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Recipes and Tips for Making Your Own Homemade Baby Food

Recipes and Tips for Making Your Own Homemade Baby Food

These homemade baby food recipes will expose your baby to new tastes and textures.


Moms of hungry babies may not be looking to add another task to their growing to-do list, but making your own homemade baby food doesn’t have to be a long or complicated process. It’s actually pretty easy and can help you make the most of whatever ingredients you already have in your fridge and freezer. If you’re preparing dinner anyway (and we ALL are cooking more nowadays, right?), you can simply set aside some of the ingredients, blend in your favorite kitchen device, and serve!

Add new flavors, herbs, and seasonings as you go and see what your baby thinks of the new tastes and textures. But definitely don’t put any pressure on either of you. It’s all about trying new things and having fun with food. Here are more tips and recipes for making homemade baby food—the easy way!

Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

There are many reasons to make your own fresh, homemade baby food. They include: promoting eating organically, providing a broader variety of food choices, controlling what your baby eats, meeting special dietary requirements, and providing more healthy options.  And you can take pride in preparing the food yourself.  Here are some easy tips on how to make and store your own baby food:

  • Always select the freshest fruits and vegetables, as they will have the highest nutrition content. Local farmers’ markets are a great place to find produce during peak season.  
  • Wash, chop and cook (using microwaving or steaming methods) the vegetables or fruits you want to use.  
  •  Blend cooked veggies and fruits with liquids in blender or food processor until pureed.  
  • Ladle the puree into “freezer safe” jars.   
  • Leave 1/2 inch headspace between the top of the food puree and the rim of the jar. This space allows for the upward and outward expansion of the food during the freezing process.   
  • Run a spatula between the food puree and side of the jar to remove any air bubbles or pockets. This will allow you to fit more in the jar and produce the highest quality end product.   
  • Apply the cap to the jar. When using glass jars, you may want to use plastic storage caps, which are great when freezing.  
  • Label each jar or storage container with the name of the food puree and the date the food was prepared before freezing.  Use a permanent marker when labeling.  
  • Store in the freezer at or below 0°F for up to two months. Freezing is the only recommended preserving method for longer-term storage of homemade baby food. Home canning is not a recommended method because pureed foods are too thick for proper heat penetration.   
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before use.  

 

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

Lentil, Red Pepper, and Coconut Puree Recipe

Excerpted from The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purees, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage by  Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN. 

Rich coconut milk and the sweet tang of red bell peppers nicely flavor the ultra-healthy lentils in this combination. This is a hearty meal that makes a great offering for the last solid feeding of the day.

Ingredients (makes 8 two-ounce servings):

  • 1 cup cooked lentils, drained if canned
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Directions: 

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, red pepper, coconut milk, water, and nutmeg to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the red peppers are soft, about 6 minutes.
  2. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If needed, thin the puree with breast milk, formula, or water to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Stir the pureed mixture back into the remaining unpureed ingredient mixture. Cool slightly before serving. Store any unoffered puree in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

 

Kale and Banana Puree 

Excerpted from The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purees, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage by  Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN. 

This kale and banana puree is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with anti-oxidants that contribute to a baby's growth, good health, and immunity. Loaded with vitamin A, this puree also supports your baby's eyesight. If you don't have kale puree, you can substitute with any dark, leafy green like Swiss chard puree, spinach puree, or collard greens puree. 

Ingredients (makes two two-ounce servings)

  • 2 (1-ounce) freeze tray cubes of kale puree, thawed
  • 2 (1-ounce) freezer tray cubes of banana puree, thawed
  • Pinch ground nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Combine the thawed purees in a small bowl. Add the nutmeg. Mix well with a spoon. If needed, thin the puree with breast milk, formula, or water to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Store any unoffered puree in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not refreeze.

 

Fish Dinner Recipe

Excerpted from Real Baby Food: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler by Jenna Helwig

Get seafood into your baby’s diet early; there are few foods with as many nutritional benefits, including brain-boosting DHA, an especially important omega-3 fatty acid for babies. This mild-tasting, creamy purée is an excellent place to start on the fish front. As your baby gets older, just mash this meal with a fork. Store this purée in the fridge for only a day before freezing to maintain the best (and least “fishy”) flavor.

Ingredients (makes about two and a half cups):

  • 1 medium Yukon Gold or russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ pound cod or other white fish fillet
  • ? cup frozen peas

Directions:

  1. Place the potato cubes into a medium saucepan and add water just to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.
  2. Place the cod atop the potatoes (it won’t be in the water). Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish and vegetables to a blender, reserving the cooking water. Add ¼ cup cooking water and purée until the mixture is smooth, adding more cooking water if necessary. Do not over-blend or the potato may become gummy.

 

Potato, Chickpea, and Quinoa Puree

Excerpted from The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purees, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage by  Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN. 



Chickpeas have a soft texture that mashes really well, and it serves as the pureed base for this toothsome meal. Freezing cooked quinoa in 2-ounce servings allows you to pull this meal together in a snap. Sweet potatoes add a light sweetness to the earthier flavors of the quinoa and chickpeas. You can also add greens to the chickpea puree, such as green bean or spinach puree. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice, or two (two-ounce) freezer tray cubes sweet potato puree, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas and cinnamon until smooth. If needed,  thin the puree with breast milk, formula, or water to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. If using thawed sweet potato, jump to step 3. If using fresh sweet potatoes, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in a small saucepan with a steamer insert. Place the sweet potatoes in the steamer insert. Cover and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pureed chickpeas, sweet potato, and quinoa. If you like, gently warm a single serving of the mixture. Store any unoffered puree in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Do not refreeze if using frozen sweet potato puree. 

 

Gingered Carrots and Cauliflower

Excerpted from REAL BABY FOOD: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler by Jenna Helwig.

Add a hint of spice with ground ginger, or sub in 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin for a smokier flavor.

Ingredients (makes about two cups):

  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick coins
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place a steamer basket over the water. Add the carrots. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, cover, and steam until both vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Cool slightly.
  2. Transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor with the ground ginger. Pure?e until you get the desired consistency for your baby, adding a 1⁄4 cup or more water to the blender if needed to help it blend.

 

Guacamole with Peas and Cilantro

Excerpted from Make-Ahead Baby Food Cookbook: Meal Plans and Recipes for Every Stage, by Stephanie Van't Zelfden RDN CDN.

It’s not your traditional guacamole, but the green peas add a pop of sweetness and a new and challenging texture for your baby to enjoy. Green peas provide protein and iron to make this a complete meal all on its own.

Ingredients: (makes 32 1-ounce freezer cubes) 

  • 1 (13-ounce) package frozen green peas
  • 3 ripe avocados (about 1 ½ pounds) pitted, with flesh removed
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lime

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan with a steamer basket or insert, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer. Add the peas. Cover and simmer over low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the peas are heated through.
  2. Remove the peas and transfer to a medium heat-safe bowl. Let cool slightly, then mash with a fork or potato masher until mostly smooth, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Remove and discard any tough peas that won’t mash and any large pieces of pea skin.
  3. Add the avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. Continue to mash with a fork until mostly smooth.
  4. Serve, refrigerate, or freeze.

TIP: For a smoother texture, blend some of the peas in a blender or food processor until smooth. For a chunkier texture, finley chop the avocado instead of mashing it.

 

Strawberry, Beet, Purple Carrot, and Chia Seeds

Excerpted from Stage-By-Stage Baby Food Cookbook: 100+ Purées and Baby-Led Feeding Recipes for a Healthy Start, by Yaffi Lvova RDN.

Purple carrots are great for both their color and their nutrients. They are deliciously sweet compared to their orange counterparts, although either can be used in this recipe. Beets enhance the sweetness of this dish, while strawberries add both color and a touch of tartness to balance the natural sugars. Experiment with different varieties of beets for different flavors. The chia seeds also make this recipe helpful if your baby is constipated.

 

Ingredients (makes six servings):

  • 1 beet
  • 2 purple carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 kiwifruit, peeled, quartered, and white pith removed from center
  • 4 ounces pear nectar
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

 Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut off the top of the beet, then cut the beet in half and poke each side with a fork.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the beet on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until fork-tender.
  4. Let the beet cool to room temperature, then remove its tough outer skin. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
  5. Steam the carrots in a pot with shallow water until tender. Drain.
  6. Put the kiwifruit, beet, purple carrots, pear nectar, and strawberries in a blender. Pulse until smooth.
  7. Place the puree in a bowl, sprinkle with the chia seeds, and stir well to mix.
  8. Cool to room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

For more homemade baby food recipes and tips, visit Jenna Helwig's website or purchase her book Real Baby Food, or visit Stephanie Middeberg's website or purchase her book The Big Book of Organic Baby Food.
 

Main image credit: Shannon Douglas

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