I once worked in a cannery.
Yeah, I was the security guard, but it’s hard to avoid seeing what they are doing.
Say peaches. First you dunk the peaches quickly in very hot water so as to make it easier to remove all of the skin.
Then you cut off the bruises, bad bits etc. These go in one bin, the ‘good’ bits go in another bin, both heading down different conveyor belts.
The bruised and bad bits went to the baby food section.
That was in 1997, so I can’t claim to know that some of the major baby food companies still do this, but there were at least TWO major companies that got their product from this particular cannery I worked at in Nor Cal.
Plus have you ever TASTED baby food? Even the apple sauce is bland and tasteless! No wonder little kids grow up and are so food picky, all their food tastes like NOTHING as a baby, so they get overwhelmed when food has taste later on! How on earth do you make apples bland? Or carrots? Weirrrd.
Morgan, my 13 yo got homemade baby food because I was waaaaaay to dang poor to be buying the pre-made stuff. Ian and Owyn were conceived after working at the cannery.
So I’ve done a lot of homemade baby food in my life. And lets not forget my godson Sam, who spent over 8-9 hours a day 5-6 days a week for over a year of his life at my house. All in prime baby food time. But you know, it’d never occurred to Sam’s mom that it was easier and less time consuming, PLUS cheaper (and they were pretty broke) to make Sam’s food instead of paying a dollar for 2-3 jars of food. When I could make 10-15 jars of food for a dollar.
Then I’ve found other moms who’d never even thought about making their own food. It’s like the pre-made stuff is just so prevalent, that no one really thinks outside the lines unless they were raised that way or have ‘hippie’ leanings.
So I’ve amassed tips from the internet, tips from me, recipes, etc and put em all here in one spot so as to make finding the information a lot easier instead of having to give out a billion different links while referring to my bookmarks and trying to remember what’s what…
-Ice cube trays are ideal for freezing small amounts of puréed foods at first. Each cube should be about one ounce. Once frozen, pop out the cubes, store in a sealed plastic bag, and use within two months.
-For larger amounts of food, use old baby food jars. If you add the food in while it is hot, then shut the jar, it seals because of the heat. However, freezing the jar ensures that the food will not go bad, and it can last several months in the freezer.
-Discard uneaten food, don’t save it because bacteria forms very quickly.
-Introduce new foods at the rate of one per week, so you can pinpoint any allergies.
-Try meats once your child has accepted most vegetables and fruits.
-Steam or microwave (I’m not a big believer in microwaves for cooking food, blech) vegetables and fruits, instead of boiling. This will retain more vitamins and minerals.
-For thinners: water left from steaming, breast milk, formula, yogurt, broth, or juice.
-For thickeners: Baby cereals, yogurt, mashed white or sweet potatoes, and tofu.
-Don’t feed nuts, raisins, popcorn, raw vegetables, hot dogs, or unpeeled fruits to children under the age of 2, these are all a choking hazard
-Don’t give honey to children under the age of one year due to potential contraction of infant botulism.
-Don’t give beets, spinach, collards or turnip greens to babies under one year of age due to high concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which can reduce the baby’s hemoglobin.
-Don’t add salt or sugar to the baby’s food. Other spices may cause gas in the baby, so introduce them one at a time so as to pinpoint any sensitivities
-Don’t use canned vegetables as they are usually loaded with sodium and additives.Check labels, but usually frozen vegetables have little or no sodium.
-Don’t use a microwave to warm foods. Even well-stirred foods could have dangerous hot spots. If you do, use the defrost cycle, checking and stirring often. Always test the temperature by touching a spoonful to the outside of your upper lip. Be sure to wash the spoon before using.
-Don’t put diluted foods into a bottle with a larger hole in the nipple for night feedings. It’s dangerous, bad for the teeth, and doesn’t build good eating habits.
-Don’t give highly acidic fruits, such as oranges, tangerines and pineapples, to babies under one year as the acid is harsh on the immature digestive system.
-Don’t feed egg whites to babies under one year of age, due to potential allergic reaction. Cooked egg yolks are fine.
-Don’t force feed your child. To begin solids foods, start with one or two spoonfuls and let your baby guide you.
-Don’t limit your child’s fat intake during the first two years. Fats are very necessary to babies total development.
Fruits and veggies fridge=2-3 days freezer=6-8 months
Meat fridge=1 day freezer=1-2 months
Meat/veggie combo fridge=1-2 days freezer=3-4 months
Egg yolks fridge=1 day freezer=1-2 months
Baby Food Recipes.
I generally start out with apples, carrots and peas for infants, cooked well, puréed in the blender, with extra juice from the pot water added (the water left over from steaming or slow cooking) to make the consistency thin enough for a small baby to suck down (they aren’t used to eating, they are used to sucking).
Then I introduce stuff like sweet potatoes, peaches, green beans, and mixed veggies (I like to buy the frozen bags of veggies or fruits where I can, cook the whole bag, then freeze in jars)
Then I start mixing them up. Add a bit of cinnamon to the apples, carrots and apples? Yum, peas with sweet potatoes? Yum again.
Plus adding in legumes, green beans with split peas. Black eyed peas with apples or peaches….
Once they’ve gotten so they like all of that, then I start feeding them bits of meat we’ve cooked for ourselves, well puréed, and mixed with the veggies. Most of my kids really don’t like the taste of meat much until they are almost two, so they get legumes to eat, plus tofu puréed into their veggies to make sure they are getting enough protein. (Sam loved carrots and sweet potatoes so much he turned kind of orange! His pediatrician said that was ok, and to just tone it down a bit with the orange foods LOL)
Then they start getting our table food puréed. We had spaghetti? Purée it, Beef Stew, puréed.
As they get older, they start getting more finger foods. So I might freeze individual baby jar portions of the chicken stew for them to pick through, with hardly any juice, and then spoon feed them the puréed version of that stew with lots of the juice (which is where all the uber healthy garlic is LOL) while they are picking at their food.
When they get good enough to not need much in the way of parental feeding, it’s all table food from there.. Same as what you would feed any other kid.
About.com’s homemade baby food recipes
Making Baby Food in the Crock Pot
Mini Meat Loaf
Tiny Tot Turkey
Specific Fruits and Vegetables
Homemade Rice Cereal
First Foods recipes (keep scrolling, ads are annoying but there is good info)
6-9 month recipes (keep scrolling again)
10 – 12 month recipes (again with the keep scrolling)
Homemade finger foods (keep on scrolling)
(that’s it for now, I’ll add more later when I’ve got the time, but my butts gone to sleep LOL)