When my older daughter started to eat solids, I decided I would make my own baby food purees. Making my own purees was less expensive than buying jarred baby food. She had a milk intolerance, and I read that cross contamination in baby foods was a common problem. In addition to saving money, I was happy that making my own purees allowed me to control what went into her food (and what stayed out).
Her first food was avocado. I simply used a food processor to mash the avocado. Once the avocado was smooth, I mixed in pumped breast milk to thin it out to a very loose consistency.
After Lily ate avocado for a few days, I tried sweet potato, then butternut squash. To prepare the sweet potato, I boiled the sweet potato, then used the food processor to puree it. I used some of the cooking liquid to thin it to my desired consistency. With the butternut squash, I halved it, removed the seeds, then roasted it in a shallow pan with a little water until it was super soft. I then pureed it in the food processor, and thinned it with pumped breast milk.
I used my slow cooker to make apple sauce and pear sauce once I started Lily on fruits. I would peel, core, and chop 4 -6 of pears or apples, place them in the slow cooker, added a little water, and cooked on high for 2-3 hours. Once the apple or pears were super soft and basically falling apart, I would puree them in my food processor, again adding the cooking liquid or a little pumped breast milk to thin the puree out.
When making the purees, I made much more than Lily would eat at any one time. I used ice cube trays to freeze small portions of the purees. When I decided what I was going to try to feed Lily, I would pull out one ice cube tray portion, and carefully heat it in the microwave, adding more pumped breast milk as needed.
Although slightly more work than picking up a jar of baby food at the store, making my own purees did not require any special kitchen gadgets and did not require much cooking time or food prep. The peace of mind of making my own purees as well as the money saved more than made up for the convenience of the jarred food.
Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.