My eleven-month-old son Everett decided that he was done with baby food last week. I was feeding him lunch one day, and as I was preparing to give him his first bite, he karate chopped the spoon, and pureed carrot landed right below his left eye. My daughter and I laughed at the carrot-covered baby, and after I wiped his face, she said, “Mama, I don’t think he wants any more carrots.” I’m never one to ignore good advice, so I switched to papaya, but I barely got the spoon out of the bowl before Everett threw a mean right hook and ended up with papaya on the top of his head.
I decided to take his not-so-subtle hints that he’s ready to feed himself thankyouverymuch, and we’re about a week into exclusively self-feeding. We’ve had our fair share of peas smashed into the table, mac and cheese smeared in his hair and little bits of everything thrown across the room, so let’s just call it a work in progress for now. But before I’m too far removed from the first foods stage, I wanted to share my tried-and-true tips on how I make and store baby food.
Choose your weapon. There are a lot of really great baby food makers out there, but I found that with a vegetable steamer and a food processor, I was able to quickly and easily make large batches of baby food.
Research recipes. There are a lot of things I’m good at, but cooking is not one of them. And although most of the baby food I made for Everett consisted of a single ingredient, I needed all the help I could get when it came to finding the right recipes (sad, I know). There are a ton of great resources out there, but I relied on three websites that offer easy-to-follow instructions and great advice: Wholesome Baby Food, Weelicious and Sage Spoonfuls.
Make it in bulk. We juggle a lot as new parents, and anything you can do to save yourself a few steps and a little bit of time is totally worth it. That’s why I bought fruits and veggies in bulk and dedicated a few hours to making a lot of baby food at once. It was so much easier for me to find a few hours to dedicate to the process once a month than it would have been to make baby food on demand. Plus, my son likes to eat. A lot. It was easier to keep up with his ever-growing appetite when I had a freezer full of options.
Freeze it. What’s a mama to do with a gallon of pureed sweet potatoes? Freeze it, of course! Silicone ice cube trays are the perfect choice because each cube is one ounce, it’s easier to pop them out of the trays than with the plastic variety and the cubes are perfectly stackable, saving you valuable freezer space.
Store it. Store all those baby food cubes in gallon size Ziploc bags in your freezer (I prefer the kind with the slider). Write the type of food and the date you made it on the outside, and then stack the cubes inside—they fit seven across and seven high, in case you were wondering—that’s a whole lot of baby food! And if you want to take your freezer organization to the next level, invest in plastic storage bins to corral all those Ziploc bags—I had one for fruits and one for veggies.
It’s bittersweet that Everett is one step closer to independence, but I know many of you are just entering the world of baby food. So veteran mamas, please share! What are your best kept secrets for making and storing baby food?