Homemade organic baby food is fresh, healthy, tastes better than jarred and cuts down on packaging waste. The one downside is that organic food costs continue to rise. No worries, though; you can make excellent organic baby food, even on a budget.
What you’ll need:
- Pot, drainer and fork
- Blender, baby food grinder or food processor
- Inexpensive vegetable steamer
- Ice cube trays
- Freezer-safe containers
- Organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice and lentils, and basic spices
How to save money on ingredients:
- Places like Whole Foods are nice. But it's usually more expensive to buy food at stores that focus on natural and organic food than it is to buy organics from your local food co-op or from a regular grocery store.
- Learn which foods to buy organic and skip other food items unless you have room in your budget. For example, apples and berries are high-pesticide fruits. Bananas, on the other hand, are a low-pesticide food.
- One way around the cost of expensive organic meat is to use organic tofu in baby food instead. Also, babies can thrive on a vegetarian diet. Talk to your baby's pediatrician or a registered dietitian about how to plan nutritious vegetarian meals.
- Buy in-season produce.
- Buy frozen organic produce, which packs a nutritious punch, but can cost less than fresh.
- If you have the space and time, grow your own organic vegetables.
- Buy organic brown rice, grains, beans and other foods in bulk. Many co-ops offer an organic bulk food area.
- Visit your local farmers market to find inexpensive organic produce.
Remember, while making organic baby food may seem expensive, a jar of organic baby food can cost $1 and up. Fresh organic baby food cubes cost even more. You can easily spend more than $25 a week on baby food. It does cost less to make your own.
How to make organic baby food:
These guidelines are for making a basic baby puree or mash. For added nutrition, blended grains such as lentils or brown rice can be added to any vegetable or fruit puree. Be creative. For example, apples and carrots go well together, and don't be afraid of tiny amounts of spices for added flavor.
1) Clean your veggies and fruits. Peel off tough skins and then wash well. If you're not using certified organic produce be sure to peel them no matter what and scrub them well.
2) Remove seeds, and if cooking a food like spinach, remove the hard stems.
3) Steam or boil your produce. Steaming will retain more nutrients, but boiling is fine if you don't have a steamer.
4) Once your vegetable or fruit is soft and tender, drain and cool.
5) Mash with a fork, blend in the blender or grind in a baby food grinder to the suitable baby-age texture.
6) Serve immediately and freeze any remaining food in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and store in a date-labeled, freezer-safe container.
7) Homemade baby food can be stored in the freezer for two months or kept in the fridge for three days.
Two basic baby food recipes:
1. Organic pumpkin and broccoli: Steam half a cup organic broccoli until bright green and soft. Blend the broccoli with a quarter cup pureed organic pumpkin. Add a small dash of nutmeg.
2. Organic ginger peas and potatoes: Boil one small, peeled organic potato and steam 1.5 cups of organic peas. Blend both with a tiny pinch of ground ginger.