I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted to throw my hands up in the air every time I think about the number of appliances that we’ve had to buy for our baby. It’s not just the cribs and car seats that occupy our living room; it’s also all those appliances that come with them. From bottle warmers to humidifiers, there are so many gadgets out there designed specifically for babies that sometimes it feels like going into a store is like stepping on an alien planet. But every once in a while, something amazing comes along: a device so simple yet so useful it makes me wonder why this wasn’t invented before now. Baby food cookers fall into this category—they’re small appliances with one purpose (cooking food) and they solve one problem (how do I feed my baby?) with ease. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what these machines are and how they work!
Baby Food Cookers
Baby food cookers are a great way to save time and energy when making homemade baby food. Unlike conventional blenders or food processors, which generally require you to stop and clean up after each batch of food, baby food cookers can be filled with ingredients, blended together, and then poured out through a spout once they’ve been cooked. This process can be repeated over and over until you have enough baby food ready!
Baby food cookers are also ideal for making healthy foods for your little one. They’re usually designed with an inner basket that is lined with non-stick coating so that it’s easy to wash up afterward. This feature makes it easier than ever before!
What to Look For
If you’re looking for a baby food maker, there are some important things to consider. First, make sure that it fits your needs; there’s no point in paying for features that you won’t use. For example, if you don’t plan on steaming food or blending it into purees, those features might not be worth the extra money.
Next, check out the size of the food container: like most things with babies and toddlers in mind, these cookers tend to be geared towards smaller portions (hence their name). If you want to cook large batches of food and freeze them until needed later on down the line—or if yours is a larger kid who eats more than most—you can still use these machines by having multiple containers ready at once. Just make sure they fit comfortably inside before buying!
Finally, look for additional features such as timers so that your child doesn’t have access while they’re cooking; steaming baskets so nothing burns during cooking time; blending functions that are easy enough even an inexperienced chef could use without hurting themselves or others nearby; warranties just in case something goes wrong with an early model but doesn’t affect later ones yet…
Some baby food cookers do more than cook, steaming and blending in one pot.
If you want to be able to both steam and blend your baby’s food in a single pot, there are several options. Some of the best baby food cookers have steaming baskets that allow you to make pureed meals in just minutes by allowing heat from boiling water or other liquids to circulate around the food as it cooks. This can be a great way for parents who don’t have time for extensive meal prep during the workday when their baby is crying for something new.
There are also some excellent choices on the market that will allow parents with limited counter space to use their stovetop burners as well as an electric burner at once with minimal effort. These cookers feature multiple power settings so you can decide if you’d like more flexibility or precision from your machine—and this means less guesswork when making dishes that require different cooking times depending on what ingredients they contain!
Keep in mind that some recipes may need to be pureed a second time.
When you make baby food, it’s important to read the instructions for your baby food cooker. Some recipes may need to be pureed a second time. This will depend on the type of food and how it is being prepared. You can also use a blender or food processor if you prefer not to use your baby food maker.
You might want different amounts of baby food depending on your child’s age.
You might want different amounts of baby food depending on your child’s age. If your child is older, you can make larger batches and set aside some for later use. If your child is younger, you can make smaller batches.
Can I Make My Own?
You can make your own baby food with a blender or food processor. It’s important to sterilize the blender and food processor before you start, so that you don’t introduce any harmful bacteria into your baby’s diet. You’ll also want to cool the food before feeding it to your little one—this prevents hot spots from developing on their tongue that could burn them if they’re not cooled down first.
Don’t overfill your blender with too many ingredients at once, as this may cause some of them to get stuck inside and prevent everything else from blending properly!
Baby food cookers can help make the cooking process a lot easier for you.
There are several benefits to using a baby food cooker. First, you can cook in bulk and make enough to last for a few days. Second, you can experiment with different ingredients and flavors. Third, cooking is quick; it takes about five minutes for the food to be ready. Finally, all you need to do is pop in your ingredients into the steamer and blend together—you don’t have to use more pots or bowls for this process!
How to Make Homemade Baby Food With a Rice Cooker
So you want to know how to make your own easy, wholesome and homemade baby food. The solution is super simple. I won’t keep you waiting. Here is the short answer:
- Chop up some fruits or veggies.
- Stick them in a rice cooker.
- Let them cook.
- Put them in glass jars.
- Store them in the fridge.
Ta-da! That is it! That’s the secret to the universe. You can go home now, secure in the knowledge that you know it all, and that all is well.
Joking aside, if you want to make fast, easy baby food, a rice cooker is your best friend.
Much better than your real life, human best friend. Unless your real-life, human best friend brings over wholesome, homemade baby food every day like clockwork without leaving a mess or complaining. Oh, really, she doesn’t? And she forgot your birthday this year? Then the rice cooker is your real best friend.
I have done this with my daughter—who is 1 1/2 years old as I write this—for the last year, ever since she turned six months and has been able to eat solid food. She has had steamed apples, pears, or peaches most mornings for breakfast for a year.
Now, my daughter may never want to eat apples, pears, or peaches again when she gets old enough to tell me that what she really wants every day for breakfast is a Happy Meal.
Even though my future will be filled with Happy Meals, right now, I feel good about making baby food with a rice cooker.
Benefits of Making Homemade Baby Food
- I feel good because I control what I put into her growing body. I am not filling her with sugar, corn syrup, or whatever preservatives keep baby food shelf-stable for years.
- I feel good that I save money compared to buying commercial baby food brands. I do buy the occasional Gerber, Plum, or Happy Baby brand baby food when we’re on the road, but it adds up if you buy these regularly.
- I feel good that I save time. I no longer spend my mornings before work frantically trying to avoid second-degree burns while stewing prunes for my baby. (Really, I used to do this! It took 30 minutes out of my morning with collateral damages to my hands. My precious hands that I use to type all day).
- I feel good that all I have to do is just set it and forget it.
Now, you are wondering: What is wrong with this guy? Why is he so pleased with himself? Is he a moron?
Well, yes, I am a moron. That is why I am patting myself on the back.
I am the kind of guy who feels that not burning the toast is a huge accomplishment. My wife may tell you that I can cook well, but the facts betray her: I burned her toast twice last week alone. But I digress.
So, for my fellow morons out there, here are the more detailed instructions that are so easy that a moron like me was able to write them, much less follow them.
Step 1: Get Your Rice Cooker Ready (1 minute)
I will assume that you have a normal kitchen, with knives, cutting boards, and the like. If not, well, not to judge, but perhaps you were a bit hasty getting into the whole parenthood thing?
I will not assume that you already have a rice cooker, or even know what one looks like. I happened to grow up with one because my parents were Korean immigrants. (The rice cooker that appears in the photos here was bought by my mom—a bit of a Tiger Mother—in the vain hope that I would eat more rice. She will cry when she finds out I use it to cook apples and pears. So please, feel free to say hi at the grocery store, but don’t tell her how I am using the rice cooker.)
So, before going further, you need a rice cooker. Buy one—they aren’t that expensive. Or if you’re strapped for cash, borrow one from a friend.
All you need to cook with a rice cooker is:
- Water. It goes into the main compartment (usually one cup of water, or however much water it takes to fill it to the line labeled 1).
- Plug it in.
Important Note: Even if you already have a rice cooker, you may be missing one thing that you absolutely need to have: a steamer compartment. This is (usually) a plastic compartment that rests above the main metal compartment where the rice and water normally go. It suspends food above the steaming water so that it can be cooked.
You Don’t Need a Baby Food Processor
Please do not go out and buy one of those specialized baby food processors. I thought of doing this before my wife reminded me we had a rice cooker.
After doing a bit of research, I found out that they often cost twice as much as a rice cooker, they don’t let you make very much food at once (many make just single servings), and they can’t be easily used to make anything else—like adult food—once your baby is old enough to start eating anything other than mushed fruit or vegetables.
A pear cored and chopped.
Step 2: Core and Chop Selected Fruits or Vegetables (5 Minutes)
If you’re dealing with apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, etc., simply peel and core, and chop into at least fourths if not smaller.
A decently-sized rice cooker (12″ diameter) should fit 4–5 full apples or pears, once chopped up.
If you intend to cook carrots, green beans, broccoli (blech) or something else, you can choose to chop them or not. Usually, I put baby carrots in whole, and just cut up broccoli as I normally would for me.
Just to give you a sense, here is what pears look like before being cooked in the rice cooker:
Step 3: Cook (20–30 Minutes of Waiting)
Rice cookers usually just have one button, and it is “cook.” Once your fruit or vegetables are ready, you just put them in the steamer compartment and press “cook.”
Voila! You are now free to spend time with your baby. Or if you can leave the baby with someone else, you now have 20–30 minutes to sleep, work, or drink beer. Enjoy.
You don’t have to be around to watch the rice cooker because it stops cooking (steaming the fruit or vegetables) automatically after 20–30 minutes, or whenever the water more or less runs out. Also, the food will stay warm until you unplug the cooker.
Step 4: Storage (1 Minute)
You can, if you want, feed your child the cooked fruit or vegetables directly, but if you’re doing that, remove the food from the rice cooker and let it cool for 5 minutes or so.
Otherwise, put everything in a good container. I use glass jars to store the baby food, mainly old peanut butter jars. I prefer glass to plastic jars so that nothing leeches into the food.
What Foods to Use and Avoid
The best fruit to use, I find, are apples and pears. Peaches, nectarines, plums, and mangoes work too.
Once cooked, I have found that these will keep at least one week in the fridge, perhaps longer; none of these will last nearly that long raw, even if you don’t peel them. When you’re finished, they’ll end up quite squishy, so it may not matter how big you chop them, but I still like to cut them into smaller bits; it makes it easier to smush them up.
You can also simply wash and cut up carrots, broccoli, string beans, and other harder or crisper fruit or vegetables. The benefit of using vegetables is that you can cook rice at the same time. (I don’t recommend doing this with fruit.)
Foods to Avoid
I don’t recommend cooking any fruit or veggies that are already soft or soggy or quite full of juice (grapes, pineapple). I have never tried cooking bananas, as they fall in the “get soggy” category, but I could be persuaded otherwise. If you do cook bananas, and it works, please write to me or leave a comment below!
I guess this should be self-evident, but I don’t recommend cooking meat or fish in your rice cooker. And beef jerky, foie gras, and M&Ms—those are just right out—but if you need to be told that.
There is sometimes a bit juice/syrup in the jar with the pears. There is usually some residue at the bottom of the main compartment of the rice cooker.
I usually put most of this syrup in the jar with the fruit. It is quite sweet, and my daughter loves it. The syrup helps preserve the fruit a bit, and is useful because it keeps things moist; I usually mix in some solid food, oatmeal or something else before feeding my daughter.
We hope this article has given you some insight into the world of baby food cookers. These appliances can be a great way to make your life easier while also saving time and money. Just remember that they’re not all created equally, so do your research before buying one!