- ice cube trays
- something to store the food in like tin foil, freezer bags, or tupperware
Choose your food wisely. Things that freeze well are sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli, carrots, rice, pastas, applesauce, etc.. Things that don't freeze well are white potatoes, bananas, and celery (plus more that I'm just not aware of, I'm sure). If you can afford it, buy organic and local! This will reduce your risk of allergens, food diseases, and exposure to chemicals.
Preparing the food:
- Wash fruits and vegetabls.
- Prepare the fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat as you would normally. Baking or steaming is preferred as these will preserve more nutrients than microwaving, boiling, or sauteing.
- Don't put any added fats, sugars, or dyes into the food. Keep things pure and natural!
- Once food is soft, put some liquid (mama's milk is best!) into the bottom of your blender and then add chunks of the soft food on top. Liquids to consider would be breast milk, formula, water, or diluted 100% fruit juice. Be sure to only use enough liquid to get the food to blend properly.
- Poor or scoop the now pureed food into ice cube trays, and pop into the freezer with a sheet of wax paper sitting lightly on top to reduce any freezer burn.
- Once things are frozen (around an hour or two, depending on the temperature of the food and freezer), pop the cubes out and put them in a sealed container (or wrapped in foil) for storage. Be sure to write the contents and date of the food on the package!
- Ideally, take however many cubes your baby will eat out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge over night. Otherwise, thaw them in any method you choose.
- Once it's unthawed, mix fresh mama's milk, formula, water, or diluted 100% fruit juice with the food until you achieve your desired consitency. Why not do this before freezing? Because then you'll take up more freezer space (the cubes are denser when containing more food and less liquid), and you will also be able to adjust the food to the consistency your baby needs as time goes on (a 6-monther will need a smoother and thinner consistency than a 9-monther will).
- Warm on stove, in oven, or microwave (least desireable). Be sure to stir well and test the temperature before feeding to your baby!
- Note that most food stored properly in a deep freezer will keep for up to one year.
LoveBug always enjoyed our "home made" food better than out of a jar--and I don't blame her! It's much tastier, is more pleasing aromatically and aesthetically, and fresh! Many people are turned off by the thought of making their own food because they think it'll take a lot of time. Honestly, it really doesn't. I cooked three large sweet potatoes in the oven (5 minutes for washing, poking holes, putting in the oven, and then taking them out later), mixed them all in the blender at the same time (another 5 minutes?), froze them, and stored them. This all took less physical time for me than a trip to the grocery store, and I didn't have a zillion little glass jars to clean out when we were all done. :-) You'll be surprised at how LONG three sweet potatoes will last for a baby!
The key is to make a lot at once. A few potatoes, a head of broccoli, or a pot of rice. A little goes a long way for babies, and even making food once a month will last for the entire month. If you don't have enough ice cube trays (which you probably don't), just store the food in the fridge as you get through freezing everything. The effort put into this should be less than it takes to go to the store, and the peace of mind you'll have knowing that you're providing better and cheaper food for your baby can't be beat!
Upcoming this week: reviews of SAFE eating products for babies and toddlers!
We'll visit companies like Zak!, bambu KIDS, and more