I was very excited yesterday when my son’s pediatrician said that he is ready for solids. We started him on rice cereal and then we will try oatmeal and barley cereals in the next few weeks. And after that – Veggies! I have always wanted to make my own baby food and because I’m currently a stay-at-home mom, I have plenty of time (during naps and after his bedtime) to do a little low-key cooking and save our family quite a lot of money. You can use this method for any almost any vegetable; you may just have to adjust cooking times and amounts of liquid.
Baby’s 1st Veggie – Pureed Carrots
- 12 oz. Carrots – cleaned, peeled, and cut into 1″ pieces
- Steamer basket and a pot with lid
- Scale (optional – I weigh everything for accuracy and costing purposes)
- Food processor, blender, or food mill
- Ice Cube Trays
- Plastic Wrap
- Zip-top Freezer Bag
First, I got my pot with steamer basket ready by putting just a couple of inches of water in the pot and turning it on medium-high. If you don’t have a steamer basket, just simply put your vegetables directly in a very small amount of water. Water leeches the nutrients out of vegetables, so you want to keep it to a minimum.
I then washed and weighed out 12 ounces of baby carrots. Last week, Aldi had a special on their baby carrots – 1 lb. bags were only 39 cents!!! I wanted to save a few of the baby carrots for snacking later on, or I would have used the whole bag.
Then I simply put the carrots in the steamer basket (water does not have to be boiling, just really warm to start) and popped on the lid. I set the timer for 15 minutes to start, but in order to get the consistency I wanted, I ended up adding another 8 minutes to that for a total of 23 minutes. I wanted them to be a little more than fork tender so that they would puree really nicely in the food processor.
I carefully transferred the carrots to my food processor and added about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pot to make pureeing a bit easier. It only took a minute or two to get a really smooth consistency. If you need to, you can add more water to the pureed vegetables and just stir in until you get the consistency that you want.
My next step was to freeze the puree in small portions. Ice cube trays work wonderfully! I let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes and then spooned it into the trays. Each cube is about 3/4 oz. – so about 3 or 4 make up a pack of baby food. I wrapped the trays tightly in plastic wrap, and then froze them overnight.
In the morning, I popped out the carrot cubes and put them in a zip-top freezer safe bag. I’ll pull out what I need and either thaw it overnight in the fridge or reheat it directly from the freezer. (When reheating any food, it should be heated to a temperature of 165 degrees F and then allowed to cool to the desired temperature.) I wrote a “Made” date” and an “Expires” Date on the bag. The frozen purees will last 6 weeks.
So let’s look at the bottom line here.
I paid 39 cents for a 1 lb. bag of carrots. I used 12 ounces of them. That’s 29 cents for the carrots. I made 19 cubes weighing in at about 3/4 ounce each. That’s a total of 14 1/4 ounces or about 5 1/2 packs of baby food. I did a little research online to see how much money I saved by making my own food.
My Homemade Baby Food: 5 cents per 2.5 ounce pack
Store-Bought Baby Food: 67 cents per 2.5 ounce pack – And this was a bulk price I found on Amazon.com.
So, I’m saving 62 cents per pack. Wow! This whole process took about 30 minutes and was super easy.
So do any of you make your own baby food? I would love to hear your recipes, tips, & tricks!