Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Maximizing our food budget

This summer was our first summer participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  We did this to get fresh, organic vegetables from a local farm. This experience has been wonderful and I hope to have a weekly update next summer with all of the fun things we did with the veggies. However, this summer was a bit overwhelming because some of the items we received, we had never heard of, much less used or bought. It’s sad to say, but the first week, we had quite a few veggies go to waste. However, when the second week rolled around, we were prepared with all sorts of ideas. By the fourth and fifth week, we just had too much squash, we couldn’t keep up. So being my frugal self, I thought about the different ways we could use it and decided to try blending it into a puree. This worked great. I cut the squash in half, put the inside face down, and baked the button squash at 400 degrees with a little water in the pan until the squash were soft. Then, I blended them into a puree in our blender. This first batch I put into one baggie and froze it to be used in some various dish that I am trying to add some nutrients for my son.

However, last week as I looked in our vegetable drawer full of more squash, I realized that I could make some organic, fresh baby food. So last night, I started the adventure. I baked the squash as indicated above and then poured it into ice cube trays, since each ice cube is 1 oz. I ended up with 36 oz. of frozen squash in 1 oz. size portions. I also ventured on cooked carrots. I steamed the carrots for 15-20 minutes to ensure that they were extra soft. Then blended them in the blender with a little bit of water for consistency purposes. I put this puree in the ice cube trays and ended up with 14 oz. in 1 oz. portions. After the portions were froze solid, I moved them to baggies and labeled with the appropriate name.

Here is the frozen squash in the ice cube trays.
Last night's final product

Overall, I would say it was a success and I plan to do it more often over the next couple of weeks – apples, bananas. The apples will be coming from the trees in my parent’s yard and the bananas are ones that are leftover and placed in the freezer for banana bread. I am not sure how the bananas will turn out, but stay tuned for an update. The vegetables I used last night were essentially free, since they were part of our CSA and would have been thrown out because we couldn’t keep up with the squash and carrots. Plus, they are organic, fresh vegetables, so not only did we save a lot of money on baby food, but we are also providing better options for the baby.

Do you have any great ideas for baby food?

Continuing to cut the crust off to get to more economically green options…

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