slow cooking expert and mom to three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to Make Baby Food in Your CrockPot


Day 240!

The lovely Merideth who lined up the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry give away just had her first baby.

I love new babies.

Because I'm oh-so-helpful, I told her she could use her Crock-Pot to make baby food. After I blurted that out, I realized she probably already knew that...

but! Maybe you didn't. And now you do.

Since I'm a crazy California Hippie along with being a total cheapskate I didn't buy little jars of baby food for my kids. I wasn't concerned about chemicals as much as I was blown away by the cost and the packaging. The jars of organic food I bought for this picture cost $0.85 each on sale.
The vegetables I bought cost a total of $4.23, and I have enough baby food to feed all of John and Kate Plus 8's kids for a few days. Except now they aren't babies, they're 4, but if they were babies, I could do it.

The Ingredients.

--fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables
-- water

Frozen vegetables (in this case the little green beans) are quite good for you. They are picked at the exact right time and all of the nutrients are preserved perfectly in the freezing process.

The Directions.

I used yellow squash, sweet potatoes, and frozen green beans.

Wash your vegetables and peel the skin. Cut into chunks. Put the chunks into your crockpot and cover with the least amount of water you can to fully cook them.

For the yellow squash, I used 1/4 cup of water.
Frozen green beans (toss in frozen), 1/4 cup of water.
Sweet potatoes, I ended up using 3/4 cup of water.

Make baby food on a day that you are home to monitor the food. Each variety will cook differently, depending on the moisture content and the density of the fruit or vegetable.

I used a 4 quart, and two 6 quart crockpots, and everything was cooked fully within 3 hours.

When the veggies or fruit are quite tender, unplug your crockpot. Use an immersible blender, a real blender, or a food processor to puree the food. If you need to add a bit of water to make it thinner for your baby, do so in little drips.

Freeze in ice cube trays, then pop out and store in a freezer bag. Here's a great article about freezing baby food.

The Verdict.

I tasted each with a small spoon. It tastes like pureed vegetables. I'm going to be all Deceptively Delicious tonight and sneak a block or two into pasta sauce.

shhhh. don't tell.

56 comments:

Sarah Kay said...

I am doing this with my 6-month old and it is so fantastic. I also cooked sweet potatoes this way with my last child and when she was older I would just dice up the soft sweet potato for finger food once it had been in the crock pot awhile. She loved it!

Jennifer said...

I loved making my own baby food. I kind of got creative and started mixing it different ways. However, I didn't use the crockpot when making this but now that I'm reading your post I should have. What was I thinking? If I have another baby I will do it this way.

Jennifer said...

I loved making my own baby food. I even got a little creative and started mixing different veggies together and fruit too. However, I did not use the crockpot, but now that I am reading your post, I should have. What was I thinking? If I have another baby I will do it in the crockpot.

Western Warmth said...

Just an FYI about gluten free stuff--Godfather's Pizza developed a gluten-free one to serve at their restaraunts. We tried it last night! http://glutenfreewesternwarmth.blogspot.com/2008/08/lets-hear-it-for-godfathers.html

Molly said...

Oh I love you I love you I love you!!!

I had all these grand plans to make baby food for my little one but the cooking and the milling and the working full time did not mix well. And so jarred food it is. Until now... I have hope... I have wholesome food for Nate... I have a crockpot hear me roar!

:)

Anonymous said...

steph,
i really emjoy seeing pics of ur finished product. do u think we could see one please?
thanks :)

Heather Brandt said...

If you have any other ideas for how to make baby food in crockpot, please post them or email me.

heatherlbrandt (at) verizon (dot) net

Mommy Fitts said...

Thank you for this post. I am always shocked at how much I spend on baby food! I am going to try this and hope baby likes mommy's cooking. Thank you and I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm a nanny and make a ton of my charge's food - including some in the crockpot. We've branched away from the commercial cereals and make those in the crockpot (little dipper) as well. One caveat you might want to add is that it is not recommended to use frozen vegetables/fruit if you are going to freeze them. Our standard is that food made from frozen needs to be consumed within three days.

I'd been wondering/hoping you'd mention babyfood!

Crockpot Lady said...

hi anon, this is the finished product! I washed the jars and filled them up with the crockpot baby food.

nanny anon, you're right that it isn't recommended to re-freeze food. thanks for the reminder.

xox
steph

Mindee said...

I might be wrong (but I don't think so!) but I think the "don't re-freeze rule" applies only if you haven't cooked the food. For instance, if you thaw out frozen meat, you can't re-freeze it raw, but if you then cook it you can stick it back in the freezer. In this case, you've cooked the beans so it should be safe to freeze the finished product.

Sharon said...

This is awesome. I love it. I plan on making all my baby's food. This is such a good idea.

Kris said...

I made all our baby food but never thought to use the crockpot!

As a tip, pureed zucchini disappears into pasta sauce very easily. My hubby can't tell the difference! And my mom used to add shredded veg to our meatloaf.

Anonymous said...

The Super Baby Food book by Ruth Yaron is a great resource to use when figuring out when to serve what to your little one. I never used the crockpot, but if we have another one, I will! I was able to do enough batches on the weekends to keep my tot fed for all but the day care meals.

Zimms Zoo said...

I am excited about this. With one due in 20 weeks, this will be so handy.

I will be doing some research and maybe start stocking up when they are about 2 months old.

Do you know how long they would be good in the freezer for?

Crockpot Lady said...

hi Zimms, here's a great great article on freezing baby food.

Tink said...

We have made our own baby food for all three of our boys. Don't forget it is just as easy to use whatever your having from the crockpot with a little bit of your choice of liquid... puree it and there you go. Samuel eats the samethings we do almost everynight. Last night he had Orzo with garden fresh green beans and carrots in a garlic and herb goat cheese sauce and chicken... Little bit of breast milk + food proccessor = Happy Bouncing Boy

Amiyrah said...

I was just going to say, those purees would go great in any meal. This is a trick I use now with my 3 year old since he seems to have an aversion to veggies....and meat. He's becoming a starch-a-tarian. I used to do this with my hubby when we first got married too. He is a mid-west meat and potato boy so veggies were scarce...so he thought.

Kassi said...

:: picture a complete stranger singing:: Did you ever know that your my heroooooo.... :: Okay, anyways, I have totally been putting off making baby food because I'm too lazy to make it! LOL. So far my son has been enjoying avocados and bananas because the whole steaming process was freaking me out. Anyways, THIS I can do!!!! Looks likcane we're having sweet potatoes come payday! LOL.

Tracey said...

Oh my, you seriously crack me up! I'm really enjoying following your blog. And.........the bonus.....my DH is a celiac and eats GF, so these dishes you are creating are so, so helpful! I'm not such a great cook, and love to use my crock, so I'm so thankful for you and your blog this year!

Debra said...

Oh girl where were you for the last 10 yrs? I did make my own baby food for my 5 kids (they are WAYYYYY too expensive to buy!), but I did it with the stove and a blender. Took FOREVER! I took one day right before they started eating it and made enough for 6 months. We are talking 30 lbs of carrots! Oh yeah. We had a HUGE freezer for it. It was nuts, but saved so much money.

This is such a great way to do it! You rock for giving moms a less expensive way to cook for their babies. PLUS it tastes SO much better. Have any of you tried the green peas in the jar from the store? I promise if you did, you would never give it to your baby!

Crockpot Lady said...

I just read in that article that I posted that it's okay to re-freeze frozen veggies once they have been cooked. Mindee is totally right.

I've updated the post to include the link to the article.
xox
steph

RobinE said...

Genius! I made all the baby food for my little boy. Using a crockpot would have been a big help. Should another little one come along, I'm so doing this! Thanks!

Nil Zed said...

You know your link is going all over the place now? I'm about to tell my American friends on Netmums here in the UK. We've been talking about American vs. UK commercial babyfoods, and there are a number of us that need to go out and by a slowcooker now!

Darcy said...

One thing I did for my little one once he got bigger was freeze the homemade babyfood in freezer jam containers. He was eating so many of the cubes (at one time) of some stuff that it was easier to fill up half of the freezer jam containers. It was also easier to take places than the ice cubes.
darcy
http://ittybittyblog.wordpress.com

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Those are two different things.It's okay to freeze something that you cooked using frozen vegetables. It just isn't good to refreeze stuff that has been thawed, it gets gross,loses vitamins etc....

My youngest is 19 so unless there are grandbabies on the way that I don't know about, no babyfood making for me. I didn't buy babyfood for my kids, I just pureed stuff for them. They ate what we ate just pureed,the babyfood looked and tasted yucky so I didn't want to give it to my kids. Except the fruit, that tasted okay.
regards,
Theresa

kay said...

i'm passing this on! i don't have babies anymore. why did you show me this then? :)

i love jon and kate plus eight...

Anonymous said...

I am soooo glad my baby-food-making days are behind me..... even though I am glad I did it. When my twins were tiny, I blessed the food processor gods (and my dad, who bought me one as a wedding gift.) I have no idea how many pounds of fruit and vegetable we went through in those early days.

Abigail carter said...

I have a beautiful butternut squash that I picked up from the local farmer's market. I want to make baby food for my little peanut! I would love to cook it in the crock pot...Could you tell me how you would do it? Peel or not?, add water or not? Thank you for the great info on baby food!!

Daisy said...

I made my own when my babies were little - for the frugal nature of it as well as the freshness. I never used the crockpot, though. Maybe my grandkiddos someday...

katherine said...

I will definitely be making baby food in the crockpot for kiddo number two. It sounds even easier than making it on the stove top.

A said...

My mom was an Austin, TX health nut and therefore this is EXACTLY how I was raised! A full year on breast milk, homemade baby food and even cloth diapers (although she did have a service that washed them). I think I even got a hot oil massage after my bath every day.

Although I would say I am quite intelligent I do have quite a bit of allergies- oh well, she did try!

Sarah H. said...

I used to make applesauce in my crockpot for baby food (and for me too). I peeled, cored, and quartered apples and put them in the crockpot on high for an hour or two (or until they were puffy and would turn to sauce if you stirred them). I pureed them for the baby food. If it was for me and my husband, just stirring the apples is good enough. Add a little sugar and cinnamon if you want. Yummy!

Adam and Megan's Mom said...

WOW I never thought of doing it in the crock pot! My little miss is just starting on veggies and it almost killed me to buy a tiny jar of organic sweet potatoes for 97 cents!

THANK YOU from Miss Megan and me!

Gina said...

My fourth child is just now starting solids. I've made baby food for the other three and am making his as well - hadn't thought to do it in the crock po, though! Thanks!!! :)

julesb said...

Just found your blog a few days ago and think it's great. Thanks for so many ideas.

I always made baby food for the kids myself and am now almost smacking my forehead at not thinking of doing them this way!

Jenny said...

You have no idea how much money you are going to save me.

Baby Elise starts on baby food relatively soon.

Kara said...

I didn't have a crock pot when I was making my older daughter's baby food - but I do now! woot! I have 4 months until the new baby starts solids, but I'll be crockpotting her little fruits and veggies. Thanks for the tip!

tobymine said...

SWEET. THANK you for this one. All of your recipes I have tried are awesome, and I totally didn't know you could do baby food in the crockpot. My son is just starting on solids, so PERFECT TIMING. It's like you know me or something. Weird!

Nikki said...

I super love this blog. I cannot believe that I have not found it until August! I am new to blogging? I think I have to ask if I can put up a link from my blog to yours just so that I can see when it is updated. Is that ok with you?
THANK YOU... off to try to make baby food for my 7 month old!
Nicole

Jenna said...

Great idea!

Jenna
http://newlyweds.wordpress.com/

Coanheadz said...

I am feeling soooo accomplished and thrifty..I went to the marker and got 2 big bag fulls of fruits and veggies for this project and only spent $12....wouldn't have gotten very far with that in ther gerber isle!! I'm wondering how would you do like an acorn or butternut squash??? You can't really peal them. Thanks for your AWESOME blog!!!!

Heather of Troy said...

How do you defrost the cubes? Do you use a microwave? Is that okay for babyfood? Microwaves scare me! I use them for myself but I don't know about babies!

heatheroftroy@gmail.com

trucksr4gurls said...

this is so cool. personally i'm gonna do it not for a baby (don't have any) but so i can sneak more veggies into my husband's 'meat and tater' diet. lol

Christi said...

This is one of those "duh!" ideas that I can't believe didn't dawn on me before! Thanks for the lightbulb moment! :)

Someone asked about butternut squash. Yes, you CAN peel it. Use a "y" shaped peeler and peel it down until there's no "green" tint or stripes of the peeling. Then cube it relatively small, toss in the crockpot and cook on low until done. Works perfectly.

So far I've done pears, carrots and squash. I've got sweet potatoes and apples to go :)

There was also a question about thawing... Put them in a small bowl in the fridge overnight. You can microwave them, but be sure to stir and test because you can get hotspots when doing that.

Thanks again for the great idea!

MonkeyButtWhat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lizzyland said...

I loved making my own baby food for my two. They ate it so much better as well. Those canned ones invariably have not as ripe vegetables in it, and it doesn't taste as good. My oldest wouldn't touch jarred carrots, but loved mine. You can also (waaay easy) make your own rice cereal. No preservatives, no icky things (and one company used fish oil in their rice cereal, which we found my youngest to be allergic to.)

Mama Kalila said...

I loved making our baby food too... I didn't know you could cp it (although I didn't have one then lol) but it was so easy steaming and baking that I'm not sure I want to change that next time. I may try it though... Is nice to know I can anyway lol.

Baby Food Recipes said...

This is a really interesting way of preparing baby food. I host a lot of recipes but I have never considerd using the crockpot. I'll try with this recipe and invent some of my own!

Thank you!

Tracy said...

I love your blog and have made many of the meals for dinners. I was looking at your applesauce recipe when I decided to search "baby food" and found this post. I am a baby food making lover. My boys are getting older now, but I'm still making lots of things to batch freeze.

Someone else mentioned Ruth Yaron's book Super Baby Food and I agree that it is the best resource available! I'm writing about it and my many experiences making baby and toddler food. I'll definitely be posting a link to this post of yours at http://52weekbabyfood.blogspot.com.

Adam and Sarah said...

My friend shared the link to your babyfood post recently and I have since been making baby food galore using my crockpot. I think I'm addicted!! :) Thanks for the idea -- it was definitely the push I needed to make my own babyfood. A lot lower key than steaming all the veggies. I thank you, my baby thanks you and my bank account thanks you! hehe :)

Anonymous said...

Another idea for sweet potatoes-- you can just scrub the skins off well and then place them, still damp, in your crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. They are unbelievably delicious this way! Just cut them in half and scoop the insides out. It's my favorite way to make them for me, not just for baby!

Victoria said...

What a brilliant idea! Baby food doesn't seem that expensive when you buy it but the cost soon adds up. Homemade food is so much healthier too, whether it's baby food or grownup food!

The Peterson Family said...

I'm just going to say it ... I love you! I have been living in the Philippines for the past 2 years, had surprise baby #3 while here and about fell over dead at the price of imported and/or organic baby food. You are a lifesaver! I had always been afraid of making my own baby food plus thought I would need lots of fancy equipment. Thanks for shedding some light on the easiness of it. My baby girl enjoyed peas for the first time tonight. I love your cookbook (which I had a friend buy and mail to me so I could have it here with me) and refer to it often for dinner ideas plus fun stuff to do with the kids. Thanks for all of your great hard work!

Jennifer said...

Question, instead of water to cook the veggies in could you use breast milk?

Stephanie ODea said...

Hi Jennifer,

Great question. I don't think it would hurt anything and I do think it would perform just fine in the cooker, but I don't know if all the "good stuff" will still be alive after heating -- I'd recommend looking up what happens when breast milk is heated. In this case it would be about 180 degrees or so.

good luck!!

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