Fenner was close to 4 months when he first started reaching for our food. I took this as a sign he was ready for his first “real” food. My mom was very excited to be a part of this and she recommended we start with rice cereal. We attempted the cereal for a few days, but Mr. Fenn did not seem to be a big fan of it. After doing some research, I decided I wasn’t really either. I know many babies use rice cereal to help with reflux and the old wives tale that it helps keep them full and sleep better, but Fenner did not not have reflux issues, and I decided if I was going to give my little man something to “fill him up” it was going to be real YUMMY food.
I made the decision to start with a tried and true baby favorite, the sweet potato. I stuck to the doctors suggestion of giving each food 2-3 days before adding a new one. Fenner was quickly eating a variety of fruits and veggies. Some of his first favorites were sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado, and butternut squash. Making his food was something I was super excited about, and I did a lot of research to find out the best ways to cook, puree, and store all of the yummy goodness. Below I will share my steps for making basic fruit and veggie purees.
Ingredients / Supplies:
organic fruits or veggies of your choice ( I choose to purchase most things organic, especially if it is one of the dirty dozen. I started buying all fresh veggies and fruits, but quickly realized you can find great quality in the frozen section as well.)
metal pot with steamer basket (such as this), or just and pot of your choice.
food processor or blender
mesh sieve (such as these)
silicone ice cube trays (I began with regular plastic trays, but it was very hard to remove the food. Silicone trays have been much better. I use these trays that I picked up on Amazon.)
Ziplock freezer storage bags
small tupperware containers ( I love these containers for storing Fenner’s food in the fridge, and taking it places)
Begin by washing and peeling all fresh produce. If you choose frozen produce, this step has already been done for you. I peeled all of Fenner’s first fruits and veggies, but as he has gotten older I now leave the skin on some things, such as summer squash and zucchini.
Chop your produce of choice into one inch cubes. If you are cooking veggies such as green beans or peas, there is not need to chop.
Fill your metal pot with enough water to almost reach the steaming basket when it is placed inside. Drop your produce in the steaming basket and place the basket into the pot of water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil.
Let your fruits or veggies cook until tender.
Remove the basket from the boiling water and let your fruits or veggies cool down.
Place the fruits or veggies into your food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Some foods will need more liquid to help thin the puree. I like to use the left over water in the pot, since it is full of the nutrients left behind from your veggies (for veggies high in nitrates it is best to use fresh water to help thin out your puree instead).
If you feel your puree is not smooth enough for your baby, this is where the mesh sieve comes in handy. For Fenner’s first foods I would pour my pureed mixture into the sieve and use a wooden spoon to push the puree through and into a bowl I placed below.
Once you have a puree that is smooth enough for your liking, it is ready for baby!
Most fruits and veggies will save for 2-3 days in the fridge, and about 2 months in the freezer.
If you want to freeze your puree, pour it into your ice cube trays ( the “soupier” purees are easily poured, for thicker purees I use my cake batter scoop) , cover, and pop it into the freezer. If your tray does not have a lid, plastic wrap works just fine.
Once the mixture is frozen, pop the cubes of food out and place them into labeled ziplock bags and store in the freezer. I label each bag with the date and type of food that is in it.
Even though Fenn is eating more fingers foods these days, I still use this method for making simple purees to add to his foods. I have found that making purees that consist of just one ingredient make mixing and matching new food combinations much easier. I just defrost a few different cubes mix them together and even added a pinch of cinnamon or cumin to things once I thought Fenn was ready for more flavor.
I hope this post inspires you to get started making your own food. It is a lot of fun and opens your baby up to many food possibilities.