Have you ever considered making your own baby food only to scratch the idea because of how time-consuming it must be? Well, I’m here to tell ya that it’s easier than you think and quicker than you believe, and so much fun too. Go ahead and put an end to buying expensive and “convenient” store-bought baby food and pull out your blender!
1. Use Fresh Ingredients
You all may know by now how I love the local farmer’s market. Buying local produce is the freshest of the fresh. It’s so much more fun to shop locally because the market is full of in-season goodies typically pulled from harvest days before market (as fresh as it gets!), the money we spend on fresh food helps local farmers, and buying from local farms cancels out the overhead - gas and transportation to local grocers. By meeting local farmers, you tend to know where the food comes from and how it’s grown. It’s a nice way to grow as a community and eat wholesome, healthy food.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up
Mixing fruits with veggies and adding little bursts of natural flavor really tickle the taste buds of your new little eater. Bananas go well with sweet potatoes, and apples go well with spinach. Homemade chicken broth can really do a lot for a potato and carrot mixture, and using fresh herbs in baby purees can delight even the crankiest of babes! My son, Benjamin, goes bananas over strawberry and mint puree, and a basic corn, tomato, and cilantro puree could easily be made into a salsa, dip, or marinade for fish or chicken - for the entire family.
3. No Need For Fancy Equipment
Baby Bullet, Magic Bullet…no need for the gadgets. Whatever you cook with will do. I tend to use my steamer basket, a pot with lid, the blender, and the food processor the most often. Just chop, steam, and blend. It’s that easy.
4. Waste Nothing!
ALL food could and should be used. Leftover carrots from a carrot puree? Make carrot cake cupcakes. Freeze. Add garlic and make carrot soup for the adults. Purees can be incorporated into a TON of recipes for the entire family. Always reserve the water from steaming veggies or fruits as the water can be added to the blender or food processor to make the purees. The more water used, the thinner the consistency. You be the judge. If in doubt, freeze! Search for a recipe and thaw to make. The freezer saves me every time I’m in doubt!
5. Store Food Properly
Now that you have a ton of purees, how do you store them? When you’ve made just enough, baby food can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. If you have enough to freeze, and with most purees you will, pour fresh purees into ice cube trays or small Tupperware containers (2-3oz, BPA-free) and place in freezer. Once frozen, the purees can be popped out into a freezer bag and labeled with the date. Use frozen food within 3 months of freeze date, and always thaw in the fridge, under warm running water, or in a glass container in the microwave.
Sweet Potato and Banana Puree: this puree is a great first food as it is easily digestible, and my boy, Benjamin, loves it!
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes or until soft. Reserve the liquid from the steamer.
2. Puree the sweet potato with the bananas in a food processor or blender with 1/2C of reserved liquid. Add more liquid to get desired consistency if needed.
Red Potato, Carrot, and Chicken Stock Puree: a favorite at our house. This puree can be made when slow roasting a whole chicken with veggies for the family.
3 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2C -1C of homemade chicken stock
1/2Tbs fresh chopped parsley
1. Steam potatoes and carrots for about 10 minutes or until soft.
2. Puree the potatoes and carrots in a food processor or blender with 1/2C of chicken stock and parsley. Blend well and add more stock until desired consistency is created.
Persimmon, Berry, and Mint Puree: this recipe comes from my favorite baby food book, Bountiful Baby Purees, by Anni Daulter. This puree would be AWESOME as ice pops for the whole family come summertime! Benjamin’s absolute favorite!
3 persimmons, peeled and chopped
2C chopped strawberries
1/4C chopped fresh mint
1. Steam persimmons for about 8 minutes until soft. Add strawberries and steam for another 2 minutes. Reserve water from steamer.
2. Puree the mixture in a blender with the mint. Add 1tsp of reserved water at a time, if necessary, until desired consistency is achieved.
Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm
Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am
I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am
Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm