Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homemade Applesauce

I made my own baby food for the first time today!

I have absolutely no moral qualms about using store-bought baby food. I don't think doing so is lazy or unhealthy or in any way inferior to making one's own. I am, however, incurably cheap. If there's a way to be had to save money, I'm going to take advantage of it.

Now, a chef, I am not. In fact, I'd have to say that I really hate cooking. However, I hate spending money that could be saved even more. So while I felt a little nervous and unprepared to try making my own baby food, stinginess ruled out in the end.

So this week, when apples, pears, and carrots were all on sale, I figured I should probably give it a shot.

I started with the applesauce, as that seemed the easiest. I used 7 gala apples. All it took was to peel, core, and cut them into chunks, then into a bit of boiling water (just enough to cover the apples) they went for... well, I don't know how long I left them there. Until they seemed soft. Then I dumped them into my cheapo Hamilton Beach food processor and pulsed until they were smooth, adding a bit of the apple water as I went. I don't know why I thought I'd need a fancy food mill or blender. The puree came out beautiful regardless. The baby stores will try to sell you fancy ice cube trays to store your baby food in, but I just used my Pyrex storage bowls (purchased on clearance for $3) and leftover Gerber tubs.

I spent $2.53 to make 32 oz of applesauce, or .08/ounce. Gerber food was costing us .80 for 5 oz, or .16/ounce. Even with a coupon and sale priced Gerber, I was paying .11/ounce. Mission accomplished.

I was even able to make use of the apple skins. I put them on a baking sheet, sprinkled on a bit of cinnamon and sugar, and baked for 30 minutes on 350. Yum.

I also made some carrot puree, which turned out much grainier than the applesauce. Not sure what went wrong there. Maybe that's just in the nature of carrots? Anyway, we'll be saving that one in the freezer for a few months until Miss Meg is ready for more texture.

All in all, not too evil a way to spend a day. Next week we'll try pears and butternut squash. Joy.

No comments: