Let me start by saying that I absolutely love making baby food. I don’t do it just because it’s cheaper and I know everything that is in it, but because I truly love making it. It’s another way that I can show my children and family how much I love them, by preparing healthy and delicious foods that I’m proud to serve. Cooking in my home is a family event, my husband loves to get involved (and has really become an excellent cook) and my son is starting to help in the kitchen as well; its a great bonding experience for all of us.
If you are just looking into trying to DIY your own purees and aren’t sure if its something that you’d like to do, make sure you watch for my next post: 10 reasons why you can and should make your own baby food.
Okay, getting to the point! There is a lot of fancy equipment out there tailored to families making baby food purees for their little ones, and while they are all really neat and could make your life easier (…maybe?), it really isn’t all necessary. Matter of fact, I’d argue that you don’t even need a kitchen, you could even make it on a cooking range or over a fire if you were clever enough. But I digress, most of you are probably reading this from your homes with a kitchen which probably has most of the supplies you need.
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First, you’ll need a nice sharp knife or two, for chopping and peeling vegetables/fruits. I’m a fan of this set. Also, a cutting board or two. I love these bendy thin plastic ones because you can carry them over and dump into the steamer or pot that you’re using to cook.
You’ll also need something that will help you steam vegetables and fruits. There are several options. I have a pot that came with a steamer basket and lid that fit together, and also bought a larger stock pot with a large steamer basket to make bigger batches, and work great for steaming seafood! You can find some on amazon, here, here and here. Another option is a steamer basket that fans out to fit over a pot that you already own, like this one. There are also machines that are designed specifically for steaming food, like this one. Or, if you already own an Instant Pot there are steaming options with it (or if you’re on the fence, here’s another reason to buy one!).
I also like to roast many fruits and vegetables (and poultry later on) in the oven, so having a nice thick cookie sheet or oven pan, like this one, is a big help.
The other thing that is a must have is a way to puree the food. You have several options. Most blenders will do the job just fine, but you could also use a food processor or vitamix. I currently use a kitchen aid food processor, but I also own a Ninja blender which works great, and if you’re just blending up a small batch or something quick this mini food processor is terrific!
Storage is also important, you don’t want your hard work to go to waste by having no where to store it! If you’re making larger batches, you’ll want some ice-cube trays. When making my son’s purees I just bought regular ice-cube trays at the dollar store that were BPA-free and they held up pretty well. This time I’m planning to invest in some silicone trays because I’ve heard they are much easier to remove the food from. After frozen, I transfer into freezer bags and label them with a sharpie marker. I’m also eyeing up these containers that you can freeze and then use the same container to heat and serve, so brilliant!
The last thing that you will need is obviously some vegetables, fruits, and grains to create your purees. There are so many options here, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by farmer’s markets, co-ops, and families who grow their own produce so that is what I rely on during the summer and fall months. You can absolutely purchase fresh produce from your local grocery stores, and even frozen can be a good option. I would try to stay away from canned fruits and vegetables as they tend to be loaded with extra sodium and sugars/syrups.
Making baby food doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time and extra money spent on fancy equipment. Feel free to experiment with the tools that you already have in your kitchen, and if you feel inclined to splurge on some fun tools as you go, go for it!