As an example, I will start with apples. With the commercial blenders, you can put the whole apple in there – skin, seeds and all. Most of the nutrients are contained in the seeds, and this blender will pulverize them, so baby is getting the most out of the apple. You can add water to change the consistency. (NOTE: If you decide to use a food processor or regular blender, remember to read the instruction and remove seeds, pits, stems if necessary. These machines do not always break down the hard parts like the commercial blenders do. You might also need to add more water or steam food for a bit to get the consistency you desire since they do not blend as smoothly.)
Now depending on how much apple you make will depend on how you decide to store it. If you did not make that much you can keep it in the refrigerator, and it will last for a few days. Or you can put it in little jars and freeze it, pulling it out as you need and letting them defrost in the refrig. (This takes about a day to defrost). Or, what I do most the time is use a silicone mini-muffin trey as an icecube trey, pour the apple “smoothie” into the trey and freeze it. Then I have little “ice-cubes” that I store in jars in the freezer and pull out and defrost individual ice-cubes as needed. I have a jar for apple, one for pear, one for carrot, etc. Then I have a variety of food that will last a week or so and just remake as needed.
Another option for babies to get a great variety of food in one meal is to make smoothes. Just make sure that the baby is not allergic or sensitive to any ingredients. Add to your blender a handful of greens (spinach, kale, etc.), some fruit like bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, etc., water, almond milk or coconut milk for consistency and blend. Pour in a cup to drink for now and freeze some for later.
I know some parents are concerned about time. The jarred baby food seems so convenient. This way is also very convenient, but you do have to plan ahead. I usually make my food on the weekends. I start with a few individual pureed fruits and veggies and then make some mixed ones. Then I pour them into the icecube treys or small jars and freeze them. In a few hours, the icecubes are frozen, so I pop them out, and put them in their own containers. I make the quinoa ahead of time and keep it in a container in the refrigerator. It lasts about 3-4 days. You can also make hard-boiled eggs ahead of time and boiled chicken (after its cooked, puree in blender or food processor, adding water as needed). They will last in the refrig for about 5 days. Now we are ready for any meal, any time!! Just add your blended fruits and veggies to chicken, quinoa, eggs, potatoes, bananas, etc. and you have a quick and easy meal.
Remember…when you are heating up food, never microwave in a plastic container! When the plastic is heated, it begins to break down and release poisonous gasses into the food. Microwaving is not good to do anyways, but if you have to, please do it with glass containers only!
Recipes: Apple and pear go great together. Banana added to spinach and kale makes it sweeter. Some veggies can be bitter when raw, like carrots, so I add apples in. If they are not allergic to strawberries, a berry-blend smoothie is a great breakfast. Squash, zucchini and green beans. Beets, apples and carrots. However, I do steam white and sweet potatoes and then blend. Adding water, almond milk or coconut milk to any bowl can change the consistency. Sprinkling cinnamon, pepper, curry powder and other spices will start to introduce baby to different flavors. Fresh basil, cilantro and mint are great too. As baby gets older, they can eat chunkier food and will probably start to eat right off your plate! Just take your cues from baby – if they don’t like something, don’t force it - try again another day.
Raw is the best way for baby (and EVERYONE for that matter) to eat and get the most nutrients out of their food. In commercial baby food, the fruits and veggies are cooked for so long that they are depleted of their vital nutrients. Then they are diluted with water, and preservatives are added. Not a very nutritious meal for a growing baby. Eating fresh, raw fruits and veggies keeps us all healthier – therefore, less sick days, and less cost on medications and doctor visits…
As a side note, if you ever have tried commercial jarred baby food, it is disgusting! I feel so bad for babies that eat it! I tried a chicken and sweet potato one once and almost threw-up! Home-made baby food tastes great – just like we adults eat, but blended up. I try Nolan’s food all the time, so I know it is yummy!