Can I just say how much I love feeding our babies homemade baby food? Especially when it’s something organic that I picked locally, or grew myself!
It’s incredibly satisfying.
And it’s wonderfully convenient to use stuff that’s already canned. Applesauce from the apples I picked off a friend’s tree. Pear sauce from my mother-in-law’s pear tree. Peaches we bought from a neighbor. Green beans, carrots and squash from last year’s garden.
Yes, it’s much more nutritious to make baby food from fresh ingredients, but I figure my home canned goods are at least a notch up from the store bought stuff. Not to mention MUCH cheaper.
Turning canned goods into baby food is practically effortless. Just spoon out what you want into a baby food processor, a couple of whizzes around, and there ya go! Perfectly pureed.
Of course, I don’t always use canned food for his meals. Often I use fresh or frozen as well.
There are so many options when it comes to feeding your baby food fresh from your homestead – this article will cover some of my favorite baby food recipes that you can easily make yourself at home.
1. Sweet Potato Puree
This recipe is easy to make and a good source of fiber and protein. Here’s a recipe.
2. Avocado Puree
Avocado is a good choice for baby food since it’s rich in healthy fats and also low-allergenic. Mix it up with a bit of lemon juice if you want to store it for later – the only other thing you need is a blender. You can view the full recipe here.
3 White Peach and Banana
A great introduction to fruits can be found in this simple white peach and banana puree.
4. Lentils and Apples Puree
Here’s another fun, easy recipe you can try if you’re trying to create a more adventurous eater later on.
5. Blueberry Puree
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and double-rich in flavor! When you puree blueberries, they’ll likely end up a bit thicker as they rest in the fridge. You can mix them with baby oatmeal or yogurt for an extra dose of nutrients and calories. Check out the recipe here.
6. Parsnip, Pear, and Fig Puree
There are so many good-for-baby ingredients in this easy-to-make puree. You’ve got to give it a try! Here’s the recipe.
7. Green Bean, Potato, and Kale Puree
A nutritional powerhouse, this recipe calls upon ingredients you likely have growing in your own garden! Here are details on how to make it.
8. Apple and Oats Porridge
Lots of parents start with rice cereal as their baby’s first introduction to solids. However, you can also use oats in most cases. This porridge also has apples for even more fiber. Here are details.
9. Bean Puree
You can use any kind of beans to make a nutritious puree for your little one, including black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and white beans. If it’s too thick, just thin it a bit with some water or breastmilk. You can also mix it up with a starch like sweet potato or squash for a super-nutritious mix. Check out the bean puree recipe here.
10. Chicken, Corn, and Cilantro Puree
This recipe is perfect for babies who are at least nine months old!
11. Zucchini, Turkey, and Potato Puree
You have a complete meal in this easy-to-make puree for baby.
12. Blueberry Chickpea Puree
Chickpeas offer tons of protein while blueberries have all the antioxidants a baby needs to be healthy. Here’s a quick recipe!
13. Baby Food Lasagna
Who doesn’t love lasagna? Introduce baby to the dinnertime staple with this simple recipe.
14. Chicken and Vegetable Puree
This is another simple, high-protein, and highly diverse recipe you can whip up for baby!
15. Salmon and Orange Puree
Salmon is a good fish to give a baby since it’s low in mercury but sky-high in other nutrients. Be careful about starting citrus too early, as it can be too acidic for some babies. Otherwise, here’s the recipe.
16. Peaches and Cloves Puree
Here’s a fun recipe to try if you want to introduce your baby to some new spices.
17. Leek Puree
This recipe is a godsend for busy parents, since it only contains one ingredient. It’s also a great option if you want to be careful about introducing too many ingredients all at once to keep an eye out for allergens.
18. Red Pepper Puree
I love simple recipes, and this one doesn’t get any easier. All you need are some sweet bell peppers (they don’t have to be red!). Here are some tips.
19. Kiwi Puree
Kiwi is a good option for babies who have already explored the more common fruits (like apples and bananas) and are ready for the next step. You can mix up a bunch and store it for later. Choose a very ripe kiwi so it’s not too tart – and check out the full tutorial here.
20. Yellow Squash and Cilantro Puree
You can also substitute zucchini in this easy-to-make puree.
21. Butternut Squash and Thyme
Two seasonal ingredients that you likely have growing in your garden, combined for a super nutritious and tasty baby food for your little one. Here’s a recipe.
22. Carrot and Ginger Puree
This recipe combines carrots and ginger for a simple recipe that can be fed as one of the first foods you give to your baby. Here’s the recipe.
23. Avocado and Banana Puree
Avocados offer good fats and fiber while bananas offer vitamin C and potassium. It’s sweet and calorically dense for a growing little lady or lad! Here’s a recipe.
24. Green Bean and Basil Puree
Here’s another simple recipe to try – green beans and basil. It comes together easily with flavors the baby is sure to love.
25. Acorn Squash and Ginger Puree
Another easy way to introduce your baby to the many flavors of the world! You can start this one as young as four months. Here’s a recipe.
26. Mango Puree
Of course, mangos (like kiwi and avocado) are probably not foods you have hanging around your house during a normal canning season. But don’t be afraid to pop out to the store and pick up a few of these to make your own baby puree. It’s still cheaper than buying the jarred stuff.
Flavorful and a great source of vitamins, mango baby food is perfect for a baby exploring new foods. Check out the recipe here.
27. Apple + Cinnamon Puree
Apples are some of the first foods to introduce your baby to, and cinnamon will make it even more palatable. Give it a try by following this recipe.
28. Broccoli and Chives Baby Food
All the nutritional goodness of broccoli and chives, fresh from the garden – here’s a recipe to try.
29. Beets and Blueberries
Best for older eaters, this recipe is a gorgeous shade of purple, and will make even the pickiest little eater happy. Here’s a recipe.
30. Carrot, Leek, and Fish
A great recipe for an older baby, this food contains all kinds of omega-3 fatty acids that will be great when it comes to boosting the baby’s immune and nervous system. Check out the recipe here.
31. Apricot and Banana with Cinnamon
Two fruits and nutritional powerhouses paired with a dash of cinnamon makes a puree that’s perfect for breakfast. Check out the recipe.
32. Peach Puree
If you have a lot of extra peaches hanging around after you’ve made your favorite peach jam or canned peaches, be sure to try this recipe out for size. Your baby is sure to love it!
33. Papaya Puree
Yes, another tropical fruit – and one that your baby will love. The key to introducing papaya, though, is to wait until your baby is a bit older. It’s a bit more acidic so it might be a bit more challenging, particularly for a reflux-prone baby. Here’s a recipe that older tots will love!
34. Quinoa Ratatouille
This recipe sounds complicated, but it’s really not too challenging. Plus, you’ll impress all your mom friends the next time you make it! Here are tips.
35. Banana Puree
Banana is one of the first fruits that most parents will try out with their little ones, and for good reason. Babies love the taste of bananas and it’s also easy to mash. Here’s a recipe for a tasty banana puree to try.
36. Mint and Cherry Yogurt Puree
Once your baby is around eight months old, you can start to introduce dairy products. Adding cherries and mint is a great choice for extra nutrients! Here’s a recipe to follow.
37. Sweet Potato Puree
Baked sweet potatoes are favorite starch choices for adults and they should be for babies too. Loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, this sweet potato puree can be made with milk or water for a nutritious food.
38. Quinoa and Banana Mash
A great recipe for older babies, this dish featuring quinoa and bananas offers texture and fiber. Here’s a recipe.
39. Whipped Peanut Butter
Believe it or not, whipped peanut butter can actually be a great introduction to nuts for babies. Just make sure you introduce it on its own, and do so slowly, to rule out any allergies (I’d also recommend saving this baby food recipe until the baby is just a little bit older and has tried other solids first). Here’s the recipe.
40. Pumpkin Thyme Puree
This fun, seasonal puree is easy to make out of items you’re sure to have on hand from September on. You can make a large batch and freeze portions for later. Check out the recipe here.
41. Carrot Puree
Carrots offer a sweet taste and a pleasing texture. Whip up a puree according to this recipe here.
42. Squash and Pear
Butternut squash very rarely causes allergies while peas add a welcomed dose of sweetness. Here’s the recipe.
43. Spinach and Yams
Two nutritional powerhouses collide in this fun recipe. It has a ton of folate, vitamin A, iron, and calcium – along with a dose of sweetness for a little picky eater. Here’s the recipe.
44. Strawberry Puree
There’s nothing better than strawberries plucked fresh from the garden – and babies will likely agree! Try this strawberry puree if you’re thinking about introducing your baby to fruits.
45. Provencal Chicken
If you want to introduce your baby to chicken but want to remove the blandness without the extra salt, give this creamy provencal chicken a try. It includes Herbes de Provence to add flavor without the sodium.
46. Mixed Vegetables and Sole
Sole – yes, as in fish! You can use any kind of low-mercury fish in this recipe, but sole is a good choice. Add any vegetables you want, too, like carrots, potatoes, and peas.
47. Pineapple Puree
Yes, another tropical recipe to try. Smooth and creamy, this puree will taste great on its own or when mixed with yogurt or milk. Check it out here.
48. Chili Puree
Believe it or not, your baby can eat chilies! Just stick to the mild green ones. You’ll combine mangoes, blueberries, avocadoes, and more in this unique recipe.
49. Pea Puree
Pea puree is a simple, nonallergenic recipe you can try that will provide your baby with all kinds of nutrients, including protein, iron, and calcium. Strain and puree the peas as fine as possible to make the texture more appealing. Check out the recipe.
50. Baby Beef Stew
This isn’t one that you want to bust out for the baby who has just started eating solids, but for older babies, it offers a ton of nutrients, like iron. Here’s a recipe to follow.
What Baby Foods Can’t Be Made At Home?
Some doctors and nutritionists advise against making baby food out of ingredients that are considered high-risk for contamination from nitrates (found in fertilizers). You should wait until the age of six months or later to feed these foods to your baby. High-risk foods include squash, beets, carrots, green beans, and spinach.
That said, if you’re growing your own organic produce, the risk of nitrates shouldn’t be as big of a concern, particularly if you’ve had your soil tested. Again, if you’re feeding these to an older baby, it shouldn’t be as much of a concern anyway.
As eager as you might be to start solid and to expose your baby to all the wonderful flavors of the world, there are a few other ingredients you’ll want to avoid. One is honey. Honey can contain botulism spores – yes, the same ones you’ve heard of when it comes to canning. However, it’s extremely dangerous for little bellies.
The same goes for cow’s milk. Although cow’s milk is good for adults and older children, you should avoid feeding it to a baby younger than one year old (although cheese and yogurt are okay starting at around eight months).
Fruit juice, refined grains, and added sugar should also be avoided, as should smoked or cured meats, and high-mercury fish. To make sure the baby isn’t allergic to anything you feed, space each new food out by at least four days. You also may want to wait until your baby is a bit older – ten to twelve months -before introducing gas-inducing foods like beans, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, dairy, garlic, and wheat.
You may have heard that you should avoid allergenic foods like peanuts, wheat, eggs, citrus, strawberries, and tomatoes during the first year. However, that’s actually counterproductive. Introduce these feeds early, between four and eleven months, to help prevent food allergies.
Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food
Making homemade baby food is a cinch if you have the right equipment and know-how. I recommend adding your fresh purees to an ice cube tray and then freezing them. After you’ve frozen them, you can pop out the cubes and store them in labeled bags. They should last for up to three months.
You can then send them with your little guy to daycare or at the very least, you’ll have them conveniently organized in your freezer.
You can also make your own baby food, and put it in those transportable little pouches that babies love so much. You can reusable ones that you simply pop in the dishwasher after they’ve been used.
In any case, it makes sense to have a good blender or food processor on hand to mix up your favorite purees. If your puree is too thick, thin it out with water, breast milk, or formula.
While I like mixing up big batches of baby food ahead of time, you need to be careful about doing too much all at once – freeze anything you won’t use within three days and once it’s been thawed, try to use it up in 24 hours.
Don’t be afraid of getting creative! While you need to be careful about introducing too many new foods all at once (this can cause some upset tummies) you can mix multiple purees together for more complex flavors and nutrients later on.
Have fun with it! Exposing your child to new tastes at this age is a great way to avoid picky eaters later on.
What are your baby’s favorite baby food recipes? Please share them here, and don’t forget to pin this article to your favorite Pinterest board for later!
Rebekah is a high-school English teacher n New York, where she lives on a 22 acre homestead. She raises and grows chickens, bees, and veggies such as zucchini (among other things).