Baby Food – Our Favorite Homemade Level 1 Purees (4+ Months)

L + H started solid food purees at 4 months.  Since they were both formula and breast fed, we were given the go-ahead by our pediatrician to start them anytime between 4-6 months.  Since it seemed their bottles weren’t cutting it for them (H especially was ALWAYS hungry), we figured why not begin right at 4 months.  I was so excited for the solid foods to begin.  It’s a really fun stage! Seeing your baby explore flavors and textures is adorable – and I felt that feeding them was a nice bonding activity.  I still do! We sing songs and laugh while they eat.  I try to make it fun for everyone.

We started with rice cereal, but quickly moved to fruits and vegetables because it was way tastier.  Once the twins began to eat more and more I began making their food at home.

Making your own baby food sounds like a lot of work – but I swear it’s not! And I will emphasize, you do NOT need to buy a fancy baby food maker (yes those exist….and sorry to anyone who has one but they’re SO silly).  All it takes is some pots and bowls, a food processor or a blender, and a microwave — but that’s not even required.  Spend an hour or two on a Sunday boiling veggies and pureeing them – you can have baby food stashed in your freezer that will last you months.  I promise, it’s not that bad.

What convinced me was when I realized I could buy a bag of peeled, organic baby carrots in the produce section for $2.50.  Cooking those up at home and pureeing them yields about 16-20 oz of carrot puree.  One 2.5oz jar of organic carrot puree from the baby food aisle? Costs $1.  Thats a $3-4 savings! (How’s my math?!) And with two kiddos at home we go through a lot of jars of food.

So, in short – making baby food for the twins saved us some $$, let me have some fun in the kitchen, allowed me to put some extra love (aw!) into their meals, and saved me from having to lug 100s of tiny jars home from the store.

Here are some of my favorite Starter/Level 1 Purees.  Who else makes purees for their little one? What are your favorite Level 1 recipes? I am always curious to hear what folks like to feed their kiddos.  And be on the lookout, I’ll share some of our favorite Level 2 purees next week!

Starter Purees (4+ months – or as directed by your baby’s pediatrician)

Apples

  • 5 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
    • Place apples in a medium microwave safe bowl with ½ cup of water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam in microwave for 5 – 7 minutes, or until soft.
    • Add the apples to a food processor bowl and puree. Add some or all of the cooking liquid until puree is desired thickness
    • Makes­­­­­ 3 cups
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.

Pears

  • 5 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
    • Place pears in a medium microwave safe bowl with ½ cup of water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam in microwave for 5 – 7 minutes, or until soft.
    • Add the pears to a food processor bowl and puree. Add some or all of the cooking liquid until puree is desired thickness
    • Makes 3 cups.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.

Kiwis

  • 5 kiwis – peeled and chopped
    • Place kiwis in food processor bowl and process until smooth.
    • Makes 2 cups
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 3 days or 3 months in freezer.

Carrots

  • 1 1lb bag baby carrots
    • Place carrots in a medium saucepot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
    • Transfer carrots to food processor bowl. Puree until smooth. Add some or all of the cooking liquid until puree is desired thickness.
    • Makes 2 cups.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.
       

Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash – halved and deseeded
    • Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place squash on sheet, face down.
    • Bake for 45-60 minutes, until squash is tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
    • Remove squash from skin with spoon or hands. Place in food processor bowl and process, adding water until puree is desired thickness.
    • Makes 3.5 cups.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.

Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then drain, reserving some off the cooking liquid.
    • Place potatoes in food processor bowl. Process until smooth. Add some or all of the cooking liquid until puree is desired thickness
    • Makes 2 cups.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.

Mango

  • 1 mango – peeled and cut from rind
    • Place mango in food processor bowl. Process until smooth. Add water if you want to thin out.
    • Makes 1 cup
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.


Butternut Squash

  • 1 butternut squash – halved lengthwise and deseeded
    • Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash on sheet face up. Sprinkle with olive oil.
    • Bake for 45-60 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
    • Remove squash from skin with spoon or hands. Place in food processor bowl and process, adding water until puree is desired thickness.
    • Makes 2 cups.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.


Green Beans

  • 1lb frozen Harticot Verts (extra fine green beans)
    • Place frozen green beans in a microwave safe bowl with ¼ cup water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam in microwave 10-12 minutes, or until soft.
    • Place beans and cooking liquid to food processor bowl and process until smooth. Add additional water until puree is desired thickness.
    • Store in air-tight container in fridge for 4 days or 4 months in freezer.

 

For folks looking to freeze: There are many great tray options for folks interested in freezing purees.  I purchased these off Amazon and have been pleased with them! I like that I can freeze a batch of purees, then pop them into a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them – freeing up the tray for another batch of puree!

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