For anyone wondering how to make you're own baby food, I decided to do a picture 'step by step' for you. :) And for me too, because it encourages me to keep doing it! :)
First step is to buy the produce that you intend on using for your baby food. I make a point of watching for sales and purchasing it at its lowest price. Sweet potatoes are usually $1 per lb at our local Publix, but were on sale for $.49 per lbs, so right there, I've saved 50%. I bought 7 lbs of sweet potatoes (2/3rds of it is pictured here. I did the other third in a separate batch)
With most of your choices, you will want to peel them and then wash them thoroughly (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apples, pears). There are certain things that you can't peel, like green beans, sweet peas and corn. Those you'll have to make sure you wash especially well.
After they are peeled and cleaned, chop them up to cook.
[When I made baby food for Brookelynne, I chopped them into smaller pieces, but that made it difficult to keep a thicker consistency in her food. (This caused us to have to put rice cereal in almost all of her food after the first week of eating because we found that she ate the thicker consistencies better than the thinner ones)]
Fill with water, and boil.
[You want to use as little water as you can while still cooking the food. A portion of the nutrients come out in the water, and while you will be using some of the water to get the consistency right, you won't be using all of it, so the less you have left over, the few nutrients you're throwing away.]
Then spoon the chunks into your blender or food processor and 'blend' :)
Continue to add water and blend until it reaches your preferred consistency. As you see, I like mine to be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Any thinner and I feel like it's so much more difficult for them to keep in their mouths.
Once you've gotten it to your liking, spoon into containers of your choosing. For at-home feeding, ice cubes of food work great! Especially starting out, most babies don't eat more than one ice cube worth per serving anyway. As they begin to eat more, you just heat up more than one ice cube as needed. I also freeze jars worth of food for when we're not at home. Its much easier to just grab a jar out of the freezer than to find a container to hold however many ice cubes you need. With Brookelynne, we ended up buying baby food, just so we would have the convenience of a jar. So I saved those jars and lids and now freeze them full of homemade food. Best of both worlds!
Those potatoes you saw up top, turned into this! 6 and a half ice cube trays and 12 stage 2 jars of baby food!
Just put them in the freezer (uncovered to begin with) and all the 'hard work' is done!
6 to 8 hours later, go back and loosen your ice cube trays. This way, the food is set in its form, but not so frozen that it's stuck in the tray. You can also go ahead and put the lids on your jars at this point too, since the food will have already expanded.
In another day or so, go back and pop all of those ice cubes of food out of their trays and put them in a resealable bag. :) Then you can just pull them out one at a time as you need them!
I can honestly say that I really enjoy doing this. It only takes an hour or two (and I do big batches) per food and if you do one a week for a month or so, you'll have plenty of food for your baby!
Also, since this is my blog and I am therefore allowed to say whatever I want, I will add that there are some things that just aren't worth making. One of which is applesauce. Its much more expensive to make it, takes a LOT of time and is difficult to get the right consistency. I just buy the big containers of 'all natural' applesauce when it goes on sale and call it a day. Also, green beans weren't worth it for me either. I didn't feel like I could clean them enough to make myself happy, and I didn't like having to worry about strings in my baby food. I also don't do meat. That's just gross to think about! lol. So we watch for sales/coupons and stock up on those as needed. We have 50 or 60 jars of baby food that we got for $.10 a jar last time there was a bogo with a coupon. Not bad since I will re-use those jars next time around! :)