- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- makes about 3 cups butternut purée, 2 cups apple purée, 1¾ cups spinach purée
Squashy, sweet, and nourishing, this baby food is wonderful for fall and winter. The idea of following a DIY baby food recipe might sound like a mission that no sleep-deprived, overextended parent should ever embark upon—but the truth is, it’s the easiest cooking you’ll ever do. Ready to get started? First, make sure that baby is, too: usually between four and six months old, but check with your pediatrician. With respect to consistency, new eaters may appreciate a thinner texture, while babies and toddlers with more eating experience might be able to wrap their little heads around thicker, rustic-textured purées. To make the project more manageable, feel free to make the purées on different days (each one uses the same instructions for freezing—see step 4). And don’t be afraid to taste the purée before freezing; it should taste good to you, too! When it comes to serving size, younger babies will generally eat just 1 to 2 tablespoons, since they will still be getting most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula. —adina_steiman
small butternut squash, halved and seeded
Neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed
Breast milk, formula, or filtered water, as needed
(10-ounce) bag frozen spinach
medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Prep the butternut squash purée: Heat the oven to 400°F. Rub the squash all over with oil, then place on a sheet pan, cut side down. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is tender. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and transfer it to a blender or food processor. Add ⅓ to ½ cup of breast milk, formula, or filtered water. Purée to the desired consistency, adding more liquid to thin as needed.
- Prep the spinach purée: Cook the spinach according to the package instructions. Let cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid (either discard or reserve for blending). Transfer the spinach to a blender or food processor. Add ⅓ to ½ cup of spinach liquid, breast milk, formula, or filtered water. Purée to the desired consistency, adding more liquid to thin as needed.
- Prep the apple purée: Bring ½ cup of filtered water to a simmer in a medium saucepan, add the fruit, and simmer until fork-tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan, then transfer the fruit and liquid to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth, adding more filtered water (or breast milk or formula) as needed to adjust the consistency.
- Portion and freeze the purées: Spoon or pour the purées into clean ice cube trays or baby food trays. Freeze until solid. Transfer the cubes to a freezer bag, label and date them—purées will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months—and stash in the freezer.
- Thaw before mealtime: Thaw the purées overnight in the refrigerator or, in a pinch, zap in the microwave.
- Ready, set, eat: Combine 1 thawed cube each of butternut purée, apple purée, and spinach purée. Gently heat until warm.