Saturday, June 18, 2011

Homemade Baby Food

The other day my Amazing Husband took some kids to work with him, leaving me home alone with two napping boys and a quiet house. And what did I do, you ask? Did I read a good book? Play Solitaire? Watch a House marathon?

No. I processed 10 pounds of carrots and de-boned a chicken.

I really let loose when I have time to myself.

Anyway. I had a 10 pound bag of carrots that was going to go bad if I left it in the pantry, so what could I do? I like to buy my produce in bulk whenever possible, and I'm learning how to prep it so it doesn't end up rotting before I can use it. Did you know that fresh, diced carrots can be frozen and used later for cooking? Use them in pot pies, casseroles or as a side dish. I chopped about half my carrots for the freezer, sliced some for snacking, and made the rest into baby food.

To make carrots into baby food, first peel and chop them. Boil until soft, about 15-20 minutes. The longer they boil, the better a puree you'll get.

Once the carrots are sufficiently boiled, spoon them into your blender. Be careful! They're hot. See the steam in the blender? 

Steaming carrots, ready for pureeing.

This is my Magic Bullet. It's fabulous. Give them a good whirl. 

Action shot! Yes, you can take the lid off once it gets going. You'll know it's ready when it has a rhythmic whirring sound. 

I freeze my baby food in plastic zip top bags, because they're economical. That, and the ice cube tray idea just wasn't working for me. My kid can eat the whole tray in a sitting. 

The easiest way to pour the baby food into the bag is to set it in a large plastic cup, like so. 

And pour! Sorry about the big warning label. I tried to turn it around but that had me pouring with my left hand, and the chances that I'd end up with a steaming carrot-covered counter were too great. Pretend you can't see it. 

This time I'm making mixed vegetables. I've layered frozen broccoli, squash and peas in the blender. 

Add the cooked carrots on top, with plenty of the water used for cooking. The heat from the water will thaw the vegetables. 

Kind of pretty, isn't it? 

And here we test the iPhone's rather limited capacity for action shots. 

I made carrots, mixed vegetables and peas and carrots. Allow them to cool, then seal and freeze. (Lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer.)

The vegetables I used are organic, so I got about $15 worth of organic baby food. I used 1/3 of a bag of organic carrots I bought for $4 at Costco, and about $2 worth of frozen vegetables, so making the baby food cost me about $3.25 and 45 minutes. Of course, in that time I also got six bags of prepped carrots for cooking and snacking.

Do you make your own baby food? What tips do you have? 

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