Parents eager to make their own baby food can use these tips to create healthy purees (after consulting a pediatrician about age-appropriate foods).

Wash hands, equipment and produce well.

Cook foods thoroughly. Steam vegetables and simmer fruit in water until very soft; poach or broil meat and light, flaky fish until cooked through.

Puree cooked foods in a blender, mini food processor or food mill, then strain them through a fine sieve until very smooth. If the puree seems too thick, add some formula, fruit juice or water. Thicken purees that seem watery by adding cooked and pureed starches: Rice and potato purees work well with vegetables; rice and oat baby cereals go with fruit.

Freeze single servings in ice-cube trays, then transfer the cubes to resealable plastic bags and store for up to a month.

Reheat individual servings in a glass or metal bowl set in a slowly simmering hot-water bath.