1. Clean/peel fresh fruit or veggies. If this already sounds like too much work, buy some pre-cut and pre-peeled baby carrots. I bought a 5 lb. bag at Costco for about $5, so these are a good CHEAP food.
2. Steam (or boil) your fresh *OR FROZEN* veggies or fruit. Costco also carries a 5lb bag of frozen organic green beans that my whole family enjoys steamed.
3. Use a strainer spoon to place the cooked food into your blender or food processor. You will need to add at least a few tablespoons of the water from the pan, so DON'T dump that out yet!
4. Add just a little water to the mixture and puree. If more water is needed, YOU'LL KNOW, trust me. Add more water from your pan if needed, and puree again if needed. Younger babies will want a VERY smooth consistency, while older babies will enjoy some texture/lumps to begin some "practice chewing".
5. TASTE IT. Yes, it will be incredibly bland. Depending on your baby's age, you might be able to experiment with adding a little onion in step 2, or at least some sea salt. First foods are supposed to be bland, though. If something is wrong with the food, i.e. it was not as fresh as you thought it was, your tongue will alert you and you can now discard this batch and start over. If it tastes 'normal', proceed to the next step.
6. Pour the puree into storage containers. I like to pour some into an ice cube tray, so I can freeze it. The frozen cubes then go into a labeled ziplock bag for long-term storage. This allows me to make one kind of food, say, every other night, and still have plenty of variety on hand. The little snack-size disposable gladware containers are also great for refigerating individual servings for use within the first 2 or 3 days after the food is made.
fresh baby food poured into an ice cube tray
frozen cubes of mango-strawberry puree
7. SERVE! If you use the ice-tray method, it's best to take out a day's worth of food at night before you go to bed - thaw them in covered containers (like the gladware or tupperware). If you forget to do this, or your little one's appetite suddenly spikes, you CAN thaw the frozen baby food in your microwave...just know that this does degrade some of the nutrients in the food.
8. EXPERIMENT with different foods! Combine a fruit with a vegetable - apples seem to blend well with everything, and take the harsh edge off of things like sweet potatoes or broccoli. I still can't get meat to come out right in the blender, so we buy a lot of the chicken and turkey dishes ready-made. Last week I made Shepherd's Pie for the older boys, so I decided to throw some of those ingredients into the blender.
Cooked ground turkey w/onions, green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes.
Doesn't look all that appetizing, but he ATE it.