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Do I need a baby food maker to make baby food?

No!  There... shortest post evah!!  Just kidding, obviously I'm going to ramble on for a lot more words than that.

Confession: we never bought baby food because I am a freak who is a little (ok A LOT) obsessed with food.  I was SO EXCITED to introduce solids to our baby because I was totally psyched to let her in on all the fun things she'd be enjoying for the rest of her life (joke was on me because now she is a really picky eater as a toddler... sigh).  And so, when she was around 5 months old I started majorly lusting after all the adorable baby food making systems.  I'm sure you've seen them all too... the BEABA Classic, the BEABA Pro, the Magic Bullet Baby System, the Baby Brezza, the Nutribaby Zen food processor, and I'm sure a dozen others.

Then, my husband talked me down to earth.  All of these things consisted of 2 parts - a way to steam veggies and a way to blend them - that's all.  "But! But!" I protested, "the easy cleaning! we can keep using it post baby!"  Then, after just a minute of thinking, we realized that we could simply upgrade our steaming/blending abilities and not be restricted to the small volumes afforded by the baby food makers.  Now, having fed a child all the way through to toddler-hood, I'm here to tell you that babies also just don't eat purees for that long. Not only that, but there are lots of "real people" foods you can feed them. All the more reasons that investing in a system is a total waste of money and space.

That said, we did buy a little bit of new kitchen gear to satisfy my lust.  And so, without further ado, here is the fully complete set of things you need to make your own baby food.
  1. 1. A way to steam things, though frankly you possibly don't even need this.  Many "baby" foods (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pears, etc.) can also be baked in the oven you already surely own.  However, it is the most convenient way to prepare spinach, peas, and zucchini.  So if you're looking to upgrade your game here, I recommend the OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer.  It stores small and works great.  And if you don't have some already, you may want to grab some Silicone Gripper Tongs while you're at it.

  2. 2.  A way to blend things.  Here I cannot recommend the Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender enough.  I've always loved making blended soups and this thing has changed my life (I previously owned a $30 Cuisinart, it was fine, but not true love).  You don't need a fancy blender to make baby food.  Frankly a fork will probably do, but sometimes mama deserves something nice, right?  

  3. 3. A way to preserve the food.  Lots of people simply use ice cube trays, but getting the food out of them can be a pain. Here I really recommend the Mumi&Bubi Baby Food Freezer Storage Trays.  The food really does slide right out of these guys.  The set comes with 2 trays so you fill 1 tray with the puree (or purees) of your choice and freeze.  The next day you can pop all the cubes of baby food out and into a quart sized Ziploc bag (don't forget to label and date the bag so you're not guessing as to its content a month later).  Then just throw the tray into your dishwasher.  This way you can rotate one tray in the freezer and one in the wash.

  4. 4. A way to know what the hell it is you're doing.  Ok so this one you really REALLY don't need.  However, if you're like me and want someone to spell out for you how to introduce solids to your baby, how to prepare and preserve food for maximal freshness and appealingness (it's totally a word, shut up), and assuage your neurosis, you can buy a baby cook book.  I really enjoyed The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: Over 150 Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes from Purees to Solids.  If you're less neurotic than me, then the solid foods chapter in Baby 411 will almost certainly do the trick.  (Hint: you don't need to start with boring rice cereal - that's really old advice.  You can pretty much start with whatever you want.  We started with sweet potatoes.)
And now you are fully prepared to go off on your own culinary adventure, whether it be in your kitchen, the grocery store baby food aisle, or some combination of the two. 

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