What do you need to make baby food at home?
Feeding your baby solid foods is a milestone filled with both excitement and apprehension. It’s common for your head to be flooded with questions, including whether you should make your own baby food at home.
When you’re juggling work, keeping the house clean or doing one of the many other tasks parents are responsible for, preparing homemade baby food might seem too time-consuming. However, the process can be simple, especially when you’re prepared. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to store-bought baby food, here are 12 must-have tools for making baby food at home.
How to make baby food
Regardless of the recipe, making baby food consists of a few simple steps. However, the methods and tools used will vary depending on preference.
- Choose the fruits or vegetables. When you’re first starting to feed your baby solids, stick to a single fruit or vegetable at one time, and only feed them that food item for one week. If your baby has an adverse reaction, you’ll know exactly what food item caused it when using this method. Once they’ve been introduced to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, you can combine several items in one puree.
- Soften the food. For the first few months, it’s essential to steam or boil all fruits and vegetables, even if they’re already soft. Steaming and boiling will break down the fibers and sugars and make them easier to digest. After a month or two, you can discontinue cooking fruits and only have to steam or boil vegetables that need to be softened.
- Blend or puree to your desired consistency. The younger the baby, the smoother their food will need to be. You can add breast milk, formula or water to thin out the food.
Methods for preparing baby food
All-in-one baby food maker
An all-in-one baby food maker is ideal if you’re looking for a hands-off experience. Depending on the model and brand, some food-making systems will steam, chop and blend with just the touch of a button. You can also find some that defrost frozen food servings, reheat refrigerated baby food and sterilize bottles.
Steam or boil
Steaming and boiling are two of the most common methods for softening vegetables. While boiling is the most convenient and doesn’t require additional tools, it leads to more significant nutrient loss. However, you can use boiled water when thinning out purees to capture some of the nutrients. Steaming is the best way to keep in all the nutrients. Plus, a dedicated steamer pot can make the process straightforward.
Blender or masher
Most kitchen blenders are powerful enough to puree fruits and vegetables. If you use a pot to steam or boil the food, you can also opt for a hand blender for easy cleanup. However, if you don’t have any of those tools and don’t mind a little manual labor, you can also use a potato masher or baby food masher. However, a manual masher is better suited for older babies who don’t need a thin puree.
Tips for making baby food
- Babies are much more susceptible to foodborne illnesses, so be sure to thoroughly wash fruits, vegetables, tools and the preparation area.
- Don’t forget about frozen fruits and vegetables. In some instances, frozen fruits and vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh food.
- Instead of making a single serving of baby food every day, try to make a few large batches and freeze them.
- Freeze baby food in baby food storage containers, which make it simple to grab a single serving when your little one is ready to eat.
Must-have tools for making baby food at home
Best baby food-making systems
This all-in-one baby food maker steams, sterilizes, chops, blends, defrosts and reheats, creating the most effortless homemade baby food experience. As a bonus, the steam basket is elevated to allow for true steam cooking that retains the maximum amount of nutrients and flavor from fruits and vegetables. Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
Included in this food-making system is a blending base, batch bowl with a lid, short cup with handles and lid, six storage cups with lids and a silicone freezer tray with a lid. Also, all of the bowls and cups are made from durable plastic that’s BPA-free and non-toxic. Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Buy Buy Baby
Best products for steaming baby food
In addition to steaming fruits and vegetables, this turbo steamer defrosts frozen baby food, cooks hard-boiled eggs and sterilizes pacifiers, bottles and toys. It’s also straightforward to use with a few intuitive settings and a built-in indicator. Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
This steaming set includes a stainless steel base and a 3-quart steaming basket. In addition to softening vegetables for baby food, you can also use it to steam salmon, boil pasta or as a Dutch oven. Sold by Amazon
If you don’t have time to watch over the steamer pot constantly, this digital food steamer automates the process, so you can spend time with your baby or get ready for the day. It has two steaming bowls, which means you can make two things at once or one large batch. Sold by Amazon
Best products for blending baby food
If you don’t want to get a product that only makes baby food, you can also use a high-powered blender. This Ninja blender includes a 72-ounce capacity pitcher for large batches and two 16-ounce cups for smaller servings. Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s
After steaming or boiling vegetables, use this hand blender to puree right in the pan or the included 3-cup capacity blending jar. Plus, with an included pan guard, you don’t have to worry about scratching your cookware. Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s
Making baby food doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, as proven by this food masher, which is ideal for creating thicker purees. Everything conveniently fits inside the bowl and lid, so you can take it wherever you go. Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
Best products for storing baby food
When you’re on the go, these food storage pouches are ideal for ensuring your baby stays fed all day. They’re dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe and BPA-free. It also comes with a filling funnel that holds the pouch open for no-mess filling. Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
These glass jars come in a 4- or 8-ounce size option with measurement markings, and they are BPA-free, phthalate-free and PVC-free. Plus, they’re safe to use in the freezer, dishwasher and microwave. Sold by Amazon
Whether you have leftover baby food or made a large batch for later use, this baby food tray will keep purees fresh in the freezer. It holds nine 1-ounce servings and is flexible enough to pop out a single cube. Sold by Amazon
This set includes a tray and six 2-ounce plastic storage containers that are airtight, watertight and leakproof, so they will be safe in a diaper bag. They’re also microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe. Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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