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Baby Food Making Device

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Hello All-

My wife and I are expecting our first child in April. I have been charged with picking out a baby food maker. Any recommendations? Thanks for any help you can offer!

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  1. I am assuming you for puree. Basically everything got steamed and then pureed. I had a Cuisinart Mini-Prep already so I just used that. Any food mill would do as well. You would also need a lot of ice cube trays. My son is four and there were not as many gadgets specifically tailored for making purees four years ago. It's really just puree.

    1. You might have better luck on the cookware board. I had my kid in long ago times when people who made their own baby's food were not hit with tons of advertising for silly machines. I used a food processor, and the back of a fork. I already owned both items, and it was easy.

      1. I was a baby food making fiend. Just loved to do it. There are only a few devices that I think are really necessary. A food processor. I just used a blender for the first babe but the food processor was much faster and easier. I did still use the blender for the 2nd babe for blending grains for cereal. Next is ice cube trays. For smaller babies the normal ice cube trays are perfect. Silicon trays work the best but standard trays work as well. When the baby is larger +8 months I used silicon muffin "tins". One of the reasons it's nice to make your own is that you have much better control over portion size and don't waste the food a much as with jars.

        I think the Super Baby Food book is very useful in getting a handle on how to make batches of food and what "equipment" is useful. I like the cereal recipies and some of the toddler snacks. The Wholesome Baby Food website is very complete.

        In summary, no special equipment is needed & with a few resources you can make whatever you need. My last tip is that if you have Farmer's Markets near by use them as a resource. In CA during stone fruit season I will go to the stands and ask if they have bruised fruit. I pay about $1-2/lb instead of $3 and get excellent, organic fruit that just doesn't look as good as the full price items. A while back I calculated that $3/lb was the comparison point for homemade food vs. jarred organic. For the most part it was easy for me to find items for -$3/lb.

        I really like the freedom of making my own cereals per the Super Baby Food Book. I still regularly make cereal for my 2 yo using a mixture of grains (brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, barley, flax, etc) that I rough blend in the blender.

        Have fun & congrats on the baby.

        1. The Beaba product is really nice- convenient, but it's 149.00. A pot and a food processor will do the exact same thing. The Beaba product limits your batch size. Get ice cube trays. Make large batches, freeze them, and then pop the cubes in large gallon freezer ziploc bags. Starches, meats, veggies, fruits. I could not think of a better process. Mealtime was a snap. combinations of diff cubes, toss em in the microwave, done.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gordeaux

            > The Beaba product is really nice- convenient, but it's 149.00. A pot and a food processor will do the exact same thing.

            Totally true. The Beaba is tiny enough to sit on the counter all the time, though, steams and processes quickly and without fuss, and also goes into the dishwasher in more or less one piece. Speaking just for myself, I knew that if I had to get out a pot AND a steamer AND the food processor AND put all of the various components together AND wash them afterward, no baby food would ever get made in my house. So to me: worth it. YMMV.

            (I should mention, I have a minuscule freezer, so huge batches weren't an option anyway.)

            ETA: I did buy a couple of baby food cookbooks, but never used a single one.

            1. re: darklyglimmer

              I bought a Beaba, too and found it very convenient. It is not necessary, to be sure, but easier to deal with (and smaller) than a full size food processor. I have found that I still use it to make purees to sneak veggies into my older toddler, who is going through a prolonged no veggies phase.

              Oh, and I never used baby food cookbooks either.

          2. Love that you're planning a year ahead since the baby probably won't be eating food for a year--nice to see a dad so proactive. I ditto the mini food processor because you'll find non-baby uses for it, too. I wouldn't buy anything special, especially as costly as some of the baby food makers are and for how few months you'll actually use it. They quickly graduate to finger foods and you'll have a high priced appliance that you can no longer use.

            Oh, one thing I didn't do but saw someone use is a good pair of kitchen shears w/ protective cover. She brought it w/ her everywhere to cut up her toddlers' food. Much easier than trying to cut bite sized pieces w/ a knife.

            1. I know it's really tempting to feel that you need all this specialized "stuff" for the baby (all we parents probably succumbed in one way or another!) but really, think about whether you want a very specialized product that you will only use for about 4 months; from about 6 months to 10 months when they can start eating close-to-regular food. (I get so mad when I see ads for "gerber toddler foods". What the heck? Toddlers should be way past eating "special" food. Off of soap box. )

              1. You need a Mouli and a book on how to prepare babyfood. There is no need in the world for you to spend 150 clams on a fancy machine, and those can be hard to clean anyway. Mouli, the babyfood makin' fool's best friend! Oh, and you'll want ice cube trays, extras brand new. When you make a batch of food, freeze the extra in cubes, pop out, double-bag and label. At suppertime, just take out as many cubes as you need and put in a baby bowl that has it's own warming capacity. (These don't cost much either, but talk about handy.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: mamachef

                  "put in a baby bowl that has it's own warming capacity"

                  Can you elaborate on this? I'm just not sure what you mean and I'm totally curious!

                  1. re: Jen76

                    Yes; there are baby serving dishes (usually divided into portions so the food won't do the unthinkable and actually touch another food) that either have a resevoir that you can fill with boiling water (on the principle of a bain-marie) or are insulated and have batteries or an electrical capacity (so it needs a cord) to heat the serving wells. That way, no matter what kinda food you're using, or making, or buying, you've got an easy way to heat it up without the splattering and huuuuge overheating danger of a microwave. One of the best gifts I ever got.

                2. A common table/dinner fork, and a blender is all you need....A good dose of common sense helps too!

                  Fun!

                  1. here's the things most new parents don;t seem to ever remember - the kid is only a baby for a very very short time.

                    don;t plan for a baby - plan for the child

                    as for me - i used a blender and a food processor. as soon as the kid could eat solids with his own hands he wouldnt touch anything else anyway

                    1. Get a food mill -- it'll last you well beyond the few months when a baby is eating smooth pureed foods and is useful for much more than baby food. Smallish ones are available for as little as $20 and have the advantage of being portable and non-electric! You can use it for make-ahead food or just mill something up at the table.

                      Silicone ice cube trays, too. When the food is frozen you can pop cubes out into a ziplock bag and store them that way -- keeps it from absorbing freezer flavors.

                      thew's advice about planning for the child is great. Babyhood is fleeting!

                      1. don't waste your money on one. Instead get a small food processor attachment for your blender (if you don't already have one), and a potato masher. The rest is just overpriced junk that is hard to clean. Believe me. (mother of a 2 year old and 1 year old).

                        1. Chances are you already own at least one of the two greatest baby food makers ever created by man... A blender or a food processor. Good luck, and happy baby! '-)

                          1. For storing the baby food after steaming and blending, I recommend Baby Cubes
                            http://www.babycubes.com/

                            Well.ca sells them online.
                            http://well.ca/searchresult.html?x=0&...

                            Baby cubes are polypropylene small plastic containers each about the size of an individual icecube. They have lids attached, and fit in a tray like ice cubes. The advantage over ice cube trays is that it is easy to take out individual portions.

                            Polypropylene is a type of plastic that does not contain Bisphenol A or phthalates.

                            I use these for making adult food, and storing pesto, sauces, and also for carrying around small items. They're very handy.

                            1. If you've been charged, do you really have any other option than to buy one?

                              Personally, I've made a decent amount of baby food for my nieces and nephews, and will be making it soon for my own son. The other posters are spot on - you can just use what's in your own kitchen. A food processor (both large and small are normal kitchen electrics in people's possessions), a steamer, a roasting pan, and ice cube trays or other specialized baby food "holders." You want to make stuff in batches that would fill up a couple of ice cube trays..

                              Just note - you may want to steam thing, but maybe not.. I've done a lot of dishes where I roasted root vegetables and the like, to intensify the flavor. A steamer won't do that..

                              Second, the fine puree baby-food stage isn't that long..you want to move them to a point where they're eating sort of what the family is eating, albeit mashed up with a fork..

                              1. I used this http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/catalog/sho... for my 3 kids and now we're using it for my grandson.

                                Advantages: super cheap, indestructible, low-almost-no tech, disassembles completely into 2 large plastic pieces + 3 metal/plastic sweeper parts for total and effortless dishwasher cleaning, goes along to restaurants to turn anything into baby food, you prepare the puree and feed from a single piece of equipment.

                                Disadvantages: it's not sexy, won't cook anything, does a single serving.

                                Actually, I worked hard to come up with disadvantages. It doesn't *need* to cook anything -- all you have to do is place whatever you're eating at home or on the go into the central column and, press down and turn the sweeper crank to puree it for an instant meal. It comes with plates that create a fine puree for beginning eaters and one with a larger mesh for toddlers who are beginning to enjoy and handle texture.

                                You don't have to prepare anything special. And if you want to puree extra to freeze, just put more food in and do it a second time with leftovers.

                                A mini processor will also do the trick but won't go with you to restaurants and has trouble processing just a single serving at the dinner table.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: rainey

                                  Now *that's* a gadget I could support buying!

                                  1. re: rainey

                                    What gadget is this?! The link is broken!

                                    Thank you,

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      TDQ - I'm not rainey, but IIRC it was a smallish plastic food mill. Like this one:

                                      http://www.amazon.com/KidCo-F800-Baby...