Both of my kids have been introduced to solid foods through baby-led weaning. Well, I use a modified version. To get them used to eating solid food at all - how it feels in the mouth, how they move food around with their tongue. It also helps me monitor how much they’re actually getting since I’m the one feeding them with a spoon. This transitional stage only lasts a few weeks - maybe a month at most - and then they’re ravenously snatching food from my plate. That’s a huge sign it’s time to introduce table food!
As a frugal mama, I hate seeing perfectly good baby food go to waste! Truth be told, I only have a few containers left in my cabinet. It seems like it’s not quite worth it to make enough fuss to pass them on. I’m pretty certain the next local friend who’ll be having a baby isn’t due for another six months anyway! So what’s a mom to do with leftover baby purees? Turn them into big-kid/grown-up food!
Would you believe that despite being a baby-and-toddler mom for nearly three years, I only picked up this tip just last week? As a baker and decent home-chef, the application of the baby puree is so obvious I want to facepalm ten times in a row. Any experienced baker knows that you can replace the egg in a batter with applesauce. Hellllllooooooo - applesauce is just a chunky puree. It provides moisture and flavor. DUH. That’s exactly what baby food is! Flavored moisture, basically.
You can even reuse opened baby food - so long as it hasn’t had baby’s mouth or a spoon in it! Of course, that would introduce bacteria that can spoil the whole jar. If the food is still sterile and unexpired, you can store it in a variety of ways. Obviously, shelf-stable foods can stay in your pantry. You can also spoon them into ice cube trays and freeze them! I like this option, because it lasts for 6 months and each ice cube is a few tablespoons, so it’s pre-measured.
Now - a few recipe ideas to use up those leftovers!
Mix It Up
So easy and obvious: just mix purees in with oatmeal, yogurt, pudding, or cottage cheese. I especially love this since it would cut down on the sugar of a flavored yogurt, but still pack quite a punch for the tastebuds!
Smooth It Out
Veggie or fruit purees would be a great nutritious addition to any smoothies! Especially if you’re sensitive to texture or bits in your smoothie, this could be a great option to keep it healthy.
Add veggies or meat purees to tomato-based sauces. I especially like this in pasta sauces or marinara - it adds a bit of intrigue you wouldn’t have otherwise!
This one is SO OBVIOUS I can’t believe I hadn’t done it already. Add savory purees to soups or stews. They’ll dilute enough not to overpower any flavors, but will add nutrition and depth.
Get Your Bake On
I mentioned applesauce and eggs earlier? Same concept. Mix puree with a muffin mix and bake it up. You could also mix puree into pancake batter, cake batter - even cookies, if you reduce the puree so it doesn’t add too much moisture.
What other ingenious ways can you think of to make use of those leftover jars of baby food? Tweet your ideas at me on Twitter (@pi3sugarpi3) and I’ll add them to a follow-up post with specific recipes!