(Note: This is an old post I am dusting off and pulling out to share, since we are back to moving ourselves again. Today has been a day full of bad news in our house, one piece of which is I have lost the help of professionals and now must start packing again. So I hope you enjoy this old piece and find the information helpful, while I get busy packing.
I would also like to note that while I really did enjoy canning pureed fruits for Chloe and having a whole months worth made in an afternoon, it is not currently practical for me with 3 kids under 4. It may be a challenge someone else is up to, so I thought it worth sharing.)
Last night was what promises to be the first of many adventures in making and canning my own food for Chloe. Now in talking to people I have heard some objections to this that I would like to address before I tell of last night’s work.
“This is way to much work, why not just buy baby food.”
Well I suspect that a few hours a couple of times a month is well worth the savings. For example two apples produce 16 oz of applesauce. I made my apple sauce in what was one of the more time-consuming methods and I had 48 oz in 30-45 minutes. There are methods that will save more time and energy in making the food, but they require more initial money for the output.
“I am worried about the safety of the food. I don’t want to make my baby sick.”
The USDA has tested different foods and has laid out safe practices in processing food for home canning. If you follow their advice you will significantly reduce the likelihood of botulism, and other illness you or your child could face from tainted food.
“I went to the USDA website and saw that they do not have any safe ways they recommend to can pureed vegetables. Why even bother with canning baby food if the only baby food you can safely recommend is pureed fruit.”
Well you can finely dice your veggies and follow their recommendations for the appropriate vegetables and mash them up before serving them to your child. Or if your child has teeth let them try the vegetables that are cut up to just their size. As far as vegetables go it has been my experience that many doctors recommend serving them to a child after you have started with fruits anyway. So you can get started with the fruit you made up first and worry about veggies when you cross that path.
“Honestly how long will you really be using the baby food? Do you really need it to be good for a year? If you freeze it is good for a month, isn’t that good enough?”
Pureed fruit can be added to cereal it, put atop of many foods, or enjoyed as a snack for even adults. So having plenty of fruit around even past the first year will be a nice thing to have. Finely diced veggies can easily be mashed and served to a baby without teeth, and as they grow you can give them the diced veggies as a finger food at meal time.
If you have further questions or concerns please feel free to post them here. I will answer all questions that I am able. If I do not know the answer I will look it up and provide you with the source of my information.
This recipe for applesauce was simple and the results were very tasty. Now you can modify it if you have a food processor, a hand cranked Foley food mill, or a KitchenAid grinder that you would prefer to use.
Please note I also made my applesauce two apples at a time.
You will need:
2 apples (for approximately 16 oz of applesauce) *note* I used one sweet apple and one tart.
1 teaspoon cinnamon and sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon water
1 Ziplock Zip and Steam(c) bag
canning jars (keep these warm while you make your applesauce)
lids (You will need new lids, as old lids will not create an airtight seal the second time around.)
a water bath canner
a jar funnel
tongs designed to remove jars from boiling water
1. Wash your apples.
2. Slice the apples and remove the core. (You may also remove the skins at this step if you like I choose to leave them on.)
3. Fill the Ziplock bag to the fill line. Then add the cinnamon and sugar, plus additional sugar if desired.
4. Add the tablespoon of water.
5. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. (cooking times may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave.)
6. Be careful opening the steam bag so as not to burn yourself, and pour the cooked apples in your blender. I used the puree setting to get my apples to the desired consistency.
7. Pour your applesauce in your jars. Be sure to leave a half inch of head room at the top of the jar and remove any air bubbles that may have formed.
8. Fill hot jars with hot applesauce. (Keep jars of applesauce warm till you have enough to fill your water bath canner, typically seven jars.)
9. Wipe rim of jars with damped paper towel to clean an spillage. Finger tighten lid and ring onto jar.
Once you have repeated this process enough times to fill enough jars to fill your canner, or until you have as many as you would like to make, then you may begin processing the jars.
Set the jars in the basket that comes with your water bath canner. Submerge the jars in the already boiling water. Bring water to boil again if need be. Let the jars boil for 15 minutes for pint size and 20 minutes for quart size.**
Remove from boiling water and set the jars on a cooling rack. Let the jars cool overnight. The popping and hissing noises you will hear as the jars cool are perfectly normal, in fact the popping noise indicates the jars are getting the proper seal.
The next morning check on the jars. If the buttons on the lids of any of the jars are not indented then the seal did not take. At this point you can put the jar in fridge to be consumed in the next couple days or the recommended advice would be to re-can the appropriate jars. That would entail re-cleaning the rims, putting on a new lid and boiling the jar again. If the seal does not take this time the USDA does recommend, for safety’s sake, a third attempt.
**Note: If your local elevation is more than 1000 ft above sea level please refer to USDA fruit canning guide for the appropriate amount of time to add to the canning guidelines that I laid out.
So that is the process I used. The applesauce turned out well and now we have plenty for days. (I would say longer than days, but more people in this home like applesauce than just Chloe.)