Making baby food from scratch is a snap, and a bargain

My bright red KitchenAid mixer taunts me from the corner of my kitchen counter. It is more of a decoration than a baking tool. I am no Suzy Homemaker.

But when my girlfriend told me she would teach me how to make homemade baby food, I took on the challenge. For one, she promised it was easy. Secondly, it was a healthier option. Lastly, it would save money.

If you are a parent, you know how expensive babies are. Having a baby has brought out the budgeter in me. In order to be very economical one has to have time, skill and patience. I struggle with all three.

Economical options such as cloth diapers just means more laundry. Sewing clothes requires skill. Secondhand store shopping takes energy. I barely had the patience to breast-feed.

However, if making baby food were really going to be easy, then why not provide my baby with healthy, organic food and save some pennies? So I put that KitchenAid to use and surprised myself.

First step was grabbing some yummy, organic produce. Filling bag after bag, I got carried away with all the new tastes that Audrey was now, at 6 months old, able to eat. At checkout, the cost was around $40.

That night, my girlfriend came over with her peeler and steamer, and we got to work. The stove was covered with pots of boiling yams, sweet potatoes, apples and pears. The steamer worked away at the green beans, spinach and carrots, and the blender or KitchenAid constantly hummed in the kitchen. It was like Christmas Day.

And what a gift I got — or should I say, Audrey got. After pouring the food into ice cube trays and freezing them, I popped the 1-ounce-serving-size cubes into gallon-size freezer bags and labeled away.

Each mealtime, I take one to two cubes and get adventurous with mixing. Apples, potatoes and rice; carrots, green beans and wheat; or bananas, pears and oatmeal. She has devoured all of it, even the spinach.

Forty dollars’ worth lasted a little more than one month, producing three 6- to 10-ounce meals a day. And it took only about three hours to make.

Last week, I conquered Stage 2 foods: chicken, turkey, avocado, cheese, yogurt, pasta and all the good vegetables and fruits. Cost at checkout was about $10 more. In addition to those foods, you can add others on the spot, creating entrees such as puréed turkey with potatoes and cheddar topping or yogurt with blueberries and oatmeal. Take that, Rachael Ray!

I couldn’t believe it — it was easy! I gave myself a pat on the back and no longer feel distance between my KitchenAid and me.

If you are interested in learning more or joining me the next time I hit the kitchen for baby goods, please send me an e-mail at the address below. Thank you to Ashley for help and motivation. 

By the numbers:

$40 — My produce bill for a one-month supply of homemade baby food at 6 to 10 ounces per day
$100-$150 —
Cost for one-month supply of store-bought baby food at 6 to 10 ounces per day
90 —
percent of Gerber baby foods containing water, sugar, flour and salt fillers
600 —
Jars of baby food consumed by most infants by the age of 12 months (cost: $600-$1,000)
3 to 5 —
number of hours representing the average time (with a helper) to make a one-month supply of baby food

check here tomorrow for Stage Two food making!

Brittany My ABC Soup is published every third Sunday in The News-Review
 
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