I decided early when pregnant with my first child, a son, that I would make all of his baby food. For some reason, the typical “nesting phase” of pregnancy for me came in the form of food gathering and preserving. Even when overdue, and ready to be induced, my focus was on canning the pears that I had picked. I was a mad woman, canning hundreds of quarts of fresh food from our garden and orchard. In the end, all that work paid off; my son not only got to eat good, wholesome food, but I saved a TON of money on buying baby food.
The process was very simple, about once every two weeks I went to the canning room and gathered up a variety of fruits, vegetables and meats, then just processed each in my food processor adding water as needed until smooth. I then poured the pureed food into small 4-ounce jars (the same as store-bought baby food) and put them in the freezer. When I wanted to offer him more variety than my canned goods allowed I would purchase fresh produce and meats from our local grocery store and market and then prepare them at home; puree and freeze. Daily I selected a menu for my little man and then just microwaved until warm and served. My son now loves fruit and vegetables, and refuses to eat store bought (I bought a couple jars in a pinch).
In addition to a healthy beginning, making my own food also saved me a ton of money. My husband and I are rather self-sufficient and purchase very few items from the grocery store. At anywhere from $0.50 to $2 per container, a single quart of vegetables that costs mere pennies would make anywhere between six and 10 jars of baby food. A store-bought butternut squash costing $4 makes 12 jars of baby food (33 cents per jar).
Though it may require a little extra effort, the healthy benefits of a good beginning, and the money saved are more than worth it!
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