Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My baby has a chef

Last week at the grocery store I purchased "representatives" from a large selection of the produce department. I wish I could say it was for my own consumption; however, I am venturing into the world of making healthy, balanced meals for my son. Until last week, I had never purchased a butternut squash, let alone prepared one.

Similar to canning, a good amount of effort and clean-up was required--but I also felt that satisfaction that comes from having a more active role in what is being eaten in your own household.

Although we tried other store-bought foods while we were on vacation, here's the home-prepared stuff my son has tried (and loved) this week: nectarine, plum, butternut squash, pear, sweet potato, mango and avocado*. Foods in bold needed no additional cooking/softening, so I just placed chunks of them in my handy food mill (Thanks, Mom A.!), and cranked out lovely pureed fruits and veggies. The other three foods required some steaming/baking before going through the mill. I kept out 2-3 portions to be served fresh from the fridge, and froze the others in 1-ounce portions in ice cube trays. (*I did not strain or freeze the avocado, as it was extremely easy to mash and seems better fresh. After giving my son a sample, I made the rest into some fabulous guacamole for myself.)

This first round was experimental. I wanted to see how much each fruit/veggie cost, how much effort was involved in preparing the food to be baby-friendly, and if my son would even eat it. In purchasing single items, I felt the squash and sweet potato delivered the most "bang for the buck." Conversely, even after steaming the pear, I found it difficult to work with and will probably stick with other fruits for now. Applesauce is so easy and inexpensive that I am purchasing it until I can make some of my own with local apples in the fall.

There is so much I want to learn about this process. I found lots of helpful info on-line, but am excitedly waiting for my copy of this to arrive via interlibrary loan.

Check out this comparison of home-prepared vs. store-bought green beans--what a difference!


MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I was planning a post on this sometime this week. How funny! Megan is basicly on table food now. I have been taking our left over veggies and mashing or cutting into her size bites and freezing them in ice cube trays. So far I have been able to freeze sweet potatos (big hit), broccoli, califlower & carrots. So great for lunch or when we are eating foods that aren't appropriate for her yet.

thehomespunheart said...

Wow - love the comparison of green beans! Icky store bought ones and beautiful home made ones!

I figured out when I made it that it was a little more than half price to make the same amount already purchased in a jar. So, there are definitely some savings.

But, the best investment is, as you said, the investment in knowing he is eating healthier. Meanwhile, I serve Rachel out of a jar - sigh.

Great job!

A, B & C said...

I will be posting in a few days about the baby food that I've been making, but in the meantime, check out the book "First Meals" by Annabel Karmel. We use it to make just dinners for our daughter and we puree some for her (and to freeze) and then eat some ourselves- it's so good. Love Bug can't get enough and it's easy and makes lots of portions.
Abbey :-)

Saph said...

Wow about the green beans. That's kinda why I don't buy canned green beans anymore. I only buy frozen for my family to eat. I used to use my hand blender to puree sweet potatoes, green beans and squash. It was so easy I'm surprised more people don't do it. I only ever made enough for 2-3 meals (depending on how big the 1 sweet potato or squash was).
My little girl is now almost 3 so it's been a looong time since I had to mush up food for her. LOL

Leah in Iowa said...

Good for you, Carrie! Doesn't it feel great to know *exactly* what your baby is eating? So healthy, nutritious, and beautiful (as shown by your green bean sample)!

I once heard someone say that if you can't pronounce something in the food's ingredient list, you shouldn't eat it. And even more recently, if a food HAS an ingredient list, it'd be better not to eat it. I don't know if I could take it that far, but it sure sounds good! Sigh.

Susan said...

I will be starting our little guy on the baby food thing in a month. I am very interested with the what you are doing.The comparison with the green beans really is shocking.

Amy said...

Great comparison on the store-bought version versus the fresh. I made all of our son's baby food in one day and made a six month supply.

Imagine my disappointment when our power went out and all of my cubes became a giant slush :( All that hard work literally down the drain!


Anonymous said...

Great job, Carrie!
Love, Mom

Jody said...

I made all the girl's baby food. Unless we were traveling- then the pre-made was easier. But, still, cooking, mushing and freezing food is easy and so much cheaper. Not to mention- just better! And Brenna still loves fruit and veggies.

groovyoldlady said...

I've had 4 kids and we never bought jarred baby food. Homemade really isn't that hard. I had a little hand grinder that just mushed up our "adult" food for the table. Naturally we modified the salt and spices, but that was easy too.

Kudos to you for making your own!