Jul 31, 2011
This is a simple category, and if you cook at all you more than likely have this part covered without a problem. The very least you need is a good sharp knife. You might find that different knives work better in different situations, such as a paring or filet knife. A good peeler also comes in handy for most of the fruit since the peels don't puree well and need to be removed. A corer can also be useful and save some time when coring apples and pears. These can run from very simple hand corers to complex ones that will also cut and peel at the same time.
The bare minimum in this case is probably a baking sheet or dish and a pot with a lid. With these two items you can cook anything. My other favorite tool is steamer. This can be a little pricey, but steaming preserves more of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables than cooking in a pot on top of the stove, and if you plan on doing alot of baby food this isn't a bad investment. I personally prefer electric steamers because they are easy and simple to use, but you can also find steamer baskets that fit on top of pots.
There are several options in this category. The least expensive is obviously a hand tool such as a potato masher. This will work, but be ready to put in a little elbow grease to get the job done. Your other options are a blender, food processor, or stick blender. All three work well and have their advantages. With a blender you may need to put a little liquid in prior to the food in order to start the blending process, but after this it will suck the food down and make a nice puree and you can add the liquid through the top. Be careful becuase you can make the food a little too liquidy in the blender. A food processor makes a nice consistency puree and you can also add they liquid through the top while the machine is running. You will have to stop the machine occasionally and scrape the sides to make sure everything is being blended evenly. Stick blenders usually come with a narrow cylinder container that is great for making baby food and allows you to move the stick blender around to give you an even puree. The only downside is that you need one hand to hold the blender and the other to hold the cup, so you have to stop to add liquid.
What you store your food in will depend on how long you are planning on keeping it and where. Airtight food storage containers work well in the refrigerator, and some are freezable as well. Look for small containers that only hold a few ounces, especially if you are freezing them. My favorite storage method is ice cube trays and plastic storage bags. The cubes are one ounce portions that can be used as needed and mixed and matched at will to create different combinations. The trays can be found cheap, especially near summer as most dollar stores will bring in large batches around that time. You can also invest in silicon trays that have small compartments. These can be a little pricey, but the small muffin one can also be used to bake mini muffins, quiche, fritata, and tart later on for finger foods, so not a bad investment if you have the cash. Any number of containers and trays can be found in the baby department and most work perfectly fine, but can be pricey since they are "baby" items even though they aren't much different that what you can find in the kitchen department. It is completely up to you which options to pick, but do what is affordable for you.
Jul 28, 2011