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February 28, 2019 4 Comments
Making healthy, homemade baby food is a lot easier than it sounds, especially when you have a trusty contraption that does the bulk of the work for you.
By cooking up big batches of fresh food with a baby food maker (and skipping the store-bought jars and pouches), you’ll save money and do your part to protect the planet. Being head chef puts you in charge of the ingredients and quality. Plus, it gives you free rein to get creative, experiment with fun food combos and sneak in as much spinach as you want.
No matter what type of gadget you go with, the process is pretty much the same: prep food, steam, puree or chop and eat (your baby will add a few more messy steps in there…so be ready with the wipes). Check out our baby food-making how-to video for step-by-step instructions.
You can skip the baby food maker altogether and DIY with kitchen gear you already have, like a big pot and a steam basket, microwave, food processor and blender. Simply chop up some fresh fruits or vegetables and steam them with your method of choice. Once they’re soft, mash them by hand or put them in your blender or food processor for a smoother puree. Freeze in small portions with a standard ice tray (the cubes are perfectly sized for little ones). Then transfer them to a freezer bag so you can grab whatever you need, when you need it. You can also purchase storage containers like these:
In addition to whipping up baby food, these are handy for making hummus and other small-batch dips, dressings and spreads without having to bust out your big food processor.
Ready to get cooking? These are our favorite baby food makers:
This 4-in-1 baby food maker prepares fruits, veggies, fish and meat in just 15 minutes. Aside from steaming, it blends, defrosts and reheats food. The one-handed operation means you can hold your baby, sing the Itsy Bitsy Spiderand make a homemade meal all at once. The Beaba has all the bells and whistles, without the bulk. It’s compact, won’t hog counter space and is easy to clean (even after whipping up a batch of the green stuff). Another perk: the stainless steel water reservoir holds onto the condensed water, which you can pour in while pureeing to get important nutrients back into the food.
‘So easy to use, and I can make anything and everything in it.’
At around 150 bucks, it’s definitely a pricier way to puree. But, remember it does a lot more than that…and quickly. Many parents find this time-saving system useful well into the toddler years.
“The Beaba Babycook was really wonderful and allowed us to make 95 percent of our son’s baby food. It was really easy and actually pretty fun to use. Although they say you can use it for other things, we never did—only for baby food for several months.” -Mikal S.
“So easy to use and clean. We love this baby food maker! It has been great as she transitions to non-purée foods but still needs things soft given her lack of teeth. We actually cook some of our food in here, too.” -M.R.
“I absolutely love this machine! I make so many different combinations and types of food in it. It has saved us so much money on baby food. I usually either steam or just puree food, freeze it and dethaw it for daycare.” -Rachel W.
The Baby Bullet is easy, convenient and comes with a 20-piece kit of awesome accessories to take your culinary game up a notch. Simply sterilize and steam your produce in the Baby Bullet Steamer, then pop ‘em in the Batchbowl, attach a blade (there are two for creating different textures) and blend fresh food in just a few seconds. Similar to a food processor, it’s great for making small batches (that’s where the included trays and storage cups with dials so you can set dates for freshness come in handy). And tons of parents surveyed raved about Baby Bullet recipes and feeding recommendations. Check out some really creative ideas on their website.
The steamer is separate from the blender, so it’s a 2-step/2-dish process when you need to cook and puree. And as much as you’d like to put everything in the dishwasher when you’re done working your magic…the Baby Bullet’s assorted components and containers need to be hand washed (womp womp).
“It really makes making homemade baby food a breeze.” -Dominique W.
“It was nice to have. Especially with all the extras it comes with.” -Adela S.
We know what you’re thinking: “Can’t I just use my regular Cuisinart to puree carrots?” Absolutely. But Cuisinart’s Baby Food Maker steams, pulses and purees (or chops) all in the same container, saving you time and sparing you from lots of dish washing. Better yet, it also has an integrated bottle warmer, so you get two gadgets in one. The 4-cup bowl allows you to make big batches for a freezer stash.
The included booklet takes away the guesswork by telling you the exact food-to-water ratio, so meals are always done to perfection.
“Easy to use, and it came with a book that details which foods to try at what ages, and also some recipes for mixed foods. No complaints!” -Jaclyn J.
Hesitant to splurge on a high-tech baby food maker? Sage Baby Puree and Blend is the perfect, affordable way to puree. This combo includes an immersion blender (consider it your baby food magic wand) and a food processor attachment. So you can grab your prepped ingredients and a bowl and get to work the easy way. Glass storage containers (sold separately) are an awesome alternative to plastic. Better yet, they’re freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.
“I can use the inversion blender for soups and smoothies after I’m done making baby food.”
You’ll be surprised by how handy an immersion blender is for making grown-up foods like salsa, hummus, pesto and even soups. This is a great buy that’ll last well beyond the baby food phase.
“1.) Immersion blender is sturdy 2.) Jars are glass and not plastic 3.) Has different size jars for different sizes of food storage. 4.) Customer service is great!” -Aurea M.
This all-in-one steamer and blender uses a sturdy glass bowl (most baby food makers on the market use plastic). From fruit to veggies, meats to fish, mealtime magic happens with the simple press of a button. You can steam, blend or steam and blend in one container (without all the mess of extra dishes).
“It really did make things sooo easy.”
Another perk? Clean up is a breeze. The glass bowl is dishwasher safe.
“It’s SO easy to use. I can’t recommend this enough.” -Aline H.
One machine, so many uses. Nutribaby 5-in-1 steams, blends, sterilizes and warms bottles and defrosts and heats food. What really sets it apart from the pack is the ability to steam two separate baskets of food for different cook times, which ensures all the flavors and nutrition are just right. (You’re never too young to appreciate good eats, right?) Nutribaby’s extra-large steaming bowl and blender capacity cooks over six cups of fresh food (around 25 portions!), and warms up to three bottles at once, making it an especially great choice for families with multiples (or just hearty eaters!).
Nutribaby takes up more counter space than most other baby food makers due to all of the features and functions. But it still has a much smaller footprint than if you had a baby food maker, bottle warmer and sterilizer.
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