Raising Healthier Eaters
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Baby Food on a Budget
by Cheryl Tallman, www.freshbaby.com
When it comes time to feeding your baby solid foods, your initial vision might be dipping a spoon into a little jar of pureed peas, carrots or bananas. Did you know that your baby will eat about 600 of these cute little jars of baby food? And that the cost of all these jars can add up $400-$600?
If you are interested in making a HUGE dent in this baby budget line item, we recommend you make your own baby food. Now don't laugh, roll your eyes or start trembling at the thought of cooking - most people find it surprisingly simple and quick to make baby food.
Homemade baby food will cost less than $100, saving your family up to a whopping $500! And before you ask "but who has the time?", think about using the tried n' true ice cube tray method of making baby food. It will take only 30 minutes per week! There are not many things you can do in 30 minutes a week to save hundreds of dollars.
Here are the four basic steps to making baby food:
Step 1: Start with fresh fruits or vegetables. Depending on the type of food, you will need to wash, chop and peel the fruits and vegetables. If you are using frozen produce, simply open the package.
Step 2: Cook the food in the microwave or steam the food on the stove. Foods are done when the can be pierced or mashed easily with a fork.
Step 3: Pour the food and cooking juices into a food processor or a blender and puree to a soft and velvety texture. You may need to add water to get the right texture.
Step 4: Spoon the food puree into ice cube trays. Cover and place them in the freezer. When frozen, pop the baby food cubes out into a freezer storage bag. Baby food cubes stay fresh for up to two months in the freezer.
When it comes time to feed your baby, simply select baby food cubes from the freezer, defrost and the rest is YUM!
6 medium golden delicious apples
Step 1: Prep - Wash, peel, core and cut apples into one-inch (3 cm) slices.
Step 2: Cook - Place apples in a microwave safe dish. Cover. Cook 5 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Cook an additional 5 minutes. The apples are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.
Step 3: Puree - Place apples and cooking juices into a blender or a food processor. Puree to a smooth texture.
Step 4: Freeze - Spoon into So Easy Baby Food Trays or ice cube trays. Cover. Place in freezer eight to 10 hours or overnight. Remove cubes from trays, place in storage container or freezer bag, and return immediately to the freezer.
Makes 24 1-ounce servings. Stays fresh for two months in the freezer.
To serve, select frozen apple cubes from the freezer, defrost and warm, check the temperature and feed.
Age to introduce: About 6 months.
Sweet Potato Puree
2-3 medium to large sweet potatoes
Step 1: Prep - Wash, peel and chop sweet potatoes into one-inch (3 cm) cubes
Step 2: Cook - In a medium-size saucepan, pour 1/2 cup water. Set a steamer basket in the saucepan and place sweet potatoes cubes in the basket. Cover. Bring water to a boil and turn down the heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. They are done if the sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a fork. OR Place sweet potatoes and 2 Tablespoons (30ml) of water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover. Cook 8-10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. They are done if the sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a fork.
Step 3: Puree - Place sweet potatoes and cooking juices into a blender of food processor. Add ½ cup (60 ml) of water. Puree. Add additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 100 ml) of water, as needed, to develop of smooth texture.
Step 4: Freeze - Spoon into So Easy Baby Food Trays or ice cube trays. Cover. Place in freezer 8-10 hours or overnight. Remove cubes from trays, place in storage container or freezer bag, and return immediately to the freezer.
Makes 24 one-ounce servings. Stays fresh for 2 months in the freezer.
To serve, select frozen sweet potato cubes from the freezer, defrost and warm, check the temperature and feed.
There are few more money saving secrets to making baby food:
- Buy fresh produce that is on sale or in season
- Use coupons for frozen fruits and vegetables
- Make baby food in large quantities and freeze it in single servings
About the author:
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, available at many fine specialty stores, BabiesRUs.com, Target.com and national chains including Whole Foods Markets. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.
Read more of Fresh Baby's columns on StorkNet
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