I am a frugal mama. Like a wait until the holiday decorations go to 90% off for next year, look at the label to determine the price per ounce when comparing which rice to buy, stock up on tampons in bulk, kind-of frugal. So when we hit 6 months and the doctor told us that we could introduce solids to the bug, you better believe that I started scouring the internet Pinterest to find how to make our own. After all, it would be cheaper to do so, right? (Well let me tell you, some purees are cheaper to make, and some are cheaper to buy.)
At this point, we are not being too adventurous with what we give him (cue the insistence to try baby-led weaning…), but we are trying to make sure he gets good nutrition. We started offering solids to him after every feeding, which at first, he wasn’t too keen on. Eventually he would eat around 2 oz. with every meal. After a couple of days– try a week— of constipation, and maybe one or two instances where I literally pulled poop out of my baby’s bum (#youknowyoureamamawhen), we cut back to just dinner. We want this dude to sleep until 8am so mama can teach a couple of extra classes, so extra calories at night is a no-brainer.
We are currently all in for veggies – more specifically and often, the green and less sweet ones (yes, this mama is trying to prevent her baby llama from having the same sweet-tooth she has) – and some poop-friendly fruits (“prunes and pears will make ‘em poop”). Because we do not live somewhere with an awesome selection of well-priced fruits, we are sticking to homemakin’ the veggies for now.
I wanted to use my awesome new Instant Pot; I mean, saving money on baby food was one of the ways I sweet talked persuaded my husband to let me buy one. So with a shiny new Instant Pot in my kitchen, I hit the web looking for some peas and green beans baby food how-to’s, but was left with little advice. This might be because it may be a no-brainer for some… not this mama…) So with what gathered, along with some trial and error, here’s what I have come up with!
Instant Pot Baby Food – Baby Greens
I use frozen veggies. You can use fresh, but may need to add a bit more water. Put your steamer basket in your Instant Pot and dump in the veggies, and 1 cup of water. Lock the lid. Push the “steam” button – or – set it manually to 4 minutes. Make sure that it is sealed at the top. Wait longingly…. It will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure, and then that timer will start counting down. If this isn’t your first batch, I suggest you use this time for steps 6-9 with the other veggies, squash, or taters. #mamatasking
When the timer goes off, do a quick release. If you are new to the IP, this means you push cancel on the pot, and then turn the little do-dad (also known as the steam release) to “venting”. Watch out because that steam is very hot, and will burn your little fingers (I’m not speaking from experience, of course.) When that steam is all done coming out, and the little upy-downy guy (aka float valve) on the lid has gone down, open up the lid. You will see some well-steamed veggies. I usually scoop them out into a colander for a minute to let them cool down for couple of minutes.
When they are less than scorching hot, dump spoon them into the blender. Now, you will need to add some water. This really is up to preference. My babe likes them pretty smooth and/or runny, so I use a little more water. For a thicker blend, use less. You will need to use enough to get that blender moving (this is where a food processor would be a little more handy). I use the water that is left in the pot for this. I *think* that water is a bit more nutritional since the veggies were steamed in it. I start by adding ½ cup at a time, and blend to see the consistency (around 1 cup of added water for me). I let my blender go for quite a while to get an ultra-smooth like the jarred kind of consistency.
Now I use the rubber spatula and pour and smooth the puree into the cubes. It is oddly satisfying to spread it into every nook and cranny. I have found that with the veggies and a bit of water (sorry, not an exact measurement), I can fill 2 of these 14 cube trays. This gives me 28 cubes. I have found that about 4 of these are equivalent to 4 ounces of jarred food. These cubes are great because you and mix up the food and do some great combos – green beans and spinach, or peas and green beans are my bug’s favorites.
Now you can either cover these with foil/press and seal and put them directly into your freezer, or stick the trays in a storage container first. We live in the Land of Enchantment and green chile and stock-pile that crack in our freezer up every fall, so it seems like that many foods will come out smelling like it. We aren’t quite ready to introduce green chile to the bug yet, though, so our trays go into the storage container. I found these and they fit the ice cube trays (they were like a buck for a set of 2 at Walmart). If you don’t have something in your freezer than penetrates everything in your freezer, you are probably good to just cover and stack.
Pop those guys out. You may need to put the bottom of the tray into some hot water to get the cubes to loosen. Stick the cubes into a freezer bag, and serve as needed. (You can microwave them, or put the baby bowl into a bowl of hot water to thaw and warm).
Bon appetite, little one!
- 2 lbs. of frozen greens (peas, green beans, spinach, etc.)
- 1cup of water
- Put your steamer basket in your Instant Pot and put in the veggies and 1 cup of water.
- Lock the lid. Push the “steam” button – or – set it manually to 4 minutes. Make sure that it is sealed at the top. It will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure, and then 4 minutes for cook time.
- Do a quick release. Once the veggies have cooled a bit, put them in your blender.
- Add ½ cup of water at time and blend until you have a desired consistency.
- Use the rubber spatula, pour, and smooth the puree into the cubes or small containers. Freeze.
- Once frozen, pop out the cubes and store in a freezer bag.
- You will need an Instant Pot, steamer basket, blender/food processor, rubber spatula, & ice cube trays/mini-storage containers to freeze and store.