You've decided to make your own baby food because you want to provide the freshest, best quality ingredients to your baby.  Plus, have you ever tasted baby food in the jar?  Homemade purees taste so much better than jars of baby food. But what about the time it takes?  Making baby food can actually be very quick and simple.  Many ripe, fresh fruits simply need to be mashed before giving to baby.  Several purees can also be frozen meaning you don't have to prepare them from scratch every day.

So Organic or Conventional? Some people may tell you that you should use 100% Organic ingredients for baby foods while others may tell you using Non-Organic or a mix of both is perfectly acceptable. The choice to make baby food Organic is a personal one and may be based on lifestyle, location, availability, and quite possibly, on the cost factor of Organic vs. Non-Organic foods. 

Don't let the cost or the unavailability of Organic ingredients, stop you from preparing fresh and wholesome baby foods. Well cleansed, Non-Organic fruits and vegetables and whole grains are just as acceptable. Most important is
that you are feeding your baby fresh foods, establishing healthy eating habits very early on, and are providing more nutritional value per ounce with freshly prepared foods than if you were you to use jarred foods.

What "Organic" labels really mean from Consumer Reports
By the Editors of Consumer Reports

Despite the fact that shoppers pay, on average, 50 percent more for organic food, organic products are one of the fastest-growing categories in the food business. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers bought organic foods and beverages in 2005, up from about half in 2004.

While some buy organic to support its producers' environmentally friendly practices, most are trying to cut their exposure to chemicals in the foods they eat. So what can you count on when you buy organic?

100% Organic

If the product is labeled "100 percent organic" it means that, by law, there are no synthetic ingredients. Also, production processes must meet federal organic standards and must have been independently verified by accredited inspectors.

Organic

If the label says, simply, "organic," no less than 95 percent of the ingredients must have been organically produced.

Made with Organic Ingredients

If a product is labeled "Made with Organic Ingredients," you can be sure that at least 70 percent of its makeup is organic. The remaining ingredients must come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's approved list.

All Natural - Natural

Labels that specify "natural" or "all natural" do not mean organic.

There is no standard definition for these terms, except when the terms are applied to meat and poultry products, which the USDA defines as not containing any artificial flavoring, colors or synthetic ingredients.

Free Range

The terms "free-range" or "free-roaming" are similarly meaningless. U.S. government standards are weak. The rule for the label's use on poultry products, for example, is merely that outdoor access be available for "an undetermined period each day."

Labeling seafood "organic" is also misleading, since the USDA has not yet developed organic-certification standards.

Produce Pesticide Report Card -
Source:
http://www.foodnews.org/index.php - updated 2010
Three new foods made the list: kale, lettuce, and carrots, replacing potatoes, spinach, and red raspberries for 2009

Two new foods made the list: blueberries and spinach. Potatoes come back on while lettuce and pears drop off for 2010

12 Most Contaminated
Buy these Organic when possible

15 Least Contaminated


1.   Celery
2.   Peaches
3.   Strawberries
4.   Apples
5.   Blueberries
6.   Nectarines
7.   Bell peppers
8.   Spinach
9.   Kale
10. Cherries
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes esp. imported

Onion
Avocado
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Papaya
Watermelon
Broccoli
Tomato
Sweet Potato

Simple Baby Food Recipes
Source: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/index.htm

Baby's Mashed Avocado (6+ months)

Peel and de-pit a ripe avocado
Cut “meat” out and mash with a fork

There should be no need to use a machine as just like bananas, avocados have a very soft consistency and texture. Avocados do not need to be cooked.

Baby's Mashed Banana's (6+ months)

1 Ripe Banana
Water, Formula or Breast Milk as needed

Peel and cut a ripe banana into small dices
Mash with a fork

There should be no need to use a machine as bananas, just like avocados, will have a very soft consistency and texture. Bananas do not need to be cooked.

Depending on your baby's age and stage, you may not need to add any liquid to the mashed banana.  You may purée the banana in a food processor or blender if desired.  In addition, bananas can be peeled and then microwaved for 25 seconds to make mashing easier (check temperature before serving to baby!).


Butternut or Acorn Squash - Basic Purée
(6+ months)

1 acorn or butternut squash

1. Cut acorn or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds
2. Place halves face down in a pan and cover with an inch of water
3. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour - be sure the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” out of the shell
4. Place squash "meat" into your choice of appliance for pureeing and begin pureeing.
5. Add water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

You can also peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and then cut into chunks and boil/steam until tender (like when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes) then follow steps 4 and 5 - this way is most difficult however and rather time consuming.

Peas - Basic Puree (6+ months)

1. If using Fresh Peas, open the pods and scrape out the peas from the pod. If using frozen type of either Peas or Green Beans, cook according to package directions.

2. Place fresh peas into a steamer basket in a pan with a just enough water to slightly show through in the basket.
3. Steam until very tender; be sure to check on the water level.
4. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the peas.
5. Place into your choice of appliance for pureeing and begin pureeing.

It is best to use the setting that makes the finest liquid purees - green bean and pea skins are rather difficult to completely puree. Using a blender rather than a food processor or stick mixer might be better as well.

Plunging hot cooked peas into a bowl of ice cold water is known to help make a smoother puree.

6. Add the reserved water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency
7. You may wish to push the peas (or green beans) through a sieve or mesh strainer to get rid of any remaining skins

 

Additional Information:

Easy Homemade Baby Food & Baby Food Recipes

Does it Pay to Buy Organic?

Organic Food Is More Nutritious Say EU Researchers

Environmental Working Group's 2010 Shopper Guide to Pesticides