Steaming, blending, and pureeing vegetables and fruits to create homemade baby food sounds like a fun culinary chemistry experiment. For some, it is. For others, it definitely isn’t, especially if you’re limited in both time and counter space. It’s a daunting, multi-step task. If you want a more simplified approach, investing in the best baby food maker or baby food blender could be the right choice for you.
Baby food makers streamline the process by letting you toss in the ingredients you want and having the machine do the rest of the work. Make no mistake: These things are a luxury, and you can achieve the same results, albeit with more effort, by using a regular immersion blender. But the best all-in-one baby food makers are all about efficiency. To steal a phrase from pitch-man Ron Popeil, they let you set it and forget it. You then freeze the food (the Cleveland Clinic recommends keeping it in the freezer for no more than a month), and thaw it when the next dinner rolls around.
Efficiency comes with a price, however. If you want to shell out for that efficiency — or put one of these models on your baby registry — here are the best baby food makers on the market. Bon appetit.
The grand poohbah of pureeing — and so much more. The original BEABA steams the raw veggies. Then, with the flip of a button, it blends them into a puree (either with or without bite-sized chunks). It lets you prepare fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to any stage baby and toddler food in 15 minutes. And you don't need to dirty up additional pots or blenders in the process. The plastic bowl holds 4.7 cups, it's dishwasher safe, and the thing can even cook/blend meat too.
Think of this as a full haute cuisine prep kitchen for your toddler: It has three cooking trays with a steam juicer, plus three-speed blender you can program for various cook times, and a 12-cup capacity that lets you make up to one week of fresh food.
You can steam and blend fruits, veggies, meat, and fish in this handy machine, for a variety of textures and flavors. There are three buttons so you can select the steam or blend function and set the timer, so your food is ready when you need it. It's also small, meaning it takes up way less counter space.
This is basically a restaurant for your child: It cooks, blends, warms, and defrosts your food. It has two steamer baskets and a three-speed blender easily programmable for various cook times. The LCD display and audio alerts make it failproof; it's fully programmable and alerts you when done. Plus it can be used as a bottle sterilizer.
If you want less plastic in your life, Beaba's baby food maker has a glass bowl and a stainless steel steam basket. It lets you steam cook, blend, reheat or defrost all in one appliance. Another bonus: The sizable glass bowl holds 5.2 cups of food as opposed to 4.7 cups of food.
This eight-in-one baby food maker has an easy-to-read control panel, which is a bonus for frazzled parents. It will steam, cook, juice, warm, defrost, sterilize, puree, and even chop. So it's a baby food processor and blender and steamer in one. What we like most: The three-tier basket that lets you make three different meals at the same time.
As any parent knows, kids love pouches. But store-bought ones aren't cheap, and they're often loaded with extra sugar. Now, you can easily make your own. This ingenious pouch-making station fills three pouches at one time, with whatever pureed ingredients you want. And best of all, you can get reusable silicone pouches, so less waste for everyone. As a bonus, the squeeze station is dishwasher safe.
After filling the base with fruit, vegetables, or cooked meat, simply attach the crank on top and get down to grinding. Turn the crank until you reach the bottom of the mill, and you should have food of a perfect consistency for your hungry tot (although you can also add water or broth to the mill to make things easier or attain a different texture). What's nicer still about the OXO is that, at roughly the size of a coffee cup, it's small enough to bring to a restaurant or grandma's house.
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