How to Store Homemade Baby Food Like a ProThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
It’s easy to make and store homemade baby food. In this post I provide an in-depth guide with everything you need to know about how to store homemade baby food like a pro!
What Is The Difference Between Homemade Baby Food And Store Bought?
When you make your own homemade baby food you know exactly what you’re putting into your baby’s food. The cost of making your own baby food is much less than buying store bought. You can also create your own baby food blends depending on your child’s likes, dislikes, and nutritional needs.
Store bought baby food is more convenient. There is no prep or storing necessary. Unlike homemade baby food, you don’t have to worry about storage. Jarred food will keep in the pantry until opened. It’s also easy to bring with you when you are on the go.
However store bought baby food costs more. You end up with quite a bit of waste, because of packaging. There are also a variety of preservatives added to baby food that may not be healthy for your child. Some store bought baby foods contain contaminants like heavy metals.
For more information about contaminants in baby food pouches check out my post, The Best Baby Food Pouches.
Is Store Bought Baby Food As Good As Homemade?
In my opinion store bought baby food is not as good as homemade for afew reasons:
- Potential heavy metal contamination found in many brands
- Store bought baby food tends to be very fruit forward and therefore much higher in sugar (some baby food pouches can contain up to 17-20 grams of sugar – as much as a Snicker’s candy bar!)
- Store bought baby food is more expensive than homemade baby food.
What Baby Food Can I Make At Home?
You can make virtually anything into baby food recipes at home. You can make the meals that you are cooking for yourself, into baby food by simply pureeing the food. For older babies, you can just leave the foods soft and mashed so they’re chunkier in texture.
- Pureed vegetables
- Pureed fruits
- Combination of fruits and vegetables
- Grains, pastas, and cereals
- Combinations of vegetables, grains, or fruits
- Soups or stews
What Baby Foods Cannot Be Made At Home?
You can virtually anything into baby food, however, there are certain ingredients you cannot add to your child’s baby food.
- Salt: Do not add salt to your child’s baby food. Salt is not good for babies’ kidneys (this applies to babies under the age of 1). In addition, foods or spices that contain a high amount of salt, should also be excluded. Some of these foods include bacon, sausage, high salt crackers, crisps, or chips.
- Sugar: Babies do not need sugar. Avoid adding any foods that are high in sugar. This includes high sugar fruits, syrups (like maple syrup, agave, etc), and fruit juices.
- Honey: Avoid adding honey to your baby’s food. Honey contains bacteria that contain toxins that can cause infant botulism.
- Nuts and Peanuts in Whole Form: Introducing nuts is a tricky process because your baby may have allergies. But it is especially important not to feed your baby whole nuts as they are a choking hazard. When you feel like you are ready to introduce nuts, work closely with your pediatrician to get guidance on the best time to introduce it to your baby as well as how much to introduce at one time. And make sure you are using a nut powder, puff or paste (vs. the whole nut).
- Cheese: Babies should not eat soft cheeses or mold-ripened cheeses such as brie, or blue cheese. Soft cheeses have a high risk of containing listeria.
- Eggs: Avoid raw eggs, or eggs that are not fully cooked.
- Large Fish: Large fish such as swordfish, marlin, tuna, shark contain high amounts of mercury.
In addition to this, there are certain whole foods you shouldn’t give babies under 1 year old. Here is the list of 10 whole foods to avoid for babies.
Does Homemade Baby Food Need To Be Organic?
While baby food does not need to be organic, it is better to make your baby food using organic ingredients. Organic foods do not contain hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic pesticides that have potentially harmful acute and chronic effects, especially for children and babies that are more susceptible to their harmful effects. Organic baby food is better to make for your child.
My Go-To Homemade Baby Food Recipes
My top 10 easy go-to homemade baby food recipes include vegetable purees, low sugar fruit purees, and vegetable and fruit combinations.
How Much Baby Food Should I Make?
I recommend making large batch of baby food, and storing the leftovers in the freezer.
This will make feeding baby a variety of foods each day without having to make a variety of batches of different purees.
How to Store, Freeze & Thaw Homemade Baby Food Purees
When preparing baby food there are a few things to consider when storing.
Do you want to use the puree right away?
Do you want to freeze some of the puree to use later?
How do you thaw frozen baby food?
How long does the baby food last when frozen or when in the refrigerator?
What is the best way to store homemade baby food?
I recommend storing baby food in individual servings. That’s why using the baby food trays or ice cube trays is a great option. Each cube is one serving (which equals one ounce of food). So that way you do not need to defrost more food than your baby can eat at a time.
What You’ll Need to Store Your Baby Food
I recommend freezing your homemade baby food in ice cube trays for storage. I love these Mumi & Bubi Trays because they come with airtight lids and hold a ton of baby food!
I freeze the baby food in these trays. Once they are frozen, I pop out the puree cubes, and transfer them to an airtight freezer safe zip-top bag.
Other ice cube trays that are simple to use for baby food storage include:
- Wee Spout Baby Food Silicone Trays
- OXO Tot 2-Piece Baby Food Trays with Covers
- 1 oz Portion Silicone Baby Food Tray
Baby Food Storage Ideas Without An Ice Cube Tray
WeeSprout Glass Baby Food Containers are another option. They are 4 oz jars that can be placed in the freezer, and are also dishwasher, and microwave safe.
If you prefer storing your baby food in pouches, the Infantino Squeeze Station is a great option. These BPA free pouches make taking homemade baby food on the go easy! They’re dishwasher safe.
How Long Can You Store Homemade Baby Food In The Freezer And Refrigerator?
Baby Food Stored in the Freezer:
Homemade baby food stored in the freezer will last for 3-6 months. The food retains its nutrient quality best if eaten within 3 months.
The baby food will still be good for 6 months, but may lose some of its nutritional value.
Baby Food Stored in the Refrigerator:
If you are storing your baby food in the refrigerator use it within 48 hours. If you are transferring frozen baby food to the refrigerator, it will take about 12 hours to thaw, once thawed use within 48 hours.
How Long Does Homemade Baby Food Last At Room Temperature?
Baby food left at room temperature is good for up to 2 hours. If the room is very warm, over 90 degrees, the baby food will only be good for up to an hour.
However, if you transfer the food to the refrigerator it will last for up to 48 hours.
How To Freeze And Store Baby Food In The Freezer
Step 1: Prepare your fresh baby food puree.
Step 2: Scoop the puree into clean ice cube trays. You can use trays that are specifically made for baby food as mentioned above, or just use a clean and sanitized ice tray. The silicone trays make it easier to cover and seal while in the freezer, and pop out of the trays.
Step 3: Transfer the frozen cubes of baby food to a freezer safe container such as a a freezer safe zip-top bag. Make sure all air is out of the bag.
Step 4: Clearly label the bag with the contents and the date. Use within 3 months for best results.
Is It Safe To Freeze Baby Food In Zip-Loc Bags?
It is safe to freeze baby food cubes in zip-loc bags that are made for the freezer. Be sure to push out all air from the bags, so that you do not end up with freezer burn.
Does Freezing Baby Food Lose Nutrients?
No, freezing baby food does not cause the food to lose nutrients, as long as you are using it within 3 months.
If you defrost it after three months but before 6 months, the baby food will lose some nutrients, although it will still be safe to eat.
How To Thaw Baby Food
When defrosting baby food be sure to use within 48 hours, or throw out if you do not use all of it within that time.
Refrigerator: Transfer your frozen baby food serving to the refrigerator. Take the number of servings you desire to defrost, place in a serving bowl for each one, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. It takes about 12 hours for the baby food to thaw completely.
Warm water bath: Place your baby food serving in a water proof zip-top bag. Place the sealed bag in a warm water bath. Replace the warm water if needed. Then transfer to a serving bowl.
Microwave: Place the baby food cubes in a microwave safe dish. Use the defrost setting to thaw the cubes. Stirring in between. Make sure the food is cool for baby before serving.
How Long Is Frozen Baby Food Good For Once Thawed?
Once thawed frozen baby food must be eaten within 48 hours.
Is It Okay To Heat Baby Food In The Microwave?
Yes, it is okay to defrost baby food in the microwave. I recommend using the defrost setting so that the baby food doesn’t cook or get too hot.
Be sure to test the temperature of the food before serving it to your baby so that it doesn’t burn their mouth.
When it comes to storing homemade baby food purees the process is pretty simple and once you get the hang of it you’ll be cranking out nutritious homemade food for your little one like a pro!