Making your own baby food is a healthy and cost-effective option, but all your efforts can be wasted if you don’t know how to properly and safely store your homemade purees. Having the right refrigeration and freezing information, as well as the right storage tools, is key.
Refrigerating and Freezing Your Homemade Baby Food
Homemade purees can be stored safely in your refrigerator for up to 72 hours, so if you’re planning to keep your homemade baby food in the fridge, we recommend that you puree very small batches every other day. Keep in mind, too, that you should never serve food to your baby out of a storage container — saliva contains bacteria that will spoil food. Instead, dish a small amount of food into a separate bowl and feed your baby from that.
Homemade purees can be stored safely in your freezer for up to 6 months (although to ensure the best possible quality, you should use them up by 3 months). Most parents prefer freezing their homemade baby food, simply because they can cook up big batches at one time and then freeze the leftovers for months.
To freeze your purees conveniently, we recommend the “ice cube” method:
- Spoon a small amount of puree into each little well of an ice cube tray and freeze.
- Pop the frozen puree cubes into a freezer-safe storage bag. It’s a good idea to label the bags for future use (it can be hard to tell peas from green beans when they’re in ice-cube form!) You should also write the date on the bag, to ensure freshness.
- To serve, simply thaw cubes in the refrigerator, then gently warm them before feeding the food to your baby.
Refrigerate or Freeze? Which method is better?
For obvious reasons, freezing makes the most sense when it comes to storing your homemade baby food. Freezing makes the food-making process much more convenient — you can whip up big batches of baby food at a time and freeze leftovers for later, instead of having to make small batches of food every few days.
Freezing can also help you take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are generally priced lower at the supermarket when they’re in season; take advantage of these sales to stock up on seasonal produce and make lots and lots of baby food with it. For example, if you find peaches on sale at 79 cents a pound during the summer, buy in bulk and then make a boatload of peach puree to freeze! Your baby will get the benefits of fresh fruit, and your wallet will get the benefit of buying in season.
Finally, freezing your homemade baby food can help you control quantity and minimize waste. Each frozen cube of puree is approximately 1 oz. of food, so it’s easy for you to know exactly how much your baby is eating. What’s more, having small, frozen cubes of food allows you to minimize the chances of leftover, wasted food at the end of a meal.
As with pureeing, having the right food storage utensils is important if you plan to make your baby’s food yourself.
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