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5 Nutritious and Easy Baby Food Recipes You Can Make from Your Farmer’s Market Haul

farmers market

Spring has finally sprung. And with it, there’s an abundance of fresh springtime fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market. While it can be easy to go overboard on all of the beautiful produce on your first trip of the season, food waste can be a real problem. Luckily, your leftover fruits and veggies don’t have to go to waste. Why not share your love of spring produce with your baby by making nutritious baby food with your farmer’s market haul? It’s more nutritious than a lot of the store-bought stuff and a lot easier to make than you might think!

 “By making your own baby food, you can use fresh, wholesome, natural ingredients and expose your baby to a wide variety of healthful and tasty foods from an early age,” explains Dr. Sonali Ruder, author of “Natural Baby Food.” “Plus, homemade baby food tastes better than commercially prepared baby food, there’s more variety, and it’s economical!”

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Making baby food from fresh, local fruits and vegetables from your farmer’s market will not only ensure that you’re giving your baby the most nutritious, nutrient-dense ingredients, but it also means you know exactly what you’re feeding them. You’re in control of making sure there are no added ingredients, like salt, sugar, or preservatives. Here’s another perk: Homemade baby food doesn’t have to be processed under high temperatures to maintain shelf stability, so you don’t lose any of those precious nutrients. And if you’re wondering whether you have time to add yet another task to your ever-growing list, consider this: You can prepare your homemade baby food while you are prepping your own food for the week.

Kathryn Doherty, health and nutrition blogger at Family Food on the Table, says that for those who feel intimidated, “You don’t have to be a great cook or buy fancy equipment to make your own baby food. Just start small and with the basics, and you’ll see how easy it can be!”

How to get started making nutritious homemade baby food

Before you get started, here’s a quick lesson on how to prep your produce.

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Wash your fruits and vegetables well. This is a no-brainer step and especially important when prepping your baby’s food. Washing thoroughly will ensure that you remove all the pesticides and/or dirt. The perk of farmer’s market produce is that it’s fresh, but that means you have to be careful about cleaning it thoroughly! Once clean, peel if necessary (such as with apples or mangoes).

Steam or roast your produce until tender. This will make it easy to puree while retaining all of the nutrients. Boiling is not recommended, as some of the nutrients will leach out into the cooking water. You can skip this step if you have soft, ripe fruit, such as bananas or berries.

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Throw everything in a food processor or blender. This is the fun part! You can also use an immersion blender to puree. Portion into individual BPA-free containers, and store in the refrigerator for three days or in the freezer for a few months. If you decide to freeze your homemade baby food, make sure it’s stored in BPA-free, airtight containers to help prevent freezer burn and avoid any harmful chemicals.

How simple is that? You can start with simple single-ingredient foods at first, like peas or carrots. If you’re ready to experiment with more, you can jump right in with these five easy recipes for homemade baby food using your delicious farmer’s market produce!

beans and avocado puree

1. Green beans and avocado puree

Start to finish: 15 minutes

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Servings: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

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1 cup green beans, washed, and trimmed

1 small avocado, peeled, and pit removed

2 tablespoons water

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Optional: 1 clove garlic

Instructions:

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  1. In a steamer basket, place green beans (and garlic, if you’re using it) in a steamer basket.
  2. In a large pot, add about 1/2 cup water, and place the basket inside the pot. Note: The water should not be touching the steamer basket.
  3. Cover, and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until green beans are bright green and tender. Remove from heat, and let beans cool.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add cooled green beans, avocado, garlic, and water, and blend until smooth.
  5. Portion into individual containers and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
puree

2. Strawberry and pear puree

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries, hulled

1 small pear, peeled, and cored

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Instructions:

  1. In a steamer basket, place peeled, cored pear.
  2. In a large pot, fill about 1/2 cup water, and place the basket inside the pot. Note: The water should not be touching the steamer basket.
  3. Cover, and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let pear cool.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add cooled pear and strawberries, and blend until smooth.
  5. Portion into individual containers and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
peas and asparagus puree

3. Green peas and asparagus puree

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup green peas

1 cup asparagus

2-3 tablespoons water

Instructions:

  1. Wash asparagus, and trim off woody ends. Cut into 1-2-inch pieces.
  2. In a steamer basket, place asparagus and peas.
  3. In a large pot, add about 1/2 cup water, and place the basket inside the pot. Note: The water should not be touching the steamer basket.
  4. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let vegetables cool.
  5. In a food processor or blender, add asparagus, peas, and water, and blend until smooth.
  6. Portion into individual container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
mango

4. Mango, carrot, and sweet potato puree

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 small sweet potato

1 cup carrots, scrubbed

1 cup mango, peeled

1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash sweet potato and use a fork to pierce holes around the outside. Wrap tightly in foil and bake 45 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Wrap carrots in a separate piece of foil and bake 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven, and let cool.
  4. Remove skin from the sweet potato.
  5. In a food process or blender, add cooled sweet potato, carrots, mango, and blend until smooth.
  6. Portion into individual container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
banana

5. Banana, kiwi, and banana puree

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup kale, stems removed, and chopped

1 large ripe banana, peeled

2 kiwis, peeled

Instructions:

  1. In a steamer basket, place kale.
  2. In a large pot, add about 1/2 cup water, and place the basket inside the pot. Note: The water should not be touching the steamer basket.
  3. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let pear cool.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add kale, banana, and kiwi, and blend until smooth.
  5. Portion into individual container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

The fun thing about shopping at the farmer’s market is the endless possibilities of what you can create from your haul. If you’ve been worried about food waste in the past, you can rest easy knowing that not only are you making the best use of your produce, but you’re also feeding your baby the best they can possibly eat. And if you need another reason, remember that making your own baby food (even just for a few meals a week) is environmentally friendly and supportive of local businesses. Everyone wins! If you’re worried about whether some foods are safe for your baby to eat, it’s best to leave them out until you know for sure. Also, play around with ingredients. If you know your baby loves apples but not pears, alter the recipe! With that said, always ask your doctor if you’re unsure about what age you can safely introduce solids and new foods to your baby. If your baby shows any signs of intolerance or has an allergic reaction, consult your doctor immediately.

I’d love to know what fun recipes you’re creating at home. What are your favorite finds at the farmer’s market for baby food recipes?  

 


bio

Kaleigh is a registered dietitian, food blogger at Lively Table, writer, and recipe developer passionate about making healthy living fun and accessible to everyone. She believes in a non-diet approach to healthy eating and strives to help clients develop a positive relationship with food. When she's not in the kitchen, Kaleigh can be found hanging out with her husband and three Brittany spaniels.

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