I've had a couple of friends recently ask me how I find the time to make homemade baby food. I try to explain it's not necessarily a matter of finding time but making the most of the time you have available to make the food. Which of course means I have have an organized plan when I sit down to make the food...'cause I'm a geek for organization as we all know. I typically spend about an hour a week making food for my now 9 month old. I try to plan to make it on the day or two after I have worked since I will have freshly pumped breastmilk to use (I'm lucky to have a good supply frozen to use when I'm away at work). Once I've "scheduled" the time to make the food, here are sample of my plan to make baby food in a time efficient manner:
- I choose foods that need to be prepared different ways. For instance I'll pick a non-cook (bananas, avocados, frozen berries, very ripe pears), 2-3 steam items (veggies like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, carrots), and a bake item (sweet potatoes, squash, potatoes).
- I put the bake item in the oven since it takes the longest to cook.
- I start the pot of water with the steam basket and start steaming the first item.
- I chop and puree the non-cook item. Once I have finished pureeing and storing the non-cook item, the 1st stem item is usually ready.
- I put the 1st steam item into the blender and add the 2nd steam item to the steamer in the already boiling pot of water. I puree & store the 1st steam item then move to the 2nd steam item ( I think you see where this is going).
- Puree & store the 2nd steam item. Repeat steaming step if you would like to do a 3rd item.
- Check the baking item. If it is finished, pull it out of the oven and let it cool.
- If you are looking to make a grain (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, millet), use some of the steaming water to prepare your grain at this time while the baking item is cooling. (Be careful not to burn yourself when moving/pouring hot water).
- Once baking item has cooled to the touch, chop, puree & store baking item.
- Depending on if and what grain you choose, it should be ready in around 20 minutes or less. Start cleaning up if it isn't quite ready once you've finished your purees. Once it's finished, let it cool a bit then divide and store it.
There you go! You've spent about an hour and made a whole bunch of baby food. Now, I wanted to focus on the process so I didn't go into much detail about how to tell if it's done or not. There are tons of websites and baby food cookbooks out there that can answer these questions for the age of your child. Also, I freeze everything I make in ice cube trays that make .75 oz cubes. I like these from OXO because they come with slide on lids.