I've been wanting to make homemade baby food for awhile now, but I've been stymied by my lack of a food processor and my own cheap refusal to buy one. My dear mom remedied that last week when she gave me her nearly-new but never used food processor and I couldn't wait to get started.
I have to say, if I can make baby food - and I did - then anyone can. It is just as easy as it sounds and I don't think I'll ever go back to the little Gerber containers again.
So how easy is it? Let's take carrots as an example. I bought six carrots at the local farmer's market on Saturday. I peeled them, cut them into chunks and steamed them with my poor-man's steamer (i.e. a pot of boiling water with a colander resting in it and a lid on top) and pureed them in the food processor, adding water as needed to make a smooth puree. Easy as that. For longer-term storage, I can put the puree into an ice cube tray and make little frozen carrot puree-cicles that I can thaw as needed.
Certainly that was more work than going to Wal-Mart and picking up the little Gerber containers (though really, not much more). So why do it?
1. I know where my vegetables came from. The carrots I used came from a farm in Delavan, Wisconsin, grown by an older couple who sells at the farmer's market every Saturday. The zucchini and squash medley I prepared was made with vegetables grown in Jackson, Wisconsin. This serves my goal of eating locally, and it also lets me support some of the smaller businesses in the area.
2. I create less waste. Those little Gerber containers are great for convenience, but every itty-bitty serving is stored in a plastic container with a plastic lid, wrapped up in twos with a cardboard wrapper. That's a lot of trash for a little food. On top of that, I have some mild concerns about the composition of the plastics used in the packaging. While some baby food companies use glass containers - a far more environmentally friendly option if reused or recycled - why not cut the waste out entirely? While "reuse" and "recycle" are great things, let's not forget the first of the three "Rs:" REDUCE.
3. I can have some fun with the flavors. Right now I have a ridiculously delicious smelling zucchini and summer squash medley pureed and waiting for my hungry baby. I don't see that on the store shelves, and what I do see doesn't smell nearly as wonderful as what I've made in my kitchen.
4. I had fun. While the zucchini and squash were being steamed I made some fantastic zucchini bread and read up on zucchini recipes which led to a really delicious dinner for us big people, too. I love how that all worked out.
5. Jack loves the results. I love seeing his expressions as he tries the new flavors and textures of the foods I prepared for him. Moreover, I feel like I am giving him a better option for eating. After all, we don't eat prepackaged take-out every day, so why should he?
We are really having a great time with our homemade baby food.Want to try it yourself?
http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ - THE resource on all things related to the creation, storage and use of homemade baby food.