Well, I've decided to channel my own inner domestic and dust off the infrequently used appliances in my kitchen in order to make Isabella's baby food myself. My motives are twofold.
First, after doing a lot of reading on the subject, homemade baby food really is so much more healthy and surprisingly a heck of a lot more cost-effective than buying the little jars in the stores. There are no added sugars, starches, preservatives or additives (all stuff babies don't need) in the food you make yourself. And since I've decided to go the organic route, I'll know that everything that goes into Isabella's mouth is pesticide-free, and contains 10-50% more antioxidants than traditionally grown vegetables and fruits. Homemade baby food is fresher, it tastes better, and you can make a ton of it in a short amount of time, and then freeze it and have food for weeks. And unlike the jars, which can cost anywhere from .60 cents to $1.20 each, you can buy vegetables on sale and your money goes a lot further.
How's this for an interesting statistic. According to this book, by the time American babies reach 12 months of age, each infant will have consumed an average of 600 jars of commercially prepared baby food. But by contrast, the average baby born in Western Europe will only have consumed 240 jars. And in Eastern European countires, only 12 jars! Of course, Americans (myself included) rely on convenience food far more than other countries, which is why we're more unhealthy than the citizens of most industrialized nations as well. So, in making Isabella's food, I'm doing my small part to ensure the healthiest diet possible for the wee one.
Okay, so, here's how my first attempt went down.
First, I did a lot of reading. And I mean, a lot. I bought two books myself, and was given two others. Because I am a massive nerd, there's really very little I do without first researching it extensively first. So, I schooled myself on food safety guidelines, storage practices, and the right kinds of foods to make and introduce first (in case you're curious, most experts recommend introducing vegetables before fruits, because the latter are much sweeter and if you do fruits before veggies, your baby might not take to the vegetables later on).
Next, it was time to buy the food. The nice man in the green apron at the grocery store told me that these are what are known as vegetables. So I trusted him, and brought some home.
Then, I assembled the stash of baby food-making supplies I needed, which actually were pretty minimal. A blender or food processor (in having tried both, I prefer the food processor), a potato masher, some ice cube trays in which to freeze the food, some small jelly jars to store the food in the fridge, a vegetable steamer, and some freezer bags were all I needed.
Time to get to work! I peeled a sweet potato, and then boiled it, and then let it simmer for 20 minutes. In my second batch, I ended up baking another sweet potato in the oven along with acorn squash and butternut squash.
Once frozen, I simply popped out the cubes, stuck them in a freezer bag, and voila! I've made baby food!
The results? Well, let's just say she was underwhelmed, and leave it at that.
Luckily, the next day when I tried again, she gobbled it up.