Baby Food Making Device
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.