There are a whole lot of reasons why you might be interested in making your own baby food. For some, it's the ability to make any food you want to without being tied to whatever commercial foods offer. Or it might be that with all the various food recalls that happen frequently, you'd feel safer knowing you made it yourself. Someone else might be doing it for the pure savings of it. And I'm doing it for all those reasons, but especially because it's fun! If you enjoy cooking, you'll most likely enjoy making baby food as well.
The cookbook I use is Blender Baby Food by Nicole Young. I love it because it's co-authored by a dietitian and therefore has all the nutritional information for each food. And knowing that it can be confusing or a daunting task attempting to figure out which foods are suggested for which age group, this book has foods in particular sections by age in months. Meal plans and lots of other great tips are included as well. Personally, one of my criteria for a "good" cookbook are recipes that are realistic. I'm sure you've perused or own a cookbook that has more gourmet ingredients than standard staples which incidentally, those recipes would never leave the page in my kitchen. This cookbook is not like that. Simple language, steps, and ingredients.
Here's what I've learned:
- Making your own baby food does not take as much time as you'd think. There may be more steps involved obviously, but it's still doable.
- Pressure-cooking is the best way, not to mention extremely fast way to cook the food. I have done steaming, roasting, and regular stovetop cooking, but pressure-cooking is supreme. I'm not sure how many young women even possess a pressure-cooker nowadays, but believe it, you can have most veggies cooked in less than 4 minutes!
- I'm buying all organic produce, and yet I'm still saving money over commercial foods including the organic varieties, i.e. Earth's Best, Gerber. Based on the servings from a bag of carrots I prepared, it equated to 17 cents a serving (2 oz.).
- Less waste and containers to deal with. Yes, you could easily recycle all the glass jars or plastic tubs, or you could not even have to deal with it at all. After cooking and blending the food, it is poured into a specially made food tray to be frozen. Regular ice cube trays work fine too. After an overnight freeze, I pop out the portions into a labeled bag and place them in a freezer bin. There, the food can hang out for up to 2-3 months.
- It tastes as it should. Personally, I have yet to taste commercial baby food, but have heard stories from other parents remarking on it's not-so-yumminess. But the beauty of making it yourself with no additives or preservatives is that it tastes like real food; because it is. And hopefully there will be less opposition to eating veggies in their non-pureed form as the child grows.
Now that you know more about it, check out DIY Baby Food: Part Two where I'll go into step-wise detail.