At our son’s four-month well-child checkup with the pediatrician, we were told we could start introducing solids at meal time. We were excited for this new adventure and quickly ran to the grocery store to buy a few purees. Having never bought baby food, I was astounded at the price on these tiny cups of food. Yes, they’re convenient. Yes, they’re healthy (I assume). But wow…they are expensive. We already owned a Ninja and bought fresh and frozen fruits and veggies regularly. Plus, during the summer months, we grow a fair number of things in our garden. I thought, how hard can it be?
As it turns out, it’s easy! At first, you of course want to start with simple purees of just one ingredient. Green beans, pears, apples, and peas are great choices for first bites. Bananas are great too, and they don’t need to be cooked! Be sure to introduce just one food at a time, and wait a couple days before trying something different to ensure no sensitivities to individual foods. Preparation of these single-ingredient purees is easy enough:
- For fruits, wash, peel, and remove seeds and cores (the peels are hard for their little tummies to digest). Cut into smaller pieces.
- Steam on the stove. Fruits should be steamed until soft but not mushy, usually about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of your pieces. Veggies need to be steamed simply until tender.
- Do not discard cooking liquid.
- Allow to cool slightly; then transfer to your blender or food processor. Add reserved cooking liquid as needed to puree to your preferred consistency. With the Ninja cup, I usually filled the cup with enough liquid to cover the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the solids.
- Puree to desired consistency.
- Transfer to storage containers. For new eaters, I used ice cube trays. Freeze until solid, and then pop them out and transfer to a freezer storage bag. Label the bag with contents and date for future reference (that probably seems like a no-brainer, but I forgot more than once!). Portions can be stored in a deep freeze for up to three months. Use with three days if kept in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator. Small portions from an ice cube tray typically take a few hours to thaw, so plan ahead. I often took a couple out before bed and allowed them to thaw overnight for the next day’s feedings.
As your baby grows and develops their digestive system, you’ll be able to offer blends and new foods.