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Written by Jane P. Merrill and Karen M. Sunderland, authors of Feasting on Food Storage.
Homemade baby food is quick and easy to make. It can save hundreds of dollars and is more nutritious for baby. It takes about a one hour block of time every 2-3 weeks or so to prepare an ample food supply for your infant. Make up a cereal, pureed vegetables, fruits, beans and meat. Use as needed. Freeze the extra in ice cube trays until set. Place frozen cubes in freezer bag. Label the bag and freeze up to 3 months. Be creative in your food combinations and baby will enjoy and thrive.
Pureed foods are ideal for people who cannot eat whole foods and can be prepared much the same as for baby food.
Solid foods may be introduced into a baby’s diet around 6 months. Traditionally, single-grain cereals are introduced first, although it does not matter what the first solid foods are. There is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any set order has an advantage for your baby.
After your baby begins to eat one food, gradually add other foods. Give your baby one new food at a time and wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After introducing a new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and check with your Pediatrician.
Source American Academy of Pediatrics June 2012.
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup quick or old fashioned oats
Stir oats into water. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Cool.
For finer texture:
Make oat flour in blender. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil; stir in 2-4 tablespoons oat flour and cook until desired consistency. Cool. Add pureed
fruit if desired.
Microwave: Cook at 90 percent power for about 2 minutes. Cool.
Add fruit if desired, such as applesauce, mashed banana, or any pureed fruit.
1/2 cup cooked rice, brown or white
3 to 4 Tbsp. water
Put rice in blender and puree, adding water to desired consistency. Applesauce, mashed banana, etc. can be added if desired.
Follow directions below to prepare, puree and freeze.
To cook fresh or frozen vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green beans or summer squash, place in pan using 1-2 inches water; cook until fork tender. To optimize nutrition, add the cooking liquid as needed when pureeing vegetables. Cooked fresh green beans may need to be strained through a fine mesh strainer to remove strings.
To prepare cooked vegetables: Put vegetables in blender. Add cooking liquid or water and puree to desired consistency.
Freeze puree in ice cube trays until set. Place frozen vegetable cubes in freezer bags. Label the bags and freeze until needed.
3 cups carrots, cooked
1/3 cup water
Green Beans, Broccoli, or Peas
1 cup green beans, broccoli, or peas, cooked
2 to 4 Tbsp. water
1 10-ounce frozen spinach, cooked
1 to 3 Tbsp. water, if needed
1 1/2 cups squash, cooked
2 to 4 Tbsp. water
Banana or Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash or
1/4 of a banana squash
Cut squash into pieces. Remove seeds if needed. Place into microwave safe dish and add 1-2 inches water. Cover and microwave until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Remove peel. Place squash in blender; add cooking water as needed and puree to desired consistency.
1 cup sweet potato or yam, cooked
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub outside of sweet potato or yam. Pierce with fork and wrap in foil. Place on foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake. Remove from oven and cool before removing skin. Place in blender and puree, adding water as needed for desired consistency.
Bake: 400º 45-60 min
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, peeled
Peaches, pears, bananas, etc.
Place fruit in blender and puree. Add water if needed.
Canned Fruit: apricots, peaches, pears, etc.
Use only fruit canned in juice, not syrup. Drain juice and set aside. Put fruit in blender and puree to desired consistency. Add water or juice if needed. Freeze in ice cube trays until set. Place frozen cubes in freezer bag. Label and date the bag; store in freezer.
Tip: Unsweetened applesauce is a good fruit to mix in cereal, canned beans or cooked chicken breasts.
Cut apples into fourths; peel and core. Place in a saucepan. Barely cover apples with water. Boil until fork tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Put apples in blender and blend until smooth; add cooking water as needed to desired consistency.
Yield: 2-3 cups
The current recommendations for introducing cooked dried beans, lentils and legumes into a baby’s diet are around 8-10 months. These foods are high protein and babies may not have the ability to digest them until this age. Legumes, beans and lentils cause very few allergic reactions in babies. Discuss any feeding issues with your pediatrician.
Pinto, white, kidney, black beans, etc.
1 14-oz. can beans, rinsed and drained Or 2 cups cooked beans
Puree beans in blender to desired consistency, adding water as needed.
If using whole beans, drain. Place beans in blender and blend, adding 2-4 tablespoons water, to desired consistency.
Dehydrated Refried Beans
1 cup boiling water 1 cup dehydrated refried beans
Stir beans into boiling water. Cover and let stand about 10 min. Stir well.
Refried Beans: Refrigerate or freeze meal-size portions as desired.
Mixed Vegetable and Bean Puree
1/4 cup cooked beans: pinto, white, kidney, black beans, etc.
1/4 cup tender cooked greens: spinach, kale, green beans, etc.
Puree, adding 1-3 tablespoons water to desired consistency.
Freeze in meal-size portions until needed.
Meat is usually not recommended until a baby is at least 10 months old.
Chicken or Beef
1 cup cooked and cubed chicken or beef
1/4 to 1/3 cup water
Place chicken and water in blender and puree to desired consistency. Freeze in ice cube trays until set. Place frozen cubes in zip-lock bags. Label and date the bags. Freeze until needed.
Tip: As babies get older, around 10 months, regular healthy table food can be ground up in a baby food grinder and served for meals. Babies can sit at the table or high chair and enjoy the meal with everyone else.
Tip: Baby food grinders are readily available online or in the baby section of some retail stores.
Meat, Beans and Vegetables
2-3 cubes frozen pureed vegetables
1 cube frozen, cooked, pureed meat
Or frozen pureed beans, (pinto, white, etc.)
Let thaw in refrigerator and warm, or thaw in microwave.
Mix vegetables, meat or beans and serve.