Some candid advice about baby food purees (from a mother who uses her Vitamix to make them)
When the fiancée first pitched an article about baby food purees in a Vitamix, I just about puked. (I also considered inconsolably crying, flailing my limbs, and drooling).
But we were headed to Minnesota for a family weekend and my sister, Alana, was going to be there with her 7-month old son, Norman. Fine.
So I sat down with Alana and asked her some questions.
To my surprise, making baby food purees in a Vitamix (or any blender, for that matter) is actually a pretty awesome thing to do.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation. Afterwards, you’ll find three Vitamix recipes for baby food purees (good for adults, too, that need or prefer to eat their food with a spoon.)
Enter Alana: New mom and maker of her own baby food purees
Alana Matthew, 30, worked in sales at DirecTV for seven years. Now, she is a professional mom. Her parenting style is somewhere between thoroughly by-the-book and progressively perfectionist. Her son is Norman and was playing with (trying to “eat”) some plastic toy during our interview. Despite being my nephew, he is objectively a ridiculously cute baby.
LINY: You are my sister. We got you a Vitamix for your wedding. Besides supporting Life is NOYOKE and being a kind sister, why do you use a Vitamix to make baby food purees for your baby?
Alana: I didn’t know anything about baby food. So when I first picked up a package of baby food, I was surprised it had other things in it besides peas. There’s like lemon, something acid, or, you know, you can read the package… The things are not bad for you. But it’s not peas.
LINY: Preservatives and…
Alana: Yeah. It sits on the shelf. So what is in it? So, if I can give him just peas, then I would prefer to do so.
LINY: Good. It’s like I coached you to say that!
Alana: Yup. I also like it because you can introduce one food at a time. Then, you give it to him for three days to see if he’s allergic. And a lot of the foods that I had to store-buy yesterday (because we’re traveling) are a mix. So, like, mango and peach. But I would prefer to give him just peach. Here is a peach. Here’s what it tastes like and see if he’s allergic.
LINY: Less is more with smoothies, too.
Alana: And also there’s the convenience. The other night, we had so many leftover brussels sprouts. We weren’t going to eat them before they went bad. So I Vitamixed them and froze them for Norman. Instead of wasting them, I fed them to the disposal. *points to the baby*
LINY: So it sounds like it helps avoid waste. Is it actually convenient to use a Vitamix to make baby food?
Alana: Yes, but the cleanup is not. That’s not the Vitamix’s fault, though. That’s just serving homemade baby food in general.
LINY: How does baby food (in your Vitamix) compare to store bought from a price perspective?
Alana: Crazy. A jar, which is a serving, is a little over a dollar. And what is a bag of peas or a bunch of asparagus or brussels or beans?
LINY: Do you get frozen peas? Can you get fresh peas? Is that a thing?
Alana: I get frozen. But, everything else is fresh. And a bag of fresh beans costs like three dollars. And that made three ice cube trays worth. Which is like 14 servings.
LINY: So one pack of peas is worth like 15 bucks of what you’d buy in pre-made baby food.
Alana: It’s probably a dollar per serving versus 20 cents.
LINY: But do you think about that? Price?
Alana: Of course! Coming here this weekend, this was my first time having to buy baby food. And I was like, this is a dollar, per!?
LINY: Certainly you don’t always use your Vitamix to make all his baby food, right?
Alana: Right. There’s easy stuff. He loves banana. Avocado.
LINY: What do you blend up?
Alana: I’ve blended carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beans, peas, brussels sprouts, asparagus, pears, and apples.
LINY: Not all together, right? Individually.
Alana: Yes. Individually.
LINY: When you do that, do figure out what the ratio should be? Do you add water?
Alana: I steam them. I steam everything before I blend except for the pears and the apples. We have a steamer. It catches the “sweat.” That has all the nutrients, so I put that back in the blend. The steam softens them, too. No water needed.
LINY: So you make the purees and put it into ice cube trays?
Alana: Yup. Then I freeze it overnight. In the morning, I pop them out and put them into big zip lock bags. My freezer bags have labels saying the date and what it is. The night before, I take out three meals and put them in the fridge. That way they’re defrosted for the next day.
LINY: So at Life is NOYOKE, we are 100% dairy free. But we are 100% supportive of breast milk for babies (and dare-prone brothers-in-law who are married to your twin sister). Have you ever made your baby a smoothie with breast milk?
Alana: No. But some people do popsicles. Boobsicles. Great for when they’re teething.
LINY: Our brother-in-law James would eat that.
Alana: But a smoothie? No. But the directions to make baby food say you can add water, formula, or breast milk.
LINY: Okay, back to topic. How much baby food do you make at once?
Alana: It depends on whatever I buy. For example, asparagus, I just buy a bunch.
LINY: Do you have to use your Vitamix’s tamper, or no?
Alana: Yes, sometimes. I did yesterday with the brussels. Because it can get stuck on the sides.
LINY: What advice would you give to mothers about making their own baby food?
Alana: (Speaking to Normie) You think that’s funny? … I think that in the beginning, and I’m still kind of dealing with this, is that I have this overwhelming feeling that I want him to try every single vegetable. And I have to give it to him for three days. But if you’re making homemade baby food purees, the amount of vegetables in the world is endless. But if you’re buying pre-made, there’s three: Peas, carrots, sweet potatoes. So, I try to remind myself that I don’t have to introduce him to every single one. He’ll try them in time.
LINY: Let him make his own mistakes, eh?
Alana: And, he likes pears. So I always have frozen pears in a bag.
LINY: Any other advice?
Alana: It’s a lot of dishes. Because my doctor recommends, basically, two things every meal. So a cereal and a vegetable. Or a cereal and a fruit. Or a fruit and a veggie. And so it’s two dishes right there.
LINY: What do doctors know about nutrition?
LINY: Thank you. I’m going to link to that article I wrote about Doctors knowing nothing about nutrition. Okay, go on.
Alana: Sometimes I use a baby-sized, cheap mixer we were given. Like for a single peach. “You like peaches, don’t you cause they’re yummy!”
Alana: So why didn’t you get us that one?
Alana: I think it’s time for a nap.
Other Noteworthy Versions
- My Life on a Plate: Baby Food | Butternut Squash Puree
- Do It On a Dime FAMILY: How to make baby food: BULK COOKING
- MOMables: How to make baby food at home
Useful tips for Baby food purees
Here’s a summary of tips for making baby food purees from the convo above:
- Embrace the cost savings. They’re significant.
- Steam, first. Use the “sweat” in the blend to maximize nutrients.
- Use ice trays to freeze the baby food overnight.
- Pop cubes into a plastic bag and label.
- Pluck food from freezer for next day the night before.
- Don’t worry about exposing baby to every food on the planet.
- Enjoy the precious moments. It flies by.
Baby food purees in a blender
- peas - one bag frozen
- asparagus - one bunch, fresh
- sweet potatoes - 3, peeled
- pears - 3, cored
- carrots - 3 large carrots
- apples - 3, cored
- beans - 3 cups
- corn - 3 cups
- squash - 3 cups