So, last week (or maybe the week before last by the time this post goes live...I'm a slacker) I shared some reasons to choose homemade baby food over store bought. The homemade stuff is more economical, better quality, creates less waste and allows for more creativity on your part. If you didn't get a chance to read the post and you'd like to know more, you can click here. But then come back! Because I'm about to tell you what you'll need to get started making your own baby food.
Most of the fruits and vegetables you'll use will need to be steamed or boiled before they can be pureed. At least, for the first few months or so when your baby isn't quite ready to handle anything chunky. For the boiling part all you need is a large pot. Simple enough. I'm still out on the debate over which type of cookware is safest because it seems like just about everything has a downside. So, until the magical answer appears, just avoid anything with a non-stick coating. There are a few options for steaming. You could invest in one of those fancy electric steamers. But if you're on a budget or don't have a lot of counter space, a strainer works just as well. This one works great and I think this one is really clever.
This is the fun part. And there are a lot of ways to do it. Option A: a hand-mill. These are great because they're portable and don't require electricity. But, they do require a little bit of labor. If you want to give it a go, try out this one. Option B: an all-in-one baby food maker. These nifty little gadgets steam, puree, heat and cool. But, I used one of these back in my nannying days and found it to be a little more trouble than it's worth. That being said, a lot of people swear by this one. Option C: a food processor or blender. I used a food processor to make all of my daughter's food and absolutely loved it. They're pretty compact, easy to use and more importantly easy to clean. This, this and this are sure to get the job done.
Freezing & Storing:
If you're making baby food in large batches (I found it to be the most efficient way) you'll need to store what you're not immediately using. Freezing trays allow you to divide the purees into individuals portions that just happen to be the perfect serving size for babies. These sealed trays are great for freezing and storing. When your baby graduates to tot status and needs larger portions, these and these might be good options.