Thursday, May 28, 2009

Making Applesauce for Baby Food

I have heard before about people making their own baby food. Before I ever had a baby of my own I thought these people were probably nuts or just had absolutely nothing better to do with their time.
I have started making my own baby food. I am not nuts. And I do have other things that are always needing to be done. But it is more fulfilling, more rewarding, and less tedious than I once imagined. I have done carrots, avocado, banana and now apples. This is the first time I have remember to document the whole process so I can truly show how easy it is and how much money it can save.
The first thing I did was buy the apples. I know. It's that simple. You can read more about that here. Next, I peeled them. I like to peel first, then cut. This is a personal preference. I am also really excited about the fact that I put these peels in my new compost pile! This part took me about 20 minutes (for 19 apples. my husband ate one, so this has thrown my numbers off a little).
After they were beautifully naked, I used my handy dandy, but not so sophisticated, apple chopper. It does the job just fine. And this part only took me about 5 minutes.
I put them in the pot, added enough water to almost cover them (that's it, just apples and water), brought them to a boil and then turned the heat down to let them simmer (with the lid on). This is the time when you can really start to enjoy the aroma that this creates in the house. This is also a time where you can go get other things done, like feed your infant, or water your garden, or fold some laundry, or just be lazy. I don't know how long exactly that I let them simmer, I just kept checking until I decided they were nice and soft, ready for the next step. It was maybe 30 minutes or so.
After the apples were soft and a little cooled down, I strained them, making sure to reserve the liquid. This has nutrients and flavor and is great to add back in to the apples in the mashing part until you get the consistency you desire (or need for you age of child).

Adding liquid as needed. I would add small amounts at a time, then test the consistency until I got it how I wanted it.
This is what mine looked like. Pretty much looks like store-bought unsweetened applesauce. Then I poured it carefully into my ice trays. I think the ice part of my trays are a little smaller than normal, about 1 ounce each. I filled 5 trays and left 8 oz in the fridge to use sooner than the rest. The pureeing/pouring/covering took about 15 minutes total.
I covered the trays with aluminum foil, put them in the freezer, and once they are frozen through I will put them in ziplocs and label with the date and name. All done! Oh yeah, there is a messy kitchen now...but that'll only take about 5 minutes too.

All Told:

Time: 30 minutes to peel, 5 to chop, 30 to simmer (can do other things here), 15 to puree and measure, 5 to clean. About 1.5 hours, but only about 1 hour work time.

Tools I used: knife, apple cutter, cutting board, pot, strainer, bowl, food processor, pour cup, ice trays, aluminum foil

Smell: Amazing aroma fills the house!

Amount Made: about 88 oz!

Cost: Each apple cost me about $.26 ($.78/lb). I used 19 apples (silly husband messed this up). So, I paid $5 for the apples and got 88 oz of applesauce, meaning $.05/oz.

Savings: Baby food jars are 4 oz of food and you can maybe find a best price of $.50/jar or about $.12/oz. At that price I would have paid $10.56 for the 88 oz I made. This means I saved over 50% (if I could have found this at the cheapest price possible).

Verdict: I think it was well worth my time. I saved money. I know it is good and healthy. I made my house smell lovely. I will do it again, and I will continue to try more foods!

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