Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cooking for One (Baby)

I have ventured into the task of making my own baby food. I don't go organic and I don't do it because I think it's better for my baby and I don't do it because it seems like more fun than buying it from the grocery store shelves. I do it to save money. Plain and simple. So here is a documentation of the process and the calculation of savings. Maybe it will inspire someone else to do the same! In fact, the only reason I thought I could make my own baby food was because I saw pictures of someone else doing it and they made it seem like a good idea. And it is!

It all started by going to Sprouts, the cheap produce store. I bought:
1 lb bag carrots $0.77
Bunch Spinach (about a pound) $0.99
Green Beans .69 lb $1.17
Red Yams (Eleanor's favorite) 2.7 lb $2.67
Golden Delicious Apples 2.75 lb $2.67
Total $8.27
(tax not included)
Then I started washing, peeling, steaming and blending thanks to this little guy:

He did such a good job I named him Eddy. I know, it's a clever name. That's why I told Vince about it. He didn't get it, so I explained it to him. When you turn on a blender it looks like a whirlpool. A little whirlpool in a river is, ready for it? an Eddy. So there you go.

To be time efficient I started by putting the sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 for a full hour and while they were getting nice and soft I started steaming the other veggies and while I was blending one batch I'd start steaming the next. It's like playing Cake Mania veggie style. I felt like a little baby food factory (which is nothing new. Once you start breastfeeding that's basically your default mode of operation). So anyway, I've been saving and washing the baby food containers from the hand-me-downs that my sister gave me (yup, still getting hand-me-downs) and from the baby food I had bought to get started. I like that they're already the right portions of baby food. So when I got everything poured out I got this:

Eleanor's favorites: Sweet potatoes and Mixed veggie (which in this case is green beans, carrots, and spinach, and some are just carrots and spinach. Note to self, more green beans next time). I like the mixed veggies because they get all swirly when you mix them. See?

So it was a total of 29 containers of vegetable baby food. That's enough for roughly two weeks of eating. A few days later I started the fruit!

The golden delicious apples were on sale for $0.97/lb so that's why I got them. They weren't as ripe as they probably should have been, but I haven't had any complaints yet. To do this job I was very grateful for this contraption:

I haven't named him but maybe I should. He was a nostalgic buy right after I got married and thought I had money for this kind of thing. It might be the second time I've ever used it, but boy was I grateful to have it on baby food making day! It peels, cores, and slices your apples into those cool curly-cue apples in the background. When I was my kid I would help my mom do this for making canned apple pie filling. I would love to eat the long curly apple peels like spaghetti.  Back to the process: I boiled the apples and sent them through my trusty side-kick, Eddy. Then it was into the jars (which I had also saved from store-bought baby food):

I tried to be all clever and reseal the jars by putting them in a hot water bath. They didn't seal. I guess they're not made for that. If anyone has done this successfully let me know your trick! So I just tossed them in the freezer instead. But that was 7 1/2 jars of applesauce/baby food. So here are the stats:

29 containers of baby food usually comes 2 to a pack and at the store the day I bought all my produce they were on sale for 9/$10.00. So 29 (or 14 1/2 packages) would have cost $13.05.
The fruit jars were on sale 10/$10.00 so it would have cost me $7.50
Total $20.55
Subtract my actual cost $8.27
For a total Savings of $12.28

That's a 60% savings!! Even though it's more work than picking out a few flavors from the store shelves it gives me such a sense of accomplishment! Look, world! I can cook food for my baby AND save money doing it! It's also kind of a fun way to spend the evening when Vince is working late. And guess what else? She likes it!

Mission Accomplished.


  1. Way to be Rach!! That's awesome. Maybe I will make my next baby's food from scratch since you make it look so easy.

  2. You got your baby food so smooth...the one time I tried, it was too chunky and Eloise wouldn't eat it (though she probably would now that she's older). Might be my blender, or not adding enough water. Hmm. Way to go on the savings!! I should try this again some time.

  3. You are so fun and entertaining to read! Ah, so funny. I miss you! Also, I'm super impressed with your homemade baby food skills. I think you talked me into doing this more with my next little booger!

  4. Way to go Rachel! I made my own baby food also and its great. I have a great oatmeal with pear recipe if you want it. Monte loved it when he was younger. And a note on sealing jars, if the lid is new, you could seal it. But once the seal has been broken, you can't seal it. Its the same for any home canning. Once again, I'm super impressed!

  5. Look at you!! I love that picture of Eleanor.