I did it because I’m cheap. And I like to try new things. But mostly because I’m cheap. My husband and I were below the poverty level for several years with three kids while he was getting his MBA and we learned how to cut corners, live on a tight budget, and save on costs and expenses. While we are doing well now, I still like to save where I can. Baby food is an area where I can save a lot of money. I mean A LOT. Baby food and baby food products have got to be one of the biggest scams out there. My 5mo old started tasting solids last month and I went to buy “baby food applesauce”. The baby version of applesauce is tiny packets of it for about .88 cents each. A family sized jar of kosher organic applesauce was $4.57. I would have to spend $6.16 on the baby branded sauce for one week where the family sized jar was enough for a month, plus some baking. What a rip-off!! It was then I decided to buy a “baby food maker” thinking I would outsmart The Man. Baby food makers are roughly sixty to over one hundred dollars depending on the brand. I figured the specialized baby food machine was just a smaller version of a food processor and it turns out a decent food processor is a fraction of the the price as (if not a bit less than) the machine marketed towards babies. Plus it’s not limited to just baby food making.
I ended up with this one:
It’s an Oster 10-cup food processor with a dough blade, and a shredder chute. I paid $35.70 for it at Target. The one I was going to buy was half the size and $59.95. Go ahead and look up “baby food maker” on Amazon. There’s tons of different machines and they range from $60 to $100+– madness!!
I got some pretty good recipes on Pinterest: mango+banana+avocado, sweet potato+applesauce, carrot+applesauce, peach+yogurt+banana; you get the drift. I boiled my fruit for about 10 minutes before putting it in my machine to avoid chunks and to make it extra mushy (my little one is just starting solids). I don’t have a small enough strainer, but if you have one you can push the puree through the strainer to get some of the chunks out.
I made some beautiful looking sweet potato+applesauce puree that my little on gobbled up during taste testing. I let the sweet potatoes boil into almost mush before putting them in my processor.
It took me about $15 (not counting the cost of the food processor) to make about six weeks worth of baby food. She eats solids twice a day, so as she grows these numbers will change. But even if I spend $25 for six weeks it’s still less expensive and a healthier alternative (just my opinion, not based on any scientific research or anything credible) than if I were to buy commercial baby food. It took roughly an hour for me to make everything, label bags, and boil ingredients which will probably take less time the next time I do it since I know what I’m doing now. Another great way to save money is to buy seasonal foods and puree what you’d be eating anyway. I buy bananas, greek yogurt, avocados, carrots, and sweet potatoes anyway, so it’s really not hitting my budget any harder than it would normally cost. I did buy extra bananas and the applesauce. If you’ve got the time I highly recommend trying to make your baby’s food. It also cuts down on sugar intake. Sometimes commercial baby food has added sweeteners to make it taste better, but I just added bananas and applesauce to the not-so-sweet foods to make them a bit yummier.
The great thing is that my food was pretty much all “Scarlett Approved” since I would give her little tastes as I made it.