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Make Your Own Baby Food
Part I - Vegetables

With my first, I used the jarred baby food. In the last few months since the birth of my second child, I have been searching out recipes for baby food and found that it is very simple and much cheaper in most cases to make your own baby food. I bought a very large yam(sweet potato) for 84˘Cdn. (54˘U.S.) and that made 22 servings for my six month old. That works out to 3.8˘ (2.5˘) a serving. The bag of carrots was $1.25Cdn. (80˘U.S.) and that made 20 servings (plus two carrots for my preschooler). That works out to 6.3˘ (4˘) a serving. That being said, the fact that I know exactly what is in my baby's food, is a bonus. Most commercially prepared baby food doesn't have added sugar or salt, but some brands do use some form of preservative in certain varieties.

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Whichever food you choose to feed your baby, of course is up to you, but here are some options if you choose to make it at home yourself.

I started my baby on sweet potatoes then carrots, but the method would be basically the same for almost all vegetables.
Also See: Make Your Own Baby Food, Part II - Fruit

You will need:

a steamer (I used a pot and a vegetable steamer that sits on legs inside the pot.)
a blender or a food processor
ice cube trays. How many will depend on how much food you are making. One large yam or a two pound bag of carrots will fill approximately 22 sections.
Freezer bags or freezer containers
Plastic cling film
Vegetables ie: yam, carrots, peas, white potatoes, yellow beans, green beans etc.
**Use fresh vegetables whenever possible, frozen come in a close second. Try to avoid canned vegetables, as most contain added salt.

To Begin:

Wash and/or peel your vegetables. Cut into small pieces to ensure that you are not over cooking and loosing nutrients, or under cooking.
Steam until tender then place in blender. Save the liquid in the pot for thinning the vegetables.
Puree, adding the liquid a little at a time, (I used about 2 tbsp, then 1 tbsp as it thinned out), until the desired consistency is reached. You can always thicken the mixture when serving with a little cereal.
Spoon the mixture into the ice cube trays.
Cover the tray with cling film and place in the freezer.
Once they are frozen, pop them out into freezer bags or containers and label them with the date and what vegetable they are. Peas and green beans look surprisingly similar when they are pureed! :)
To thaw, simply move a cube or two from the freezer to the fridge in the morning, or place in the microwave on a low setting when needed.

That's it! Seems like a lot of writing for a simple process, but the whole thing took me about 30-40 minutes with the yam and about an hour for the carrots (peeling them takes longer), from getting the stuff out of the cupboard and fridge, to washing up. I let them freeze overnight and popped them out in the morning! Doing this after the kids are in bed, makes it a lot easier too!

Once your baby has been introduced to different vegetables, you can mix them and make mixed vegies. Carrots, peas and green beans or sweet potatoes and peas, etc...

If you are cooking supper for your whole family, it is very easy to remove a few vegetables from the pot and puree them in a mini chopper or blender too.

Have fun and I hope you enjoy making food for your baby as much as I do!

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Useful Links:
Make Your Own Baby Food, Part II - Fruit
Home Preparation and Storage of Baby Food
A Working Mother's Guide - Complete with Recipes

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