Making baby food at home can be as simple as steam, blend, feed. However, if you think you are ready to be the full-time chef for your little gourmand, you might want to consider some of the handy gadgets on the market that are made just for the task.
The last few years have brought about a wide variety of baby food-makers that range from simple grinders to all-in-one machines. Before you buy, consider what kind of storage space you have – the more intricate the machine, the more pieces and parts will need to be stored (and cleaned!). Once you are ready to buy (or register), check out these great products that will make cooking for baby easy.
Food mills are very simple machines –a twisting handle that presses soft food through a strainer. Just toss in your pre-cooked food, turn the handle, and you have your puree. No batteries, no plugs, and minimal pieces to keep track of. Most models separate the seeds and skin from the puree in the grinding process. They won’t get food as smooth as an electric blade, so be ready to use it only after baby is 6 months old and up. Grinders or food mills are a great solution to provide the freshest foods for a traveling baby, too. Basic models run about $12 up to $50 with additional accessories and options.
Green Sprouts Food Mill – a simple mill for basic grinding
OXO Tot Baby Food Mill – includes a large bowl for grinding and different grinding discs for foods of varying consistencies.
These products are basically just miniature food processors. Cook the food on the stove or in a steamer, then put in the cup to blend. These will typically make a smoother puree than a food mill, though you may still need to take the extra step to strain for younger or more texture-sensitive babies.
Nutribullet NBY-50100 Baby – Comes with a range of accessories, like storage cups and multiple blade settings to blend a variety of foods.
If you want a one-stop baby food machine, there are a variety of options that have recently hit the market. These little machines pack a lot of convenience in a small package. If you have counter space to spare, these will do all your steaming and blending for you. While these machines may pack some power, you may still need to strain foods with seeds or skin to make them fine enough for your newest eater. You’ll pay for the convenience though – expect to pay $80-$150 for the basic models, and more for the accessories like carrying cases, cutting boards and spatulas.
Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker – Steams and blends with one setting; just set it and go back to playing with your baby.
Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker – Defrost, steam, and blend all in one container. Makes a small batch from start to finish with minimal clean up. Since everything happens in the same container, you will need to lift the steamer basket out, drain the water and then pour food back in before blending.
Remember, making nutritious and delicious food at home for your baby is easy, even without task-specific gear. Rather than reaching for the nearest jar, try cooking up some tasty seasonal foods for your baby tonight! And stay tuned for sources for recipes and ideas for spicing up your baby’s taste buds!