The decision to personally prepare all of Carter’s first baby purees was a classic result of my decision making algorithm. It also helped that Blake was completely on-board and took it upon himself to prepare the purees the first few times… after he realized there was a “bad and ugly” part to the process he was less enthusiastic and resigned as her personal puree chef.
Blake prepared and packaged all of Carter’s first “Level 1” purees. These purees include just one ingredient and can easily be packaged into convenient 2 oz. containers.
Level 1 Baby Purees (Step-by-Simple-Step)
Step 1: Pick a few “Level 1” foods (ex. bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, etc.)
Step 2: Steam/puree the food (we used a Baby Bullet which came with a convenient guide and provided “recipes” – basically the recipe details the amount of water that needs to be added to make the fruit or vegetable into a puree… if you don’t have a Baby Bullet you can guess and check – it’s not rocket science).
Step 3: Pour puree into a 2 oz container (available at any baby store or walmart/target).
Step 4: Refrigerate or freeze puree depending on how soon you will be using it.
Simple, right? Yes! Blake prepared all of these Level 1 foods like a champ and all was good.
Then “Level 2” foods came along. While there are specific additional foods that are recommended as babies get older, the goal here is to start mixing flavors and developing a “mature pallet.” Literally, I read about this “mature pallet” thing on multiple blogs. Yall, I didn’t have a “mature pallet” until like 2 years ago – I basically survived on chicken nuggets and mac&cheese until I was in my mid-20s even though I’m sure my parents fed me fruits and vegetables as a baby.
But I was committed to making all of Carter’s baby food – it’s cheaper, makes me feel like a good parent, blah, blah, blah, so I pushed forward. Prepping, mixing and packaging 6-8 month purees is a process. I officially found “The Bad” and “The Ugly” in making baby purees (although those “finds” may have everything to do with still being a sleep-deprived, hormonal new mother and less to do with it actually being a frustrating/time-consuming process) but still.
Level 2 Baby Purees (Step-by-Step)
Step 1: With Level 2 purees the first thing to do is determine what type of mixtures you would like to try. Since this step involved decision-making, it was hard for me. Here are a few purees that are Carter approved:
- Chicken/Avocado/Butternut Squash
- Chicken/Sweet Potato
- Green Beans/Apple
General rule of thumb: When in doubt, mix with apples. Carter also loves bananas so we mixed in those with anything she wouldn’t eat.
Step 2: Next, buy all ingredients. Theoretically you could decide on proportions for your mixtures ahead of time and buy the appropriate amount of each food but that makes far too much sense. I just eyed the contents of my cart as I shopped and thought “yeah, that’ll work!” (I was still enthusiastic about my homemade food at that point).
Step 3: Peel, steam and puree all ingredients. Here is where I grossly underestimated the amount of time this would take. I highly recommend you invest in a heavy duty peeler. Also worth noting – when pureeing, give the Baby Bullet breaks… it will overheat and it will break down…. if you happen to have a Ninja blender I suggest using that for the entire process.
Step 3.5: Take a break and do some yoga or mind relaxation techniques. I skipped this step which is why you see empty beer bottles in the pictures below.
Step 4: If you skipped Step 3.5, you are probably over the whole process and want to curse the Baby Bullet book that incorrectly states “Make a week’s worth of meals in 5 minutes.” WRONG. But at this point, your best bet is to push through… it’s for the baby, you are saving money (tell yourself what you have to). Step 4 is packaging.
At this point, we decided to package the food in convenient squeeze packs using this Infantino Squeeze Station. Convenient in that, once made, we can simply pull a “fruit,” “vegetable,” and “protein” squeeze pack to pack in Carter’s lunchbox and she will be set for the day. The actual packaging process is not convenient at all. Here’s what you will need: a bowl to combine your mixtures, a washcloth to clean the spatters as you push the puree into the bag, a chopstick to unclog the contraption when tiny bits get stuck, a beverage of your choice to help you cope, a filter for the 4 letter words that may fly from you mouth every time the contraption gets clogged.
Basically, you combine your mixture and then pour or spoon the mixture into holding stations which are attached to 4 ounce plastic baggies. You then use the ramming rod (my term, not theirs) to push the puree through the holding tubes into the bags. Then cap and label the bags. Often times, the blender doesn’t do its job and small bits of apple or carrot clog the process – at this point, it is as if the world is working against you and you have no choice but to drink an adult beverage. (Helpful hint from Jen, my sister and master puree-er – use a slotted spoon to catch these bastard chunks before they clog up your process… I should listen to her more often.)
Step 5: Put everything in the freezer. Well done. Well done.
So, there you have it. If you choose to make your own purees – Bravo! If you would rather pay for someone else to do the work and fork over the cash, hey- I’m not judging.
*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is based on scientific evidence or research. We supplemented home made purees with Gerber Oatmeal and added in yogurt when she reached 7 months. Now she eats finger foods like Cheerios, Goldfish, Cheese, etc…. so clearly we aren’t sticklers for organic and home-made… my decision scale balances though.