4.19.2010

baby food fun

i held off giving solids to river as long as i could. breast milk is the perfect, most amazing food in the world, and i didn't see any point in introducing solid foods as long as he didn't need or want them. i even had an AP mom tell me, you can't hold off on solids forever! so trusting her five-kids experience and attachment-parenting guidance, i decided it was time to officially incorporate them into river's diet. he is eight months old and loves the feedings, and i feel very good about holding off as long as i did. 


i had no idea how much or how little food i should buy, so i spent a painful $25 on all organic foods, which bought me:


2 sweet potatoes
2 avocados
3 apples
4 pears
7 bananas
1 lb. green beans
2 lbs. frozen peas
5 lbs. carrots


i was starting to wonder if i would actually really be saving money making my own organic baby food, versus buying canned organic baby food, which can run up to a dollar a jar. but seriously, what was i thinking?!? that's a hell of a lot of food.



chopping the apples. i suggest chopping them smaller, so they get more tender, quicker.


after googling what is healthier, steaming or boiling and checking about three websites to make sure steaming really is, in fact, healthier than boiling, i got to work. i expected an eventful, fun-filled day of feeling like a supermom while preparing beautiful, bright, and colorful fresh fruits and veggies for freezing and steaming, but it was actually pretty boring. i found myself standing there staring at the pot waiting for the water to boil, before i decided my time was probably best spent doing something else.


attempting to steam the apples. 
i was feeling pretty optimistic at this point.


i also had no idea how long it took for steaming to actually make the fruits and veggies soft. so after ten minutes of steaming the apples without feeling much change in their tenderness, i just dumped them in the blender and told myself they didn't need to be steamed anyway. 


apples blended with a little water - easy apple sauce, and not just for baby!

the same happened with the peas, but i did want to cook them a bit so they would be easier to blend. i boiled them in about 2/3 cups of water in a wide pot, and added about half of the water while blending. i guess i don't have much patience. i wasn't even going to try steaming the sweet potatoes and green beans. 


local green beans! i was particularly excited about that.
 don't tell river, but i would not eat plain, blended green beans. guh-ross.


roasting is also a great way to soften some fruits and veggies. i roasted cubed sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. 


after blending three apples, 10 oz. of peas, two sweet potatoes, four whole carrots, and three bananas, i had well over 25 baby food jars full of food, and i still had a lot of food left to prepare. looks like we'll be eating some of river's fruits and vegetables. all in all, it was a success.


peas and bananas ready to be frozen. 

each cube in the tray is about an ounce in volume, so with one tray you get thirty ounces of food. i bought four trays just for freezing baby food, and had too much food, so i had to freeze some that night and the rest the next day. after the food is frozen, pop it out and store it in the plastic baggies. we try not to buy too many disposable items (especially plastic), so instead of using zip-lock bags to store the food once it's frozen, i just put it in washed out baby food jars. if you don't have baby food jars, reusable storage containers should work just fine. i'm not even sure if using the jars will work out; it may end up taking up too much room in the freezer.

baby food peas. yurm.



so, bits of wisdom: 


- i really did save a lot of money; however, next time, i will not buy $25 worth of food. that is ridiculous. i'm serious, five bucks - even spent on organic foods - is enough for one week's worth (maybe more) of baby food for an eight month old.


- steaming takes forever. if you do boil, use as little water as possible and boil just until tender (about 5-10 minutes, depending on what you're preparing), because much of the nutrition in the fruit is lost in the water. use a bit of the water you boil with to add to the food when blending. save some of the water left over to add when blending food you roasted or steamed.


- just go ahead and peel the damn sweet potatoes. i left the peels on because "the peels are the most nutritious part!" however, they also didn't blend well, and can be a choking hazard. i spent ten minutes peeling the little bastards after they had roasted.


- don't waste time mashing and freezing the bananas! why oh why did i do this? it's so much easier to just stick a whole banana in the freezer and mash it with a fork when you take it out, and it will save precious ice-cube-tray space (and time).


- make sure the plastic you are using to freeze and store the food is either #1, #2, #4, or #5. all other plastics are toxic and can leach into the food. a baby's immune system and growing brain is more susceptible to being effected by these toxins.




now go make some baby food!



4 comments:

  1. I LOVED making baby food!
    Mark bought me the Beaba babyfood maker which steams then blends the food for you all in one!
    Then I got some baby food cubes and froze the food in that.
    I also did the ice cubes to disposable freezer bag trick. This was a lot easier to be honest, and I just reused the bags over and over again.
    We went through food pretty quickly because Ethan would eat like 6 ice cubes worth in one sitting!

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  2. yes, it actually was a lot of fun! i'm kind of glad i bought so much food; at least i won't have to do it again for a while.

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  3. Hey - if you want to do the fruits and veggies raw, bring it over and put them the vita-mix :-) It will blend up anything. ~ Sabine

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  4. You are a hilarious writer! "Peel the damn sweet potatoes!" haha.
    I ran into the same problem with the steaming... BUT there's a solution! I figured it out on accident. While steaming, I had this very random thought, "I wonder if too many nutrients are escaping via the steam?" So, I put a lid on the pot. That's it. It was done in no time. It's still a little longer than boiling, but not enough to really mention.
    *we use one of those old school steaming baskets that sits down into the pot... 5 bucks at walmart.

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