Now that my sweet little man is five months old (!), we have been advised to start introducing vegetables and fruits. I couldn’t be more thrilled, as this is my first chance ever to cook for him. I am happy to make his food for many reasons, but most of all because I know exactly what is going into it, it is much cheaper than store-bought food, and it is more environmentally friendly because it does not require disposable packaging for each serving.
The first vegetable puree I made was butternut squash. Both acorn and butternut squash are good introductory veggies. They are easily digested and rarely induce food allergies. Butternut squash is also an excellent source of beta-carotene. As far as cost goes, this wasn’t that much cheaper than store-bought baby food. It ended up being about 40 cents per serving versus 50 cents per serving for store-bought. I did save quite a bit of money with my sweet potato puree though, factoring out to about 15 cents a serving versus 50-75 cents for store bought.
Let’s make baby food!
Using a large, heavy duty knife, slice both ends off of the squash. Cut in half.
Scoop out the seeds from inside the squash.
Place the two halves face down in a baking dish and fill with water about 1 inch deep. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until the skin looks puckered and brown (as in the picture above).
Once the squash is cooked, scoop the flesh from the skins and place it in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Add water and blend as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Fill silicone ice cube trays with squash puree and freeze. (I have found that using a small scoop with release mechanism makes this job much easier.) Once completely frozen, transfer cubes to freezer bags or other storage container. Label and date, and store until ready to use. One squash yielded about 24 cubes. Since our son eats 3 cubes in one serving, this works out to about 8 servings of squash from one batch.
To prepare food for baby, thaw cubes in refrigerator one day in advance of use. Alternatively, thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting. However, if you do this be absolutely sure that there are no “hot spots” that could scald your child’s mouth. I recommend refrigerating for a bit after thawing in the microwave if there is any doubt about the temperature of the food.
Andrew’s first experience with a food other than rice cereal. The verdict? He LOVES it! So far we have tried squash and sweet potatoes and he gobbles them up. We are really looking forward to introducing more new foods, and I will continue to share some of the “recipes” along the way.
Sources: Wholesome Baby Food and Top 100 Baby Purees