Are they not just super cute! Little cubes of love for Bacon bit. It's hard to believe he's four and a half months old! Where has the time gone? Now that Bacon bit is older, he's wanting to eat ALL. THE. TIME! Not only is he never full, he also drools over the food we eat. That means it was time to start on some real food. And not anything that comes out of a jar, I'm making all of Bacon bit's food.
You're thinking homemade baby food, Ma Bacon, who has time for that? Honestly it takes very little time and saves a whole lot of money. It had been a few years since I bought baby food (yes, I did buy the jars with the other kids, see I haven't always had 'time' or so I thought). I couldn't believe how much the cost of those tiny jars have increased! My pocket book said enough, just make the food instead. I also think they taste so much better homemade and I can control the consistency. So where to start? Thankfully I have some great friends who shared their tips with me. I also found this website to be helpful.
I started with making a batch of sweet potatoes and a batch of peas. Nothing too hard and some good foods for Bacon bit to start with.
First off you need some supplies.
I use my KitchenAid blender
A skinny spatula
These cute square trays that just happen to be 1 oz in size (seen that pic somewhere before?!)
And my Kidco hand mill
I started with sweet one sweet potato, you know these things! (Yes Yams are the same thing in most American supermarkets) There are pretty much two ways you can cook a sweet potato for making baby food, either peel it and steam it or bake it. I chose to bake it, nothing better than baked sweet potatoes! Slice the potato in half length wise, place it cut side down and a cookie sheet and add about a half inch of water to the pan. Place them in a 400* oven for 40-45 minutes or until a fork presses into them easily. I baked them in the toaster oven to save on some electricity, and it was already out from lunch.
Make sure to check on them a few times, After about 25 minutes I noticed I needed to add a bit more water to the pan. Here they are out of the oven. Next peel the skins off and toss it in the blender or food processor. When they are baked right the peels just fall off of them!
Once they are in the blender, they need some liquid to help turn them in to puree. That is where the water on the pan comes in play. Take the liquid and pour it into the blender too. I did have to add about 3/4 cup of water to the mix as well. You can use the liquid of your choice to do this, juice, water, ect. I was advised to not use Bacon bit's breast milk or formula if I was going to be freezing the cubes, so I opted for water. Now blend away! Here is a comparison of my sweet potatoes verses store bought jar sweet potatoes. You can see the jar one's are a lot runnier. Not bad for just starting out eating, but my babies have all preferred thicker foods. Also when I take a cube out and thaw it I can thin it down with more liquids (this is where you can add the breast milk or formula if you want) to get it just how Bacon bit likes it.
Now it's time to get them ready for the freezer! Pour the puree into the cube trays. You don't have to use the cute square cubes like I have, any ice cube tray will work. I like the cubes because they are silicone and the puree pops right out of it. Also they are a nice 1 ounce size. Once the puree is in the trays I use the spatula to make sure they are level on top. Then I pick the tray up and gently tap it a few times against the counter to get out any air bubbles. I wipe off the edges a bit and it's ready to freeze.
Now on to the peas.
I preferred to steam my peas for Bacon bit's food. I have a nice steamer that came with the cook ware Mr. Bacon and I bought several years ago. I also decided to use frozen peas since it is not prime veggie picking season in Minnesota.
Steam the veggies according to the package or until they are tender. Yes since these are in a steamer bag I could have placed them right in the microwave, however I think the microwave cooking kills off most the healthy nutrients in the food. This would be the same process I would have
done if I was steaming the sweet potatoes or any other fruit or veggie. Once they are cooked until tender, take the peas and place them in a bowl of cold water. I have been told doing this step with food like peas and beans that have 'skin' on them makes them puree easier.
Once they rest in the water and cool for a minute or two place them in the blender. You need to remember to add a bit of liquid to them. I used 1/2 cup of the water I placed in the kettle for steaming the peas, that way the nutrients that went into the water during steaming, go back into my son's food. Now puree away!
Peas when they are pureed still tend to be chunky due to their 'skins'. For an older baby this wouldn't be a problem. However for just starting out, I wanted the peas a bit smoother. I bought this amazing food mill that solved the problem. I put the puree in the mill, and out came smooth peas perfect for baby's first foods! And a picture of what's left after the mill process!
Here you can see the difference between the two.
Now it's time to put them in the trays. Repeat the process I used above for filling the sweet potatoes. There, all ready for the freezer!
A few hours in the freezer later....
Best thing with these cubes is that they will also stack in the bag to store upright!
Perfect little cubes of love for baby Bacon bit!
Well that turned into a pretty detailed post! I hope this helps others out on making their adventrue in homemade baby food a bit easier! You can do it!