorites.

    • Arielle says:

      Hi Mia!
      I bought little white stickers from walmart and wrote on them that way.
      And I think I would enjoy sweet potato..coconut milk…roasted fennel..AND apple. SOUNDS amazing!

      • Jamie says:

        I am sending your link to my daughter-in-law who’s expecting my first grandchild in just a few weeks! You’ve done a wonderful job with your blog: great ideas, clear instructions, and wonderful pictures! Kudos to you!

        I am so happy I can share this with my daughter-in-law! As a mom of four myself, I began making homemade baby food 25 years ago believing natural was best. As a working mom, I dedicated several hours on the weekends to preparing food in bulk and freezing in ice cube trays, and then place the frozen cubes in ziplock bags, and label and date! The night before, I would get out the frozen cubes to thaw in the fridge for the meals for the next day. As babies grew, so did the number of cubes for portion sizes! My “babies” are now 14, 18, 19, and 25, and they are healthy, adventurous eaters!

    • Haley Johnson says:

      You can use hand sanitizer, or straight rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove the sharpie from plastic containers. Works like a dream!

  11. How long will the food last in the freezer?

  12. Nuke says:

    Hi..my baby will have her first meal next month, what is the best meal I can feed her for the first time, cereal or pure fruits? Is it okay to frozen fruit pure like banana or papaya? thanks.

  13. jamie says:

    Great post! Baby #2 is due in April, so this “pin” caught my eye. I made some baby food for our little guy, but I found it took too long to wash each item (steamer pot, blender pieces, spatulas) between foods. I was nervous about any contamination if he was allergic to just one of the veggies or fruits. My son was sooooo fussy that I could only do baby food when my MIL would come hold him for a few hours. I feel like I could do a better job the 2nd time around :) My question is about the prunes: Are dried prunes hard like raisins? Would it work just as well to buy a container of moist prunes in the raisin aisle so there’s no soaking required?

  14. Diana says:

    How long for the ones you just put in the fridge last for?

  15. Hannah says:

    Hey there!! I am starting my baby food making journey today and had a few questions you might be able to help me with! First, how long is the food good for if I just keep it in the fridge? And then how long is it good for if I freeze it? I love your blog and continue to follow!! Thanks!!

    Hanah

  16. kia says:

    Have you ever tried glass baby food jars?

  17. Erin says:

    AWESOME POST!!! So helpful for new mommas! Thank you so much for this info!!! Time to start saving and making my bee her food homemade

  18. Natalie Rivera says:

    Can i do this with a Cusinart immersion blender or do i need a immersion blender and a cheap food processor? I dont have the Cash for a vitamix, baby food processor or a expensive normal processor.

    • Arielle says:

      Hi Natalie!
      The immersion blender should work great! :) NO need to buy something, what you have is perfect!

      • Natalie Rivera says:

        Thanks! i dont have the funds to buy a vitamix or anything else. so i thought about a Immersion blender. thanks for helping me decide! I just ordered a set of 12 Sprout cups from zulily for $9.99. i had a credit so i only paid $6!

  19. BabyXXL says:

    This is an exceptionally well-directed post that meets the requirements of a mother. Thank you for sharing such valuable information about baby nourishment.

    Regards.

  20. Ashley says:

    What is the best way to store homemade baby food if you’re going to be out? I know store bought can be kept at room temperature, but I’m assuming the homemade will need to be put in a cooler if we are going to be out for the day.

    • Arielle says:

      I would just keep it in a lunch box with an ice pack to keep it cool. Hope that helps! Or place it in a bag with ice :)! But usually on days where we are out and about I grab a jar of store bought to make life easier :)!

  21. Stephanie says:

    Hi just wanted to say your blog is awesome. I’ve been doing a lot of fresh veggies lately, zucchini, carrots and green beans and I’m going to try sweet potatoes and other veggies and fruits my little guy likes in the canned baby food department. I gotta say I wish I had made my big guys baby food because this is really so easy and my little guy eats so much better when I make it. :)
    Thanks again!

  22. Kaleigh says:

    Just a storage tip: I have also found the breast milk storage bags (Medela or Ameda, i prefer the Ameda) to work well for storing and freezing the baby food! It saves on space in your freezer (mine is over half full of breast milk, so saving space was important for me!) and allows you to make varying sized bags for different days, foods, and levels of hunger. My insurance company supplies me with 150 of the Ameda bags every 90 days for free, so I had a ton of extras. I use those and some of the small containers.

  23. kc says:

    Do you heat it up at all or just use it straight from the fridge? I do not have a microwave so I am wondering if I should heat the stored food or not.

    • Arielle says:

      It’s up to you, i usually bring it to about room temperature. But it all depends on the babies preference, and sometimes cold feels better when teething :)!

  24. Sarah says:

    My son goes to daycare and usually has a fruit for breakfast and meat,veggie,fruit for lunch. I am just starting out on making baby food and was wondering what is the best way to store it for daycare. Is it better to send it each day or for a weeks time?

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