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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Super Easy DIY Baby food: Butternut Squash Puree

I get all of my best ideas from Pintrest. This is no different! A friend and new mom sent over a pin all about making your own baby food. It really didn't take much convincing for me. It looked fun, it's cost effective and gives me the opportunity to quality control the food my child will be eating.

Now that I have successfully made a few batches of baby food I can tell you that it really is easy. The only challenge is having the time to do this. But, with a little organization, you can do it!

I tried two different methods and to be honest I like them equally. Pick which ever you think will work best for you. The Infantino Squeeze Station allows you to put your pureed food into portable squeeze pouches. Before becoming a mom, I didn't understand the hype around these but I totally get it now! You can buy spoons that screw right on to the pouches. This allows you to feed your baby without any mess. As the baby gets older they will be able to feed themselves without this. Either way, you can give them to your child and if they don't finish you can pop them in the diaper bag or back in the fridge. These are great for on the go meals. These are available on Amazon for under $15.

The only downside to using the squeeze station is having to buy new disposable packs or continuously was the resealable ones.

Alternatively, you can purchase one of these nifty silicone freezer trays. These are a lot like ice trays but they come with lids to protect your purees while in the fridge. Their flexible silicone also makes it easier to remove the frozen blocks of food. I like this one because I know each well is 2 oz. This allows me to better measure how much my baby is eating. I suppose you could use a regular ice tray as well but the food may be harder to get out and with the sharp corners it might be harder to clean.

Outside of this all you need is your food to puree and a blender. I don't have a 'baby food' blender or steamer. I just used our regular blender and the stove, which worked just fine. No need to spend extra money in that area.

Making your Puree

The basic process in making these single food purees or stage 1-2 foods is boiling, baking or steaming the food to make it soft. In either case you need to add about 1 inch of water to the baking dish. In the case of my butternut squash, I cut the vegetable in half, cored out the seeds then baked it. The recipe I followed the first time instructed me to bake the squash for 50 minutes at 400 degrees but it did not tell me to peel it first. This forced me to peel off the browned skin after, which was messy. The second time I prepared this, I peeled the squash then baked it. If you do it this way make sure you cover your dish with foil to make the squash cook faster!

After the squash has been cooked & peeled you can just blend it to the consistency you want. Add a little of the water from the baking dish if you need more liquid in your blender. Once you are done you can add the food to your container of choice. I used the Infantino squeeze station and the Loti silicone freeze tray but there are many ways to contain and store homemade baby food.

End Result

My first time making butternut squash baby food resulted in two (4 oz) squeeze pouches and six (2 oz) blocks/jars of homemade baby food. All of this came from a $2.70 squash I purchased from Walmart.
Store bought Butternut squash squeeze pouches usually cost $1.50-$1.99 per 3 oz pouch. Baby foods marketed as Organic or natural baby food usually costs around $1.29 per 4 oz jar and Gerber baby food jars at Walmart cost $0.98 per 2.5 oz jar of stage 1 food. Without even doing the math you can see that making my own food saved me a few dollars, which will add up seeing that by 8 months some babies are eating up to 8 oz of baby food a day in addition to breast milk every 3-4 hours.

To buy that amount of store bought food would cost around $8-$9.

Since making the butternut squash I have also tried making apple puree or apple sauce. I purchased a 3 lbs bag of red apples for $3.99 and was able to make two (4 oz) squeeze pouches and seven (2 oz) cubes to freeze. From $3.99 worth of apples I made $6.76 worth of baby food.

Watch the process behind this post:

How much your baby should be eating

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