baby’s gotta eat

I make (most of) Bronson’s baby food.  Make?  Don’t they like, sell baby food?  In jars?

Yep.  On both counts.

I don’t know what it is about homemade.  It seems that people by and large just don’t understand it.  My younger sister was telling me last night how they’re having a Thanksgiving potluck at her workplace, so the ladies were discussing what they plan to bring.  Sister-dear said “cornbread,” and one lady perked up and said, “Jiffy?”  According to my sister, it was apparent by the body language and facial expression that this woman loves her some Jiffy cornbread.  Summer replied that she was actually going to make from-scratch cornbread and, again according to my sister, the woman was visibly disappointed.  Granted, it just ain’t cornbread unless it’s Jiffy, but still…

Anyway, I’ve had similar reaction to making baby food.  “You’re a mama now!  You don’t need to worry yourself with making baby food.  Just save yourself the trouble and buy it.”

Hm.  Well, see, that’s the thing.  I’m a mama now.  Shouldn’t I worry myself with preparing food for the tiny little person who is now in my care?  I mean, shouldn’t I worry that what he’s eating is nutritious (and delicious!)?

Aaaanyhoo.  Back in the summer, even though Bronson was only like a minute or two old, I steamed and pureed the in-season produce, then froze the puree in ice cube trays.  Sunday, I did the same with apples and butternut squash because they’re, you know, in season.  Making baby food is ridiculously easy, so I’m going to give a little tutorial.  Fun, no?  Well, I guess probably “no” if you don’t actually have children.  But your husband or wife may surprise you and really love pureed fruits and vegetables.  You just never know.

Bronson is now in what the industry terms “stage 2” baby food: he can handle a little texture.  For “stage 1” apples, just add more water and puree longer.  For “stage 3,” add less water and pulse rather than puree.  For this batch, I used: 

Ingredients
5 apples
water
nutmeg, to taste
cinnamon, to taste
1 butternut squash

Tools
stockpot
steamer insert
blender

2 ice trays

First, I cored and sliced the apples, leaving skins on so I wouldn’t lose all the good stuff (you know, vitamins, minerals).  Then, I poured about four cups of water into a large stockpot (enough to cover to 1 inch), placed the steamer insert in the pot, tossed in the apples, covered, brought water to a boil, and let steam for about ten minutes.

Next, I let the apples cool, then peeled away the skins.  (For “stage 3” food, you could probably leave the skins on.)  I also reserved the water from the stockpot.  As you’ll notice in the photograph, the water turned cloudy.  This just means that some good ol’ nutrients got left behind– and we don’t want to waste them!
  
After I peeled the apples, I tossed them into the blender with 1 cup of the reserved water and pureed until just slightly textured (a little smoother than apple sauce). 
 Next, I poured the puree into a bowl and folded in nutmeg and cinnamon (about a teaspoon each).

Finally, I spooned the puree into ice cube trays and froze. Later, I transferred the frozen cubes to a freezer bag for storage.

Meanwhile, the butternut squash was roasting (375 degrees, 1 hour).

When it was nice and tender, I took it out of the oven and scooped out the meat.

Then, like with the apples, I pureed the squash, using a cup of the reserved apple water (adding nutritional value and not wasting!), and poured the puree into ice cube trays to freeze.

And voila!  Two batches of baby food, 24 servings each. No added sugar, salt, preservatives.  Just produce and water.  Mmm.  And it only took about 20 minutes of hands-on time.

(We don’t own a microwave [We’re not against them; we just don’t own one.], so I usually take out of the freezer the next day’s servings and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  If you have a microwave, though, by all means use it to thaw a serving taken straight from the freezer.)

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One thought on “baby’s gotta eat

  1. Tabi says:

    We had a baby food grinder thing that I remember from… forever. It was cool because we could make baby food during dinner for the baby just by throwing in some chicken, greens, and rice. I never thought about using a blender to do basically the same thing. Blenders are for grinding coffee beans! :p

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