Do you make your own baby food?

I had visions of whirling up organic autumn blends of apples and squash for my babes. And I did, but not for every meal. I made huge batches of sweet potatoes and mashed bananas in my blender, froze them in ice cube trays, and then stored them in zip lock bags in the freezer. It was long process, but I loved reflecting on the fact that making baby food means saving about 90% over the cost of pre-made organic baby food and avoiding the environmental costs of packaging and processing. Still, working nearly full time, not getting enough sleep and having a relatively picky baby motivated to buy jars of organic baby food to save my sanity now and then.
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Using a Blender to Make Baby Food

blended baby foodRebecca likes to cruelly taunt me about the use of my blender for making homemade baby food. Honestly, I could care less. I proudly stand behind my little Osterizer and its amazing ability to whip up heaps of sweet potatoes, baby spinach, and pureed pears. (By the way, Rebecca and I are playing up the blender drama just for show. Our nearly twenty year friendship hasn’t been damaged by this small appliance duel.)

Due to limited storage in my kitchen, I have to limit my gadgets. Nothing earns the right to live in my cupboards unless it can prove that it has many functions on a regular basis. My blender is a standby for summer smoothies, popsicles, and, of course, baby food. I simply steam or boil the food, dump it in, and add some of the liquid used to cook it. Then I whirl it up and dump it in ice cube trays for storage. When it’s frozen, the cubes go into labeled freezer bags where they wait to be microwaved for dinner. If you’re looking for some elegant and healthy recipes, along with cloth diapering tips and heaps of ways to save money on raising baby, check out our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.
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Book Review and Giveaway: Super Baby Food

One of the first natural baby food cookbooks to hit the mainstream, Super Baby Food, is still enjoying relative fame.  I was thrilled to find the first edition in its purple cover in a pile of garage sale books and happily paid a quarter to make it mine.

Super Baby FoodI eagerly rushed home and began reading, but found myself disappointed.  The book is loosely organized, full of anecdotes and often difficult to follow.  Although it’s over 500 pages long, there are really only about thirty critically important pages of information to read.

To be fair, I do love those thirty pages. Ruth Yaron challenges our ideas of traditional baby food by offering up other ingredients for home-blended meals.  She explains how to whirl up vegetables and fruits in your blender and then dump it into ice cube trays to freeze and store.  As baby gets older, she has tips for including egg yolk, beans, kale, and a variety of other healthy foods into a “super porridge” that can be inexpensively prepared.
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The Saturday Question: What Are Your Favorite Vegetables and Fruits for Homemade Baby Food?

Our series on organic gardening has many parents planning a kitchen garden this spring.  But what should you plant in it if you’re also wanting to whip up several batches of home-blended baby food this summer?  Which vegetables are easiest to cook and process?  Which ones have you found are sure-fire hits with baby?  The easiest for my son were sweet potatoes, yams, and squash—all of which don’t mature until later in the season.  Are there other veggies that have worked well for you? Thanks for providing some planting inspiration for other new parents!