Caring for a new little one comes with many questions and concerns. How should you dress your baby? What temperature should you keep your baby’s nursery? What baby food should you buy? Your questions are never-ending, but fortunately, there’s often more than one right answer.
For instance, many parents choose to make their own baby food and freeze it for later. This is a healthy and cost-effective way for parents to feed their little ones – as long as it’s done correctly. Here’s a guide on freezing baby food and how long you can safely keep it in the freezer.
Benefits of Homemade Baby Food
When you make your own baby food, you know exactly what you’re feeding your child. You can choose your own flavors and get your baby accustomed to what everyone else is eating – just in pureed form. You can also expect to save money over buying pre-packaged baby food.
The only downside to homemade baby food is that it has a short refrigerator lifespan of only 24 to 48 hours. Fortunately, storing baby food in the freezer solves this problem.
How to Freeze Baby Food
You have a few options for freezing baby food:
- Use ice trays: Spoon pureed baby food into clean ice cube trays, cover them with plastic, and stack them in the freezer. Ice cube trays are ideal for creating individual, 1-ounce servings so less food goes to waste. It’s also easy to twist and release the cubes when needed.
- Put frozen cubes in freezer bags: While you can store baby food long-term in ice cube trays, you can also dump them into freezer bags. This storage method frees up the trays to make your next batch. As long as the cubes remain thoroughly frozen, they won’t stick together in the bag.
- Freeze 4-ounce containers: You can find many kinds of 4-ounce containers specifically for freezing at a variety of stores, or online. Be sure to check to see if they are suitable for storing homemade baby food in the freezer before purchasing. For example, some brands of pre-packaged baby food jars are not manufactured to withstand freezing temperatures.
More Tips on Freezing Baby Food
Once you choose a freezer storage method, use these additional tips for the best results:
- Wash your ice cube trays or run them through the dishwasher before using them to store baby food.
- Label your trays or freezer bags with the type of food and the date.
- Don’t use previously frozen breast milk to thin pureed food, and then put it back in the freezer. The only time you should thaw and refreeze food is if you cook it in between.
- Don’t be concerned if you notice ice crystals forming on your frozen baby food. This is not freezer burn. The ice crystals aren’t dangerous and won’t make the cubes any less tasty or nutritious.
How Long Can You Freeze Baby Food?
You can store baby food in the freezer for up to six months. This may surprise you because most official guidelines on freezing fruits and vegetables say they will stay good for up to 12 months. However, this is only true of foods frozen in their whole, natural state. Ice crystals tend to build up on cooked, pureed baby food when stored in the freezer for longer than three months. Therefore, to ensure optimal taste and nutrient retention, we recommend using frozen baby food within one to three months.
Freezing baby food works best when your freezer is working right. This means it should remain at a constant subzero temperature and not have thick ice on the walls. The next time you need freezer maintenance or refrigerator repair, please contact Mr. Appliance®.