Making Baby Food
I opted to try making my own baby food. Something about feeding my baby pureed, tasteless food from a jar just doesn’t appeal to me. Fresh is usually preferable when it comes to food, whether you’re feeding yourself, your kid or your gazillion animals. We have a Cuisinart Premier Series 11-Cup Food Processor at home, but aside from my step mother in law using it for chili prep it’s never been used. I’ve never used a food processor before in my life and the idea of figuring out this one was pretty intimidating. It has so many parts. We’d also misplaced the manual. So even though I bought a yam, sweet potato and summer squash weeks ago I had yet to do anything with them.
We started solids a month ago and I’ve been feeding V mostly cereals. Oatmeal is her favorite and it has allowed me to sneak in foods she normally spits out (banana and avocado). Still, those other food items kept staring at me from the counter. Finally I bit the bullet and searched for the manual online (of course after I’d printed out a few pages I found the real thing). After looking over the instructions I thought I’d figured the machine out enough to attempt using it. Last night I had no time to cook, but I carefully laid out all my baby cooking items for today.
Step 1: Bake!
I must admit I’ve never cooked yams, sweet potatoes or summer squash before. Yams and sweet potatoes are just like potatoes right? I poked them with a fork and threw them in the oven. The squash thankfully came with instructions right on the label. I sliced it into quarters, put it in a Pyrex container with a little bit of water and put that in the oven as well. I baked for an hour at 400 degrees, which turned out to be a bit overkill but it did make things nice and soft. Note: Don’t go entirely off my bake time/temp. My oven sucks, and we normally have to add 15 degrees and 15 minutes to every recipe minimum.
Step 2: Puree
I started out with the squash. Honestly it was baked so long I could have just mashed it with a fork and things would have been dandy. I’d committed myself to trying the food processor though.Thankfully the it turned out to be really easy to operate and clean. I cut the squash into one inch cubes (or as close as I could) and threw them in the processor one quarter at a time. The squash was so big I ended up using only half of it and feeding the rest to my birds. I’d originally bought the smallest squash, yam and potato that I could find. The yam and potato yielded very little so next time I’ll have to go bigger. The squash I pureed with the skin; the other two I did not (only because I had not scrubbed them).
The process was so easy that I decided to do even more. I took a pear and two apples and pureed those with the skins. It came out a little watery (it is fruit after all) so I’ll probably end up mixing this one with oatmeal to bulk it up. Next I took some precooked chicken strips and pureed them. They got chopped up nice and fine, but seemed a bit dry so I tried adding water. This ended up straining my machine as the chicken began to congeal into two large putty balls. I also steamed some broccoli and pureed that.
Step 3: Freezing
I used up virtually all my small tupperware for fridge portions. The rest I placed into ice cube trays for freezing. I did run out of trays so I had to use tupperware on the chicken and broccoli. V now has quite a few meals in the freezer, as well as some of each in the fridge.