You don't have be an exceptional cook -- or even have a lot of free time -- to make your own baby food.
"Making your own baby food has no science,'' says registered dietician and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Ximena Jimenez. "It's very simple, and it's economical -- whatever you're preparing for lunch or dinner you can prepare for baby. You can control the texture and you can make sure it's fresh and nutritious.''
Many moms are turning to the blender as finances tighten and news about BPA and food contamination permeate the news. BPA, a chemical frequently used in food containers, may disrupt the body's endocrine system and pose a particular danger to children and infants, whose bodies are still developing.
"I decided to make baby food because I heard it was easy to do, and it was the best way to give my daughter healthy fresh food,'' said Miami-born Hara Fischbein. "I knew there were no preservatives in the food and it had lots of nutrition since I didn't add or dilute it with anything.''
Miami Beach mom Brielle Mark agrees.
"Why would I give my precious daughter food from a jar when I could steam some green beans in a tiny bit of water and blend it up for her?''
WHAT YOU NEED
1. A large pot and a steamer basket (glass bowl & microwave works too).
2. A food processor, blender or hand-operated food mill.
3. Ice cube trays and Ziploc bags.
4. Produce and meat - organic if possible.
1. Thoroughly wash hands, utensils, pots, pans, storage containers and produce.
2. Peel and dice produce into small chunks.
3. Bring one inch water to boil in pot. Place produce in steamer basket, set in pot, cover and steam until tender (or steam in microwave).
4. Let cool, reserving cooking liquid.
5. Puree in food processor, blender or food mill until smooth, adding reserved liquid if desired.
6. Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze for up to three months in Ziploc bags.
7. To serve, microwave to thaw (15-30 seconds).
HELPFUL RESOURCESCookbooks: So Easy Baby Food, by Joan Ahlers & Cheryl Tallman
Cooking For Baby, by Lisa Barnes