You’ve gone through the efforts of making delicious, healthy homemade baby food for your baby, and to prevent all that time and effort from going to waste, you’ve got to store it properly.
Store-bought baby food already comes in a glass jar or container and generally doesn’t require refrigeration prior to opening. This isn’t the case with homemade baby food so we’ll go over some methods and tips on how to properly store homemade baby food.
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Make Baby Food Last Longer With These Storage Tips
Now? Tomorrow? or Next Month?
One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is when you’ll be needing the baby food and also how much of it you’ve made that needs to be stored. As much as possible, try not to make too much food at one time but if you do have a little more than needed, you can choose to store it in the fridge or freeze it.
Homemade baby food can be treated like storing any fresh fruit or vegetables in your refrigerator. After preparing your fruit or vegetable puree for your toddler, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
If the baby food contains meat, fish, poultry, or eggs, that timeframe should be no less than 24 hours in the refrigerator. This is not just for the quality of the food but for maximum nutrient preservation.
While it’s not mandatory, we highly recommend you label your containers with the contents of each container and the date you cooked each item. This really comes in handy especially if you’ve made a large batch of food and keeping track of what’s in what bag.
Freezing will most likely be your method of choice to store homemade baby food, especially if you’ll be making it in large batches. This will give you the option of having food on hand for your baby in the coming weeks or months.
If needed, the food can be stored safely for up to 3 months in the freezer. Ideally, you’ll want to use your food within that first month or so.
This again is to keep the freshness of the food and to prevent any loss of nutrients. Also, as baby food purees, like most foods, stay in the freezer for extended periods of time, water crystals can start to accumulate.
Upon thawing, these crystals may leach out a small amount of nutrients from your homemade food. The general rule of thumb, if possible, is to try using your baby food within 1 month of freezing.
How to Store Them in the Freezer?
One method we love to use is the ice cube method. We like this method since it’s neat and automatically portions everything for you.
- First, make sure to thoroughly clean your ice cube trays. Some parents like to sterilize them by letting them sit in boiling water. Just make sure your trays are safe to handle boiling water.
- Place your baby food into the tray as neatly as possible. This will help when it comes time to pop them out of the tray once frozen.
- Place your tray(s) in the freezer and allow to freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight for best results.
- Once the baby food has frozen completely, pop them out and store in freezer bags. We also recommend you label each bag with the baby food contents and date of preparation. Store in your freezer for up to 3 months.
The same rules apply for freezing any purees of solid foods that have meat in them. However, a general rule to follow is to never freeze it again once you’ve thawed it. So if you’re going to thaw it, either use the food or throw it away.
We love the ice cube method for the following reasons:
- You probably have a few unused ice cube trays in your house right now so you won’t need to buy any special equipment.
- Generally, an ice cube of baby food is around one ounce. This will help in keeping track of the quantity of food your baby is eating.
- It saves you time and space. Rather than filling your fridge with containers, you can just slide in the ice cube trays. Also, any time you need food, you can just pop out the right amount which will prevent food wastage.
Maybe You Don’t Have Ice Cube Trays?
Or maybe you’d rather not use them to store your baby food, instead, you can just place your prepared food into a freezer bag. Before placing your bag(s) into the freezer, try to flatten and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Place in your freezer and allow to freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight for best results.
Before you’re ready to serve your deliciously made baby food, you’re going to need to thaw it first. Take out as many cubes as you need and place them in a container. You can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and have it ready to serve when it’s eating time for your baby.
For more ideas, watch this video from Buona Pappa on how to store your baby’s food:
Most manufactured baby foods are usually heat-treated to kill bacteria which in turn, can also eliminate nutrients. You’ve seen also how making your own homemade baby food can save you time, money, and reduce the risk of your baby becoming a picky eater.
Making homemade baby food is a bit of work but it’s totally worth it for your growing baby as long as you know how to store it properly.
What are some of your baby’s favorite foods to eat? Which storage method do you use for your homemade baby food? Tell us in the comment section below!
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