Sunday, January 17, 2016

Baby Food- Make Your Own to Save Money

Baby food can get expensive. In the last couple months my peanut started eating baby food so I'm back in the swing of making my own. Making your own baby food is so much cheaper and even can be healthier for your baby. Some simple ones to make are carrots, peas, and applesauce.

Below are my tips on how to save money while making your own, natural baby food. If a bag of peas costs $0.99 and you get 36 servings, whereas a single container of baby food peas at the store can cost roughly $1 and you only get 2-3 servings, you're automatically saving at least $17 by making your own. That can add up quickly! Even better if you are able to maintain your own garden and grow the produce. 

One trick a friend of mine taught me is to freeze servings in ice cube trays. Each ice cube is about 1 serving, so you can keep track of how much your baby needs and cut down on waste. 


On a side note, another way to make your breast milk go farther, freeze in ice cube trays as well.  Stay tuned for a later post about the how to. 



What you will need: 

1 2lb bag of large carrots
1 2lb bag frozen peas 
peeler 

blender 
pot 
ice cube trays 
spatula 


Peas:

1. Toss frozen peas in a pan large enough to hold them, then add water just until they are slightly covered. 








2. Gently boil, or boil & then let simmer until they are pretty soft.



You can see about the softness I let them become in this picture. 



3. Scoop peas into a blender, add a little of the water from the pot to the blender (The water has a lot of the nutrients, so use as much as you can without it becoming too runny).



4. Puree for about 30-45 seconds. 




5. I like to blend it as well for 4-5 seconds. You want to make sure that it is pretty liquidy.  This is something I have had a hard time with, making sure it was a thin enough consistency for her. I ended up making sure to not feed peas to peanut until she has ate baby food for a couple weeks. You can also add water to it later when feeding it to your baby if needed.  

Or, as an alternative I've tried adding a little applesauce to it. I know it sounds gross, but it actually doesn't taste that bad. Yep, I'm one of those moms, I had to try it! If my baby's going to eat it I need to try it too. It adds a little sweetness to the peas, plus it helps make it a little easier for them to eat. Then you kill two birds with one stone feeding the  both veggies and fruit at the same time! 

I just started giving peas to peanut this week and I have to say she is not a fan. The applesauce does help a little, at least when I add the applesauce she doesn't shake her head as much. Seriously, she's only 7 months and she can already hold her mouth locked tight and refuse to eat.

6. Once you're done blending the peas, freeze the mixture in the trays for a few hours. I've frozen them overnight too, but you don't want to leave them in too long without putting them in something with a cover. This made 3 trays of ice cubes.  Now, as you can see in the photo my trays have both large and small sized cubes.  Which right now comes in handy because Peanut is still getting used to baby food and I had been cutting the cubes in half. This way I can start with the smaller cubes and work our way up. 




7. Take out of ice cube trays and store in a plastic bag or jar.  I prefer to store mine in pyrex bowls.  They are easy to stack and store in my deep freezer. 



These are photos of the carrots, but the same concept applies to the peas or any other homemade baby food you are making. 

***I need to add that if you are planning to keep these in your freezer for a few weeks and you go the pyrex bowl route, line the bowl with that free wax paper. You can get the how to for that here.  After a week or so in the deep freezer the cubes stick to the glass and take a little bit to get removed.  Otherwise, freezer bags work great***  




 I also put some in a quart mason jar that I keep up in my fridge freezer for easy access.  




Carrots:



1. Peel the carrots



2. Slice them up


Repeat steps 1-7 from above. 



So figuring in an average ice cube tray, I'd have about 36 cubes total.  I was able to get that 2lb bag of peas for 0.99 cents, which makes each cube only 0.03 cents a piece.  Each ice cube (the average one) is about one serving.  Even right now, when I can get 3 servings out of a baby food jar  at $0.98 cents a jar, that still costs $0.32 a serving. That comes to $0.66 cents savings per serving.  That's when I can get 3 servings! Once peanut starts eating only 2 servings per jar, or even one serving the difference will be even more!!


Peas:

$0.99/2lb bag

36 ice cubes = $0.03 cents a serving




Carrots: 
$1.49/2lb bag 
36 ice cubes = $0.04 cents a serving

Applesauce:



10 apples of your choice, some that I prefer are Braeburn or Fuji, although I have thrown in a Granny Smith here or there.  I usually just use whatever I have on hand that are getting too bad to eat on their own. 



Then I follow the applesauce recipe from: Cutting Coupons in KC






Then I add it to my blender and puree it for awhile to make it smooth.  I would recommend doing this if you are planning to use it as baby food.  I do this for us as well, because we don't like it thick. I also leave out the sugar, I just always have because I feel applesauce is sweet enough as is, but that is my personal preference.



Also for applesause I freeze it in pint jars, rather than ice cube trays because we all eat it, not just little peanut.  






























With her recipe, I get about 2 1/2 pints.  This time I was short 3 apples so it didn't quite make it to a full 1/2.  It's perfect, because I can freeze the 2 pints and then refrigerate the 1/2 pint to use right away   

Now, I will say that making applesauce isn't really that much cheaper.  According to a friend of mine in order for you to make it so that it's cheaper, you have to get the apples as low as $0.33 cent a lb, but in this area I splurge because I like to have homemade applesauce. I also don't make homemade applesauce exclusively, I buy it too, but when I can I try to make it homemade. 
 A few ways you can make homemade applesauce more affordable, find a friend who has an apple tree.  Peope who have apple trees are usually more than willing to give away their extra apples for free or just a small fee.  Or plant your own apple tree, one day I might finally get the hubby on board with that idea, but until then, I spurlge for the applesauce or get them from a friend.   

How to defrost:

There are 2 ways you can defrost
1st you can microwave the cube for 10-15 seconds. 
2nd, I prefer to take a cube out of the freezer in the morning and let it slowly defrost in the fridge.  




What are some of your favorite baby foods to make?  I'm always up for trying new recipes so I'd love to hear what you've tried! 





0 comments:

Post a Comment

Pinterest