The garden has been a source of energy, nutrition, and joy for me and my husband. When we had a baby, it became so much more. It is a place to teach our child about the ecosystem of life, real food, colors, textures, and responsibility. And as our baby begins to eat solid foods, the garden has provided the majority of his nutrients. I can’t think of a better source of food than the fruit and vegetables grown in our own backyard.
You might be thinking, “are you serious?” First, you want me to find the time to make baby food and on top of that, you want me to grow the vegetables and fruits? Of course not! But maybe.. a little bit. How about I provide a few easy baby food recipes for 6+ month olds. Maybe you try these and then realize you can grow most of the vegetables in the recipes and decide to try gardening? Just throwing it out there!
In all reality, I didn’t quite know what foods/recipes to start with for my baby, so below are a few ideas that have worked for us. As to how this relates to gardening? Children are one more reason to try growing food, even a pot of tomatoes. Whether they are babies, toddlers, or teens they can learn from being a part of the gardening experience and hopefully build a love for real food straight from the dirt.
If you are certain that you don’t want an edible garden, sign up for a CSA or head to the Farmer’s Market to gather these vegetables and fruits. Include your child in the experience so that they can develop an appreciation for their food.
My top 6 baby food recipes for 6+ months
When making baby food, my goal is to make a lot of it at one time. Prep all of the ingredients, and then combine them in different ways to create a variety of purées and finger foods, then store and/or freeze.
Your grocery shopping / garden harvesting list for the following recipes:
1 bunch kale – wash, tear into smaller pieces (remove from stem), steam
2 pears – peel and cut into chunks (no need to steam)
5 large carrots – if organic / from the garden I do not peel, wash, cut into small chunks, steam
1 can white/ great northern beans – wash and drain
1/2 cup lentils (uncooked) – cook in broth (vegetable or chicken or whatever you have on hand)
1 apple – peel, cut into chunks, steam
2 handfuls of green beans – wash and steam
1 bunch of spinach – wash and steam
2 beets – peel, wash, cut into chunks, and steam
1 banana and/or 1 cup frozen/fresh blueberries – no prep needed
Once you have prepared these items, you can mix and match to create the recipes below. The allocated amount of each ingredient is a rough estimate. Feel free to add however much you want of each of the prepared ingredients above. The below assumes that you have already peeled, washed, steamed, etc.
Carrots, kale, pear purée
½ of the prepared kale
1/2 of the prepared carrots
Lentils, carrots, white bean purée
½ cup lentils
1 can white beans
1/2 of the prepared carrots
Carrot purée or finger food
If you have leftover carrots, either keep as steamed chunks for baby finger food or purée and add a little cinnamon.
Spinach, apple purée
½ of the prepared spinach
Green beans, pear, kale and/or spinach purée
Prepared green beans
½ to 1 pear
Any remaining kale and/or spinach
Beets, blueberries, banana purée (Beets are recommended for 8+ months)
1 banana and/or 1 cup blueberries
Always feel free to add cinnamon, sage, mint and other spices to the purées for some added flavor.
This will make a lot of food, prepare to freeze and store it.
You can easily make these recipes by steaming the fruits and vegetables in a pot and blending them together in any blender. However, if you want to get fancy, I recommend this all-in-one BEABA Babycook – Sorbet baby cooker.
Freezing and storing baby food
When you are first starting solid foods, your child may eat closer to 2 ounces per meal. As you near 8-9 months your child may be eating closer to 4 ounces+ per meal.
I recommend to have a variety of 2 and 4 ounce storage containers. These OXO Tot containers are great for storing and freezing OXO Tot 12-Piece Baby Blocks Set
If you do make all of the food above, you will most likely need more containers to freeze the food. In this case, I love these Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays
Or of course, just a good ol’ ice cube tray works perfect Kitch Easy Release White Ice Cube Tray, 16 Cube Trays (Pack of 4)
If you use ice cube trays, when the food is frozen, remove it from the trays and put into ziplock bags. Label the bags with the recipe name and date you prepared the food.
When you need the food, put the cubes into a bowl or into reusable food pouches. There are double zippers at the bottom of this pouch, Reusable Food Pouch (6 Pack – Medium) – Easy to Fill and Clean – Double Zipper Means No Leaking – Perfect for Homemade and Organic Baby Food – Suitable for Babies, Toddlers and Kids of All Ages, to insert the frozen food cubes or fill directly with fresh food and then freeze.
Lastly, if you are feeling inspired and want to get a little fancy with your baby food making, check out this cookbook Bébé Gourmet: 100 French-Inspired Baby Food Recipes For Raising an Adventurous Eater
I hope this post gives you a little inspiration to try making your own baby food and even more so, include your child in the food experience. Whether that be growing food, exploring a Farmer’s Market, or cooking together. There is so much to learn from food and it is more fun to enjoy it together!