Toward the end of my pregnancy with Abigail, I became very interested in making my own baby food. This way I could know what was going into her little body and I hoped that it would be cheaper.
Hands down, it is ridiculously cheaper. Not only that, it is soooooo easy! I can't believe I didn't do it with the boys.
A month or two before she was born, I bought a cookbook called La Petit Appetit by Lisa Barnes from a local discount bookfair. Can I just tell you how much our family has enjoyed this cookbook! We have not made a recipe that we didn't like so far. I never thought I would see a two year old scarf down eggplant, but I have now and he is one of mine. :)
That being said, this book is not necessary for making baby food. I had a severe "duh" moment when I read the portions regarding baby food. Basically, take what you are serving for dinner and either puree it or you can even mash it with a fork if it's soft. (You may have to add a small amount of water to make it a thinner consistency.)
It doesn't get much easier than that. And Abigail will now be exposed to so many more types of food that is not readily available in the store bought brands. Not only that, it's fresh and not processed. Nutritious, cheap, and easy - that's what I'm talking about! ;)
Even though Abigail is solely nursing right now, I still took advantage of the summer's garden offerings to make homemade (which happens to also mean organic in our house) baby food to store. I pureed a small variety of fruits and froze them to use when she is ready.
I have also been keeping my eye out at the grocery store for super cheap veggies and fruits. I recently got organic pears and sweet potatoes for a great price.
As far as storing it, you can take whatever you have made that won't be eaten in a timely manner and put it into ice cube trays to freeze. Then take the cubes, put them in a bag together and back in the freezer. Now you have baby sized portions ready to be thawed and eaten. I did run across these special cubes yesterday specifically for baby food storage in the freezer and think they're pretty cool.
Another way to make and store baby food is through dehydration. Dehydrate your fruits or veggies and store in airtight containers. Then when it's time to feed baby, pulverize the dehydrated food into a powder. Rehydrate the food with water to your desired consistency and serve.
I plan to follow our doctor's recommendations regarding foods (such as introducing one new food at a time), but there are so many more foods she can enjoy now than if we were using the jars and I know what is in the food she is eating. As she gets older, she can enjoy our whole meals and not just sides. I am so excited to be doing this with her!
Want more frugal ideas? Check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.