I love food. And it loves me. So much so that it sticks around in places that I don't want it to (read: hips, thighs, stomach). I enjoy making the food almost as much as I enjoy eating it. So I figured that making baby food for the twins would be a logical move for me. I wasn't thinking about the cost at first, but let me just say that the savings are worth every minute I spend making baby food!
First, here's the basic method: Clean, quarter, steam, puree, cool, freeze. The whole process works for most fruits and vegetables, and generally takes less that an hour. If you really need a more specific recipe, here's the one for apples:
5 sweet firm apples (Gala, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp), cleaned and quartered (skins on)
Step 1: Place steamer basket into a pot with 1 inch of water (or use steamer if you have one)
Step 2: Place apples in steamer basket
Step 3: Turn heat on high, cover pot and steam apples until soft (anywhere from 15-30 minutes)
Step 4: Turn off heat, transfer apples to a bowl and cool to the point that you can touch them
Step 5: Remove skins (they should peel right off) and place in blender
Step 6: Puree apples, adding some of the steaming liquid, breast milk, or formula to thin the puree as needed
Step 7: Transfer puree into an air-tight container to keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze in an ice cube tray (each well is 1 ounce) for up to 3 months.
You can substitute pears, carrots, butternut squash, peas, zucchini, or pretty much anything else that you want for the apples and do the exact same process. A word of warning: the peas came out much more concentrated than everything else, so I thin those out with some formula when I feed them to the twins. The zucchini was very watery, so I mix that with rice cereal to get a consistency that stays on the spoon.
Some vegetables require a little more time. For beets and yams/sweet potatoes clean the vegetable (leave the skins on), prick with holes, and roast at 350 degrees for an hour or until soft. You could do this with the carrots and squash too. Roasting sweetens the vegetables slightly.
I haven't attempted to puree my own meat. The thought of making "meat paste" doesn't really appeal to me, so I'm using jarred food until the kids can eat the same food that I make for dinner. (Based on how fast the teeth are coming in, I don't think I'll have to endure this cost for too long!) However, Momtastic's Wholesome baby Food site has some basic recipes for purees if you're interested. (http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/MeatRecipes.htm)