If you are planning on making your baby's first foods, you'll have plenty of help. There are a number of tools and appliances that are designed specifically for making baby food purees, not to mention many cook's tools that, while not created just for making baby food, can produce the smooth purees necessary for baby's first meals.
Here are some options for making baby food at home, along with some of the pros and cons for each. And, most importantly, can you use the tool afterwards?
The best-known of the fancy all-in-one baby food makers, the Beaba BabyCook (read review) steams and purees food all in the same cute, compact appliance. You can blend the steamed food to the desired consistency, from ultra-smooth for new eaters, to somewhat chunky for developing palates. And the appliance can also be used to defrost frozen portions of puree or to warm up batches of baby food.
Pros: Easy to use and clean
Cons: Expensive, makes only small batches
Life After Baby: You could use the Babycook as a mini-grinder or to make small batches of applesauce or purees for other purposes, such as sauces… but why wouldn't you just use your food processor?
2. Baby Bullet
The BabyBullet is a versatile baby food maker system that can make multiple batches of puree or can puree a single serving, and can also mill wheat, rice or oats to make baby cereal. The system comes with storage cups and freezing tray. This is a great system for parents who want to be able to have the option of even making baby's cereal, or grinding up part of the family's dinner for baby to eat.
Cons: Lots of pieces to lose
Life After Baby: The mill function might come in handy if you ever want to grind seeds or grains for a recipe. And all the little storage containers would be great for kids' snacks or packing lunches.
Moms through the ages have sworn by this portable, handheld food grinder, which purees soft foods while separating out seeds, pitch and tough fibers. The travel version contains the food mill with its medical-grade stainless steel blade, a four-ounce cup and a spoon, all in a carrying case.
Pros: Small and portable
Cons: Seems a little flimsy
Life After Baby: Unless you have no other tool to do so, this food mill could be used to puree apples, tomatoes or other soft cooked foods for sauces.
If you don't want to buy special equipment just to feed your baby, you might be able to use something that's already in your kitchen – your food processor or your immersion blender. Steam chunks of peeled, seeded fruits and veggies, and give them a whirr in the food processor to turn them into a puree. An immersion blender, particularly one that comes with its own blending cup (like Kitchenaid's version), is great for making small batches without a lot of cleanup.
Pros: You probably already have one – and if you don't, you'll be able to use it for plenty of other kitchen tasks
Cons: Hard to make very small batches unless you have a mini chopper. Might not get the right consistency, and won't strain out seeds or fibrous bits.
Life After Baby: Food processors are super-versatile, for making anything from salsa to bread dough to mayonnaise.
5. Food Mill
A hand-crank food mill is ideal for making baby food purees. Most of the mills on the market have several different sized grates that can make different textures of purees.
Pros: Good for big batches
Cons: Bulky for storage
Life After Baby: Ideal for making applesauce, tomato sauce or other purees.