This…

…is a growing boy.

He has just started eating his first foods outside of what mama provides, and it’s breaking my heart! Wasn’t he just born yesterday?

So the “What’s in my…Wednesday” topic for this week is making a freezing baby food.  I did this some with my first two kids, but wasn’t able to prepare too much because those were the days I was a working mom. I have really enjoyed getting to stay at home this go around.

Yesterday, I made this.

It’s a bag full of frozen, single portions of butternut squash. I also made baby food out of sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries and apples. I’m currently contemplating some other options. I’ve been reading, thanks to a friend (Hi Brigett A.) that fat content is good for brain development. A little butter in the finished product for example is not a bad idea. We use some amazing Amish butter that we get from Simply Cheese. An egg yolk mashed up is a great idea too.

Why make your own you ask?

1.  I control the ingredients. No preservatives, just squash.

2.  It’s cheaper.

3. Less waste.

4. I make the meals for the rest of the family, why not his meals too?

There are a few handy items for doing this. You’ll of course want a crock pot and/or steamer baskets, roasting pans, ect… to prepare the food the way you would like to. I roasted the squash, and the sweet potatoes, and then cooked the blueberries and apples in the crock pot. I was able to do all of these simultaneously, so it didn’t take hours and hours of time. The roasting was done in an hour, the apples a little longer.

Here are some other handy tools.

The tool in the back is a food mill. I don’t have a food processor, so I use this. It’s handy and very easy to use. I also think it’s easier to clean out quickly when changing the foods that I am running through it. It rinses off easily.  The ice trays and muffin pan are great containers to freeze perfect portions in.

Here is a picture of the apples I let soften in the crock pot.

I let them cook just long enough to get good and mushy. Next I ran them through the food mill to make sure the texture was perfect for little Johnny’s inexperienced palate.

Next I just flash freeze them in the appropriate containers. Here you see the applesauce, both versions.

The blueberry applesauce probably won’t be used for a couple of months. I want to make sure his little system can handle a few other things first. Even though they are tiny, the blueberries have seeds that could irritate him.

Once they are frozen, you can just pop them out and throw them all in a freezer bag together. Just take out one portion at a time and thaw it in a ziploc  in warm water on it’s own when you are ready to use it. The thawing ziploc can be reused.

In addition to the meals that I freeze, avocados, bananas, rice cereals (I like Earth’s Best) and a handful of other foods  of course can be made on demand. That way over time he’ll get a little variety. If you are new at this, keep in mind that it is a good idea to introduce only one new food every four days too make sure they don’t have any problems with it. I also suggest that you go organic if you can, and even better, local if it is available. This is a tough time of year to come by local sometimes, but come spring most folks will have that option if they look for it. Try to get is straight from the source if you can too. Cutting out the middle man will save you lots of money. If you haven’t followed my blog for long, you may want to check this out for a little more information on local food.

All of my kids started foods around the age of 5 months. The recommendation is to wait till 6 months, but I really believe you have to pay attention to the needs of your child. There is no magic, exact, age that fits every baby. Johnny is a HONGRY boy, a ravenous and eager breast feeder. When ever he was near one of us that happened to be eating, he was fascinated. He would track the spoon with his eyes, from the plate to our mouths over and over. It was clear he had interest in it. Sure enough, just as his brother and sister before him, when it came time to feed him that first meal, he was not satisfied with the speed of the spoon from taste to taste.

Homemade baby food is not for everyone. While I think it is the ideal, I used to be a working mama myself and I know the demands that entails. Making it yourself may seem monumental if that is your case. I encourage you though, from time to time to throw something in the crock pot and give it a try. I think you’ll find it’s easier than you think, and it makes a ton of meals so you don’t have to do it very often.

So, that is what is in my FREEZER this Wednesday. I’m curious. Have you ever made your own? Got a great baby food recipe? I’d love for you to share.

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