"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Friday, September 30, 2011

Baby Food: The Tools of the Trade

As you may have noticed, I have started a new tab at the top of my blog regarding Homemade Baby Food.

This is something I am very passionate about. I have done a lot of research and reading on making my own 'baby food'. Though a lot of the recipes are simple, I know the hundreds of questions that can mill around in the head of a mom considering this, so I wanted to share what I have done, and maybe I can answer one of those milling questions for some other mom out there!

I am not a pediatrician, and albeit, haven't followed some things most ped's would say you should do (like feed rice cereal). The recipes I post here, and things I discuss regarding homemade baby food, are simply things that worked for me and my baby. Please, go with your gut! If you hesitate try to something for your baby, then by all means, don't. You do what you feel to be right! I've found that this is the 'mantra' that works best for me. You will have people coming at you in all different directions with what they feel is the 'right' way to feed a baby, what you should and shouldn't be giving them and at what stages - it will be completely overwhelming to the point where you will just want to throw in the towel and feed your 2 month old a Big Mac just to appease every one! But at the end of the day, you are the mom and you do what you feel is best for your baby.

So, for this first post, I want to show you the things I use when I make my baby food. It is easy to get caught up in the hype of all the 'special' products out there specially for making baby food. But, I bet, most of these items you might already have. Why spend the money you are saving on making your own baby food on unnecessary equipment? I realize some items out there might be more compact, are 2 in 1 type things, and may make life easier, but if you already have the following things, it's simple and cheap to just use them!

First, you will need something for cooking your food. If you are doing something that doesn't roast in the oven, like say, a Sweet Potato, you will most likely be steaming it. I have a 'steamer' very similar to the one below and it works like a charm. The strainer on the left I do not use when making baby food - that's more for pasta and things of the like.

Once you have 'cooked' your food, depending on the age of your baby, you will need to puree or mash up it some. I have found 2 things work best for this, depending on the food. For some, I can use my Cuisinart Mini Prep...which BTW, I purchased at a discount store in college long ago for $10!! Boy has this thing paid for itself 100x over!

The other one would be a blender with a puree setting. When I have a larger batch of something fairly smooth once cooked down, like peaches or pears, I can throw it all in the blender for a quick puree.

After you have completed the food prep, you need to store it. What has worked best for me are these 4oz. Ball Canning Jars. They hold up very well; you can freeze them, throw them in the microwave and dishwasher and you can reuse the lids* and bands. (*Note, lids can only be used in a hot water bath or pressure cooker for canning once, however, you can continue to use them just for plain old fridge or freezer storage!) I know some people like to freeze into ice cube trays too, but my experience doing that was a pain! So I switched to the jars!

And lastly, the utensil I use most when making baby food are my rubber spatulas. Perfect for wiping down the sides of your pans, blenders, food processors etc! Stock up on these bads boys! You won't be sorry!

I realize making your own baby food might not be for everyone. There are many reason why I choose to do so, which I can save for a later discussion, but at the end of the day, if you are cooking for your family anyways, it doesn't take much extra effort to make a homemade meal for your baby! So go ahead, give it a try!


Nancy said...

A great post, Allison. I'm sure many will find it very helpful. :)

Susan said...

I love your encouragement for making your own baby food. With all the gadgets out--it's easy and economical on top of being healthier without preservatives. Bravo!

Bee Girl said...

I'm so happy you've added this page! So much great information! Cheers!!!

meemsnyc said...

Making your own baby food is definitely the best and healthiest way to go!