Anyone with Experience Using a FOOD MILL for Making Stage 1 Baby Food??

Updated on July 17, 2008
J.G. asks from San Rafael, CA
41 answers

Has anyone had success in making stage 1 consistency baby food with a food mill? If so, what brand/model food mill did you use? How did you prepare the food prior to putting through the mill?

So far, I have had no success in making strained baby food and I would like to because of the nutritional benefits and to save $$. I have heard of the Kidko brand food mill, but it seems so cheap that I can't believe it really works.

I recently purchased a nice stainless steel food mill that cost around $30.00 from bed bath & beyond. I steamed carrots for about 20 minutes in microwave (they were soft enough to mush with a fork) and then put them through the mill, and all the mill did was turn them around and around. 1/2 bag of carrots only produced about 3 oz. of puree, and it isn't even as smooth as stage 1 baby food. It took me almost an hour total to steam and grind the carrots in the mill, and for clean up. So far, not worth the time or money!

Also, I have tried steaming and then putting food through Cuisinart, but it leaves the pulp/skins which baby cannot seem to handle yet. She spits it out. She does not have any teeth yet.

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G.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I made all my baby food! There is hope for you! I used a food processor! I started by making sweet potatoes. Boil until dead and then food process until smooth. Use the water that you boiled them in to make it the consistency you are looking for. Plus, the nutrients are in the water. Place the processed food into ice cube trays. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When frozen, place into ziplock bags and replace in freezer. I did this with all foods. Some foods I just microwaved such as pears. When you food process them, they are way too watery. Use store bought rice cereal to thicken to the correct consistency. When my son got older, I even boiled chicken and mixed in apple sauce to make it more interesting. He loved a cube of chicken/apple and sweet potato. I am happy to help with any other questions. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. My best friend came over and helped me the first time. She had already been through the proces. If you have questions just give me a call.
G. ###-###-####.
Again, it is worth the effort!

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J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I used a mini food processor. Found one brand new on ebay for about $15 - $20. It worked great. She is almost 2 and I still sometimes use it because she doesn't like things that are chewy. So I put chicken in there, for example, and sneak it into her veggies and rice or pasta.

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J.M.

answers from Fresno on

Hope this isn't a repeat... I found the best luck with the Magic Bullet. Carrots are never easy, but I did all kinds of squash, potatoes, mushrooms, broc, caul, onions, etc. My baby girl loved it. I work full time, so I would steam-blend on Sun and freeze all the food in old baby food jars and just pop them out for dinner. She still gets excited when I get out the Magic Bullet b/c she knows it's time for good food! :-) Good luck

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I absolutely recommend you do make your own baby food. It is super easy, super affordable and definitely manageable on your tight schedule. I also work full time and have a 3 yr & 10 month old. I guarantee you if I can do it, so can you. I still recommend you buy jar food, because it is convenient for times you go out to dinner or travel.

The easiest way I found is every time I cook something for the family, I also cook for the baby. This is how you work it into your schedule. Otherwise, you can do it all on the weekend.

I chop chicken breast in bite size pieces and cook them in chicken broth. Beef I cut thinly and cook the same way. Actually, I cook all protein and veggies in no fat, low-sodium chicken broth because it gives the food some flavor. Sometimes I choose to also steam some of the veggies. Anyway once you have you protein and veggies cooked, you want to puree them with the same broth you cooked them in because the vitamins for the veggies will seep into the liquid, and because a little liquid helps the puree process.

After pureeing your protein/veggies I portion it into Ice Cube trays (I bought the ones that come with a cover from "OXO"). I freeze the food and it is perfect portion control because each food cube is about a tablespoon.

Fruit is a little different because you don't need liquid to puree. Only I found that watermelon really doesn't work well for this method, but I still do puree watermelon and serve it to my baby in a net teether, so he can suck on it.

Veggies that work great are any squash, zucchini, broccoli, egg plant, corn, peas, but potatoes you want to bake in the oven until they fall apart. Great fruits are pears, strawberries, blueberries, mango, apples, bananas. Best of all, you can mix and match to come up with different combinations to serve your baby.

I hear people use blenders, mixers, etc. I have one of those "Magic Bullet" nock-offs call the "Mrs. Kitchen". It is perfect because it is small and takes almost no space on my counter. Plus, it purees so well that even chicken can be smooth enough for a "stage 1" eater.

Best of luck!

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C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I never used a mill and made all of my kid's food from scratch. Both of kids were able to eat the food without removing the "pulp." Prior to steaming, try peeling the carrots and then just put them in your Cuisenart. (Check out http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/nitratearticle.htm for info on carrots & nitrates also.) To make the food the correct consitancy you may have to add some liquid (usually just water or breast milk).

One tip - I would make my food in bulk. Usually by baking sweet potatoes & several types of squash in the oven. Once processed in the blender or Cuisenart, I'd freeze it in ice trays. 1 ice tray of food = 1 quart zip lock back. When it was time to eat, I would take the 1 to 2 cubes of food out of the bag and microwave for a short time. I always had a variety of food available that way. I would also freeze cereals & mix with veggies that way.

Good luck and don't give up. I saved tons of money because all of my food was organic - plus I think it just tasted better.

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G.S.

answers from San Francisco on

HI Jane-
I made all of my babies food and with the first one I used a food processor. I would take one day a week and start steaming or boiling away. That way I was only cleaning the machine once. I re-used baby food jars or ice cube trays and froze the week's worth.

With the second one, I just steamed and boiled as before and left veggies in fridge then used the Magic Bullet to make every meal. It was fabulous!!

To make stage one, use more water (I liked using the steaming or boiling water) to make it runny and puree it quite a bit. then as your little one gets bigger, use less water. I liked the magic bullet because now I put rice, potatos, chicken, quinoa, whatever in it and it will puree nicely. Not sure you can do that with a food mill.

Good luck and great job for wanting to make your kids foods!!

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J.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Jane! My husband is a chef and after I bought a couple of different hand mills, he suggested just using the hand-held blender from braun. It comes with its own cup that you puree right in there. The clean up is easy as both the blade portion and the cup can go right in the dishwasher. This was the best. You can also vary the consistancy so you can use it for lots of things for baby food. Also you can keep it for whip cream, making healthy veggie soups later for grown up kids of all ages. Way less mess and work. Makes baby food smooth as cream or chunky like applesauce. Give it a try. Then freeze bigger batches in ice cube trays. One possible draw back is that it requires a plug...I used to just pop a cube or two in the diaper bag for going out and it was thawed by the time we got to our destination.
Good luck, happy cooking!

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W.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi I use the Tribest personal blender. It was recently recommended by "Mothering" mag. I love it! You can make smoothies, grind seeds, and puree anything. The only thing I DON'T like is that the containers are polycarbonate, so I am ordering Mason jars and the attachment needed so I dont' have worries about plastics. See www.tribestlife.com.. I ordered mine from baby Super Store, but i am certain you can order from Tribest's site.

WendK

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I also have made 90% of our baby food. I do have the KidCo food mill, which I like for a piece of fresh very ripe food that I only want one serving size of. For just about everything else, I make larger quantities. I steam them in a steamer basket on my stove top, then use the blender. I have had much better success with a regular blender than my cusinart. I couldn't get the right consistancy with the food processor. Then I pour them in divided trays that look like ice cubes. Freeze. Then dump the cubes into gallon size Ziplocks that are labeled for each food. Then myself, husband or sitter can easily grab a few foods out of the freezer, defrost and dinner is ready! If only my dinner was that easy!
So, all that to say, I do like the KidCo mill for small portions. I use the blender for large batches.
And one more side note: I read from American Academy of Pediatrics that they recommend you not make your own carrots. This is because most carrots are too high in nitrates for babies, and baby food makers specially grow theirs to be lower in nitrates. So I have always purchased baby food carrots. Don't know if that is still true, but just read it this year.
Good luck. And don't get overwhelmed by making your homemade baby food. I love the webiste: www.wholesomebabyfood.com

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A.S.

answers from Fresno on

Hi I'm a mother of 3 and I too thought it would help if I made my own baby food. What I thought was very helpfull was the "Ultimate Chopper"
http://www.asseenontv.com/searchNew.html?searchstr=ultima...
All you have to do is steam them till they are mashable and pop them in there with some of the steaming liquid and run it for 5-10 seconds and it is great.
Especially for bananas, carrots, apples, peas, sweet potatoes, etc. Hope you like it. You can also use it for your own stuff like salsas or crushing ice. I loved it.

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S.H.

answers from Sacramento on

Carrots are a hard one to prepare at home- it took me a couple tries to get it right. First I steamed them until they pierce easily with a toothpick them puree with a little cooking liquid until desired consistansy. I actually just use a food processor for my baby food. I bought a book called "The Petit Appetite" on amazon.com and it's been very helpful as to how to prepare the food prior to putting it in the food processor. My son prefers the homemade food to the jarred. I feel good about giving organic fresh fruits and veggies to him. Good luck :-)

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D.T.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Jane,
I have the KidCo electric mill and it works great! I have the little trays to freeze and the bowl for perfectly sized portions for beginners. Now I use Baby Cubes for freezing b/c the portions are larger.
My lactation consultant helped me get started on solids for my baby. She didn't recommend carrots right away and said to add a lot of water b/c they are high in naturally occurring nitrites. Try yams (sweet potatoes) as a first veggie. They puree up really nice. You can steam them until soft and then put in the mill with water to get them thin enough to drip off the spoon for a beginning eater. Try fork mashing banana or avocado too and mix with water. Some veggies puree better and smoother than others in the mill. As your daughter gets older add a new veggie or fruit every 4th day (to look for allergies). By then she should be able to have a thicker consistency. Broccoli with potato purees nicely. (When you're ready to do gassier veggies). Peas don't puree as creamy. I bought a brand when I lived in LA called Homemade Baby. It is the only fresh baby food on the market. It tastes awesome. I used their peas, green beans and summer squash. Also their pears and apples. They are in Whole Foods in the city and will be in Whole Foods in Marin later this month. (I actually might be doing some consulting work for them. They're a little pricey. But it's fresh, organic and it tastes so good. So I used it for a few things and make the rest myself. Email me if you want some recipes or more tips. Making my baby's food is one of my favorite things about motherhood!
Congrats on your baby and for wanting to make her food homemade.
D.

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S.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Jane,

I used a hand blender and a bowl. I would steam the veggies and blend them in a bowl or simmer pears or apples in apple juice and blended them right in the pot. Fresh soft fruit like banana's and avacado I would mash with a fork, but blueberries or other berries I would use the hand blender on. I stored the extra food in baby cubes I bought from 'www.onestepahead.com'. I got 2 sets and at times could have used more. They stay sealed well and I would just take them with me when we went out. Now my daughter is feeding herself so I need to find recipes to use the frozen puree's as a sauce.

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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

i have an 8 month old daughter and i've been using the baby cuisinart to puree her food. i bought the food mill from babies r us but it did not work for me. i just steam everything and put into cuisinart, then put into ice trays to freeze. it has worked great for me and it's fast and easy - and you know what your baby is eating.

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J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

We just used a blender. We boiled the veggie of choice first. Just using enough water to cover the veggie. Then we'd puree in the blender, using the water we boiled with. Then we'd freeze the veggie in ice cube trays and we'd have serving sized meals ready to go. We'd spend maybe and hour or two a week. Make a big batch on the weekend and have enough to last all week. We'd warm up the food using a baby food warmer instead of the microwave. That took a little longer but if you know dinner time is at 5pm you start at quater till and your ready to go at 5pm.

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T.M.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi Jane...

When you do take the time to steam (I like the steam basket, stove top method) and prepare food...have ice cube trays ready...the extra goes in them, wrap with plastic wrap and freeze...pop out the food cubes when frozen and place in a zip lock bag...that way you have a variety of foods always available in the freezer...I used both and hand grinder and later the tiny electric food processser...you might need to add a little fluid to make it creamier...Good Luck...T.

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N.K.

answers from San Francisco on

I seem to recall I used the blender to blend my baby's food. I would add breastmilk or formula to the blender to thin it out. You can also use water or when the baby is at that point, chicken broth.

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E.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I used the Kidco mill with great success. I steamed carrots or pears on the stove (easy to do and you can just put them on and forget about then while you do something else) until they were REALLY mushy and then put them through the mill. Easy. Peas were the only thing I found hard to do. I also baked sweet potatoes and squished them with a fork, squished raw avocado with a fork and whatever fresh pit fruit was in season. I stewed prunes in water on the stove and then put them through the mill. I then froze all this stuff in ice cube trays and then decanted to ziploc bags in the freezer. It worked great.

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W.N.

answers from San Francisco on

You know, I had all the best intentions to make my own baby food too, as I am into a "hippy" lifestyle and also it seemed that it would be cheaper...but after doing it a few times nad it taking forever and the baby not liking it because it had a little texture(lumps), I gave it up. In the end, the amount of time it took to make it was way more costly than just buying the Organic Earth's Best brand at Whole Foods(surprisingly, Whole Food's sell this brand for cheaper than anywhere!)
-Wendy

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V.B.

answers from Chico on

I purchased the kidco mill online and it is wonderful! I had no problem straining my sons food. I HIGHLY recommend buying their organics baby cookbook, it has recipes for baby foods by age. I actually think it goes all the way up to 2 years old. For the price its really worth a try. I hope this helps!

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M.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm also using the Kidco Electric Food Mill and it's working out fine. It is time consuming but I am on leave and want to do this for her while I have more time. I use the cooking water or breastmilk to thin it out which has worked well. One thing to note if you decide to get this food mill is that the way the lid attaches to the bowl causes a vacuum seal to form if the food is too hot so I wait a bit after steaming before pureeing. I have been using the book Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby by Annabel Karmel for how to info.

I also bought Baby Cubes which are great for storing homemade baby food. They are made of safe plastic, dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. They hold up to 2 oz and store on trays in the freezer. It makes transporting food easy without worrying about plastic baggies and needing a separate dish etc. They are fragile though and when I knocked some over in the freezer they fell out and the lids cracked.

www.wholesomebabyfood.com is a great website for info on making homemade baby food too including recipes, menus, storing info, age appropriate food etc.

Hope this helps!

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C.M.

answers from Salinas on

Making baby food got a lot easier when I stopped worrying about the texture. It is not going to be like the stuff in the jar and it is probably better that it's not. Your baby will get a taste and feel for what the food is actually like. Mashing it with the fork is good enough. I wouldn't worry about it as long as your baby is able to mash it. Even without teeth, they can "gum" their food.
good luck, HTH!

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J.H.

answers from Stockton on

I too have the Kidco- non-electric food mill- it is wonderful and does a fine job separating the skin and stuff from the meat- though i do skin lots of my fruit before pureeing it. It is also economical.

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E.W.

answers from San Francisco on

We made our own baby food with our first child and am planning on doing so for the second. We didn't purchase a food mill. Instead we relied on a food processor or blender to make our baby food. For the first foods we pretty much stuck with sweet potatoes, squash,avocado, banana, etc. For most of the stage 1 foods we didn't even have to puree them, just smashed them with a fork. That was easier because we tended to stay away from carrots and peas. I've not used a food mill though so I can't help on that end.

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J.R.

answers from San Francisco on

I prepared all my babies first stage foods using my Cuisinart. Yes, you will need to peel carrots, yam, etc. My method was to steam them until soft, then process through the Cuisinart using the "liquid" to produce a very smooth consistency. This worked well for everything from yams to applesauce. I never tried the food mill, and always had food on hand when we went out somewhere. Good luck, I hope this helps.

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J.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I use a vitamix blender... just add some extra water and it makes it the right consistency. However, the blenders are pricey, but you can use them for SO many things. I LOVE mine and have had it for about 6 years now.

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J.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I think the trick is you actually have to strain the puree through a fine mesh sifter or sieve to get the larger pulp out. Then you should be fine.

I always used my cuisinart to do it when my guy was little...

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P.E.

answers from San Francisco on

hi jane,
i was able to puree my sons food with the magic bullett.
it's small but quick and so easy to clean. i still use it 3 1/2 years later(i'm trying to sneak fruits and veggies in his food(pancakes, shakes etc.)

good luck

P.

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S.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I started making baby food using the KidCo Electric Food Mill and it's working great. I received it as a hand-me-down from my sister, who made pureed food for her 2 kids (and that was like 6 years ago so it's holding up well). I have heard the Magic Bullet works well too because it's smaller and easier to clean than a blender/food processor.

I'm making small batches of pureed fruit like peaches, apricots, and mango, and veggies like sweet potatoes and squash. Yes, the prepping of the fruits and veggies does take time (at least one hour), but the mini-blender part is quick. I add a little of the leftover steaming water and/or breastmilk to help smooth out the consistency. I also freeze the food in ice cube trays, then I transfer them to freezer bags so I always have food ready to thaw/heat/serve. I also buy organic produce because the ready-made organic baby food is pricey. I've been using the book, Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron- some useful recipes and good info in that book if you're interested.

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N.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes, the Kidco non-electric mill works great! I used one for three years over the course of my two kids--easy to clean, no electricity or batteries needed, we even took it on trips to grind restaurant food as needed with us. And yes, good on a budget, too. (I have to admit to a great fondness for my hand blender these days, though, and if you're at all inclined to get one for all-family use, I'd go for that one as equally easy but much more versatile...blended soups are a great way to get veggies into kids, and it does that very well).

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J.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I loved the little plastic kidco blender. It worked for so many things, and was great for feeding baby some of what I was eating-he liked that. I used an electric blender to make stuff in bulk and freeze it. My kid was not so good with chunks, it took him a while to get used to it, but other kids are fine with food you just mash with a fork. Take out fruit/veggie skins and pits and anything baby could seriously choke on; some stuff will just come out in the poop, it's OK. Have fun!

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C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I too made my baby's food and wasn't impressed by the Kidko.
I peeled my carrots and put them in the blender and that made them really smooth. For peas I cooked them and them mashed them through a strainer so the skins wouldn't be in the food. That's how I did all my fruit and veggies. the exceptions were bananas, avocados, and anything that's soft enought to smash with a fork.
I would make a big batch of food then use special ice cube trays with covers to have serving-size cubes ready to be nuked. It saved me LOTS of money, I new what my babies were eating and I was able to try lots of different veggies.
Once they were older, I started added meat to the veggies and very small pasta (or pastina).
I enjoyed this process and found it relaxing.
If you want to talk some more feel free to email me.
C.

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L.R.

answers from San Francisco on

The Kidco food mill will surprise you. I got it as a gift and am now a firm believer in it. It's lightweight and convenient to take with you. I would bring it with us to restaurants and would be able to easily grind food (meats even) so that my daughter could eat what we were eating. It's also very easy to take apart for cleaning. Just a warning it's not wet food proof so expect leakage if your grinding wet foods like foods from soups.

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L.T.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Jane,

I have three children and I made all the baby food for them. I bought a steamer and a handheld blender (the one we have is by Braun.) I filled the steamer up, set the timer and went about my business until the timer went off. Afterwards, I dumped the steamed veggies in a tupperware bowl, used the handheld blender and then poured the puree into ice cube trays. Once frozen, I dumped the veggie cubes into ziplock bags with the date written on the outside. Some veggies will need a little extra liquid (like sweet potatoes) so I would use the drippings that were left in the steamer. If that wasn't enough, I just added a little more distilled water. The handheld blender is GREAT, and so easy to clean up. There's no pulp left behind. We had another brand besides Braun but my husband took it to work, so I never saw it again but it worked also. Good luck, and it's definitely worth the money saved and knowing when your food was processed.

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M.W.

answers from Fresno on

Hi Jane G.

When my children were babies I used an Oster blender to make all of their baby food.
I would put a couple of slices of banana in one of the small Oster jars (you can use any small jar that the blade attachment will fit.. just be sure it is clean.) a bit of pablum cereal and some milk. Blenderized it. Viola! Baby food.

Put a quarter of apple (peel and all) into a strainer, set that in my small sause pan with water, put the strainer across the top, set a lid on it and steamed it until the peel was softened. If it was really tart to my taste I put just a little bit of Karo plain syrup in it. Do not use honey, it is bad for babies under a year~ year and half old. I just used the blender
until it was smooth and creamy.

Peeled pears, fresh oranges I could blenderize wih out steaming.

As they got older, any veggies we had for dinner I blenderized. Added little bits of meat later along with the cereal. Sometimes instead of baby cereal to make it creamy I used a bit of bread or rice I had cooked for us. My kids loved blenderized macaroni and cheese with added milk to give it the right consistency.

The little jars are easy to clean. You only make a small amount. You use what you eat yourself. Use your good judgment. Have fun.

Merylyn (aka Mommie Salami)

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H.D.

answers from Redding on

Hi, my name is H. and I'm making baby food for my second child. I bought a mill but have never used it because the blender works so well. Peas, acorn squash and sweet potatoes come out awesome when diluted with breast milk (or whatever you want). Apple sauce and bananas don't need to be diluted. Peas and apples just need to boiled till soft then blended, squash and sweet potatoes (every baby's favorite) can be microwaved then blended. Banana just get mashed raw. For some reason your not supposed to make your own carrots, something to do with nitrates I think. You can look it up. Good luck!
[email protected]____.com

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M.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I have lots of experience making baby food - but I couldn't stand the food mill I purchased. I had bought the Kidco one and it aggravated me to no end. I ended up buying an immersion blender (I bought the Kitchen Aid one after reading lots of reviews) and it's my favorite kitchen gadget!!!! I use it almost daily. Seriously, this is the best investment I made, beside the Fresh Baby Food Trays to freeze my food cubes. I make a ton more than 3 ounces at a time. I stopped microwaving the food. I steam and boil my food and then use the left over water to mix into my purees as needed. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them. I went a little bit nuts making baby food for our second child.

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M.P.

answers from San Francisco on

for the beginning eater the food needs to be super smooth and almost like a liquid, so the food mill won't do the trick. i have been using a food processor and/or a blender. now that he's getting to be an experienced eater and needs more texture, the food mill will get more use.

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N.B.

answers from Sacramento on

Get the book Super Baby Food. It has lots of detailed instructions for how to make baby food. (A food mill won't be useful until your baby is a little older and can eat thicker, chunkier foods.)

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C.H.

answers from San Francisco on

I used a mini cuisinart food processor, and it got the carrots/food really fine....worked perfectly after I boiled the veggies. good luck!

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S.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Jane,
I have two older children 8 & 11 years old and now a 3 month old baby boy. I have found that a nice blender works really well to make baby food at home. just add a little water to thin it out and put in ice trays to freeze until you need it.

good luck
S.

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