food · infant · Mothering

Purée All Day

Make your own purées? Who has time for that?! No sane parent would take on that task amidst all of the other things like – work, taking care of their children, cleaning, laundry, shopping, appointments, extracurricular, etc. – right? 

If that’s what you thought when stumbled across this post, know that you are not alone. In fact, that was my initial attitude when it first came time to discuss feeding the twins solids.  

But I’m here to tell you it’s really not all that difficult. If you can spare a couple of hours, one or two weekends a month (or an evening) you can stock up on meals for baby for several weeks! And you will SAVE MONEY (then you won’t feel guilty buying that new one-piece swimsuit you’ve been eyeing for your new mom bod). 

I’m not against store bought baby food by any means; in fact, I snag puréed pouches, puffs and yogurt bites whenever I have a good coupon! They’re great for those days you’re on the go, traveling, field trips, or just to take to grandma and grandpa‘s house.  Convenience is key and you don’t have to worry about keeping those items cold!

One of the main reasons I decided to make my own baby food can be traced back to when I had the twins. I had a bit of mom guilt about not being able to feed them exclusively breast milk. My body did not produce enough to feed two babies (no matter how hard I tried!) and I had to supplement a couple of bottles each day with formula. So, in order to “make up for that”, so to speak, I promised myself I would make their baby food. I wanted to be sure they were getting good, wholesome ingredients! 

 

Then the issue of time came up again. When reading up on how to make homemade purees, most of the blogs, pins, etc. that I found mentioned having to steam the vegetables or fruits. And they all called for a lot of prep work and messy clean-up. Like I didn’t have enough to prep or clean up already, am I right?!?

Eventually, after sorting through probably hundreds of pins during early-morning pumping sessions, I came across a couple moms who used mainly frozen vegetables and fruits, but instead of steaming they boiled the foods! They also added the water the food was boiled in to the mixture to help thin it out and to retain the nutrients, and then just puréed!

Now THAT sounded manageable; especially the fact that I could stock up on organic frozen fruits and veggies so if I didn’t have time to prep all the baby food in one day or even one week I didn’t have to worry about it going bad! There are definitely still some items I buy fresh either because I want some for myself or because they don’t offer frozen varieties (for example: apples, bananas, sweet potatoes).

 

OK, now that you have the back story, let’s get down to the real reason you are all here….how the heck do I do this, and what do I need??

SUPPLIES

  • Food (obviously)
  • Pot with lid
  • Spoon with holes (for straining)
  • Baby Bullet (or a similar food processor/blender)
  • Water
  • Silicone ice trays (or regular ice trays, I use both)
  • Ziploc storage bags
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Thoroughly wash all fresh produce.

Step 2: Peel, remove seeds, stems, pits, etc. as necessary.

Step 3: Cut into small cubes/pieces – this helps for even cooking! Frozen produce, in my experience, has usually been pre-cubed or the pieces are small enough that no additional cutting is necessary.

Step 4: Put cubes into your pot and add just enough water to cover the contents. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease heat and simmer until you can cut through with a spoon (times vary).

Step 5: Add cubes to blender and blend until there are no lumps. Add cooking water (this helps so you do not lose any nutrients!) until the puree is the desired thickness. 

  • For ingredients that do not require cooking (for example, bananas or avocado) I add fresh breast milk until it has reached the desired consistency. If you don’t have breast milk, water is fine!
  • Do NOT use the cooking water from carrots because of the nitrates it may contain.

Step 6: Let puree cool (because if you trip while trying to put a tray in the freezer and get it all over your arm, it hurts like a !@#$%) – I usually put it in the fridge and get started cooking something else.

Step 7: If you are making bulk amounts and planning to freeze and save for future use, pour the puree into your ice cube trays (regular trays freeze in about 1 ounce portions, the silicone ones that come with the bullet are 2 ounces) and freeze overnight.

  • If serving fresh, refrigerate to cool and serve within 48-72 hours. 

Step 8: Once frozen, transfer cubes to freezer safe storage bags. Be sure to label the bags with the name of the food and the date of preparation. It is best to use frozen purees within one month of cooking. 

Step 9: To thaw, pop them into a serving container and put in the fridge overnight!

See…easy peasy!! 

Here is a breakdown of what I made this past weekend, cost and then cost per serving!

Product

# Purchased

Cost per Unit

Total Servings

Cost per Serving

Kroger Baby Carrots (16 oz.) – fresh

1 bag

$1.29

8

$0.16

Bananas – fresh

4

$0.28

9

$0.12

Simple Truth Organic Frozen Peas

2 bags

$1.29

10

$0.26

Simple Truth Organic Frozen Mangos

2 bags

$2.79

10

$0.56

Simple Truth Organic Frozen Peaches

2 bags

$2.79

10

$0.56

Simple Truth Organic Frozen Butternut Squash

2 bags

$1.69

10

$0.34

Simple Truth Organic Frozen Green Beans

2 bags

$1.29

10

$0.26

TOTAL:

67 servings

$22.11

The average cost per serving is $0.33! Hank currently eats 3 servings per day (plus a bit of cereal, but for the purpose of this blog, I am ignoring that) so it costs me approximately $0.99 per day to feed him!

*Serving sizes are approximately 2 ounces

Other foods that make good, easy purees include:

  • Apples (fresh)
  • Sweet potatoes (fresh)
  • Potatoes (fresh)
  • Broccoli
  • Watermelon (fresh)
  • Blueberries 
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini (fresh)

And don’t be afraid to create your own combos (like apples and carrots, or mango and peaches) once any concerns of allergies have been addressed. I like to mix the thinner purees (like pears) with oatmeal cereal, too!

Check out my previous blog, Fun with Food, for a feeding schedule and details on when to introduce certain foods!

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