Homemade Baby Food for the Freezer

Guest Post by Erin from $5 Dinners

A great way to save money when you’ve got a little one crawling under foot is to make your own baby food. The average price at my grocery store for a 1-serving jar of baby food, stage 1, is $0.51. From my rough calculations, you can save an average of 75% by spending a few minutes in the kitchen to make your own food — especially if you buy in season and get the best prices on that fresh produce.

While I prefer cooking in the kitchen each night for our “big people” meals, I’ve found it works really well for me to have a Freezer Cooking Day once a month preparing homemade baby food.

Here are a few tips for making homemade baby food efficiently and cost-effectively:

Planning

Watch the sale prices on produce. If butternut squash or sweet potatoes are on sale, but your Baby Food Freezer Cooking Day isn’t for another 2 weeks, that’s okay. Purchase the vegetables that will last longer when you see them on sale. Then, get other produce, apples, pears, mangoes, that won’t stay fresh as long just before your baby food prep day.

Timing

If it’s not too overwhelming for you, plan your baby food making into your regular Freezer Cooking Day. If that is overwhelming, plan another “1/4 day” to prepare just the baby food.

Execution

The biggest “hang-up” that I’ve experienced is not having enough ice cube trays. I get all my purees made up and then fill up all my ice cube trays, while the next puree “waits in line” for a tray!

Plan to make enough purees for the first set of trays, then busy yourself while those sit in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Put the then-frozen purees into a freezer baggie, wash the trays and pour in the next purees. Freeze, wash, pour, repeat. You can simply work these steps into your Freezer Cooking Day.

Serving

The ideal way to thaw homemade baby food is to remove the number of cubes needed for the next meal and place them in the refrigerator overnight. But I know I have a hard enough time remember where I left my car keys or cell phone, let alone remembering to take out a few baby food cubes.

So when necessary, thaw the cubes on the counter for 30 minutes. Mix in a little warm water and baby cereal to speed up the thawing. And in desperate moments, thaw the cubes in the microwave. But never give baby hot food! Always test temperature by touching the food with clean finger.

A Quick Tutorial on Preparing Homemade Sweet Potatoes for Baby:

1. Slit sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees in a glass baking dish with 1 cup of water, covered with foil, for 50-65 minutes, or until all the sweet potatoes are soft. Remove foil and drain foil. Let cool 10-15 minutes.

2. The sweet potato skins will practically fall off after they are “steam-baked.” Drop the sweet potato flesh into a blender or food processor.

3. Add enough water to form the consistency you wish for your baby food.

4. Puree.

5. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Place frozen cubes into freezer baggie.

6. Serve to hungry, growing baby!

Have you successfully made homemade baby food? If so, share what worked. Did you find it difficult or frustrating? We’d love to answer questions.

If you’ve blogged about your experience, leave your link at the $5 Dinners Homemade Baby Food Page.

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