I love to make my own baby food for our 18 months old. I don’t own any orchard, not even a vegetable garden. But I do have my favorite fresh grocer I go to where I can buy fruits and vegetables by bulk and enjoy good discount. I allot one good day to make an assortment of baby food using these fresh produce. In the long run, this method saves us money and best of all, I am sure that our baby gets the healthiest and safest baby food there is.
Why do you need to preserve your homemade baby food in the refrigerator?
When I buy bulk fresh produce, I have to make baby food out of them before they rot. So I boil, broil and puree it. Although after this process the food is already cooked, it is still prone to getting spoiled if just left on the countertop.
So where do you store it? In the refrigerator, of course. Specifically in the freezer area. Or if you have a stand-alone freezer, it will do a better job:
- Since the inside of the refrigerator is cold, it slows down the decomposition of the food;
- The temperature also slows down molds and fungi that rot food;
- Storing it in the ref also keeps it away from bugs, insects and pests.
Here are a few tips when preparing baby food:
- Avoid using salt and sugar. Use spices instead, like cinnamon. Babies as young as 7 months old are safe to consume that, but it is best to get your pediatrician’s go signal. Some babies may have allergies;
- Use fruits or vegetables that the rest of the family is eating. For example, if the older kids and adults are having potato salad, let baby have his own potato – but mashed instead;
- If I have a lot of one kind of fruit, I peel, clean and cook all of them but I only puree half. The rest I still store in the refrigerator but not pureed yet.
What are the best methods to store homemade baby food in the refrigerator?
The fruits and vegetables have been clean, cooked and pureed. You are ready to put it in the refrigerator for storage. But what containers do you use? Let us see the different options:
Method 1: Use Baby Food Storage Containers
There are two kinds of food storage containers that may be used for your baby food. One is made from glass, and the other is plastic.
Glass jars are easily available. After cooking and pureeing your baby food, you can spoon it into the jar. The usual size is 4 oz.
The other kind, made of plastic, is similar to use, except that is made of high-grade plastic meant for freezer, and can even be used to re-heat baby food in the microwave.
- You can store the baby food good for one serving only;
- From the freezer, it can be conveniently heated by placing in a bowl of hot water, or in the microwave for the plastic containers;
- Glass protects the food from being contaminated by other smells and flavors inside the refrigerator or freezer.
- Some jars are not meant for freezer use. It might crack or burst, and small bits may be in your baby food without you knowing;
- Jars take up so much space in the refrigerator / freezer. Even more do plastic containers as they are usually bigger than jars at 6 oz. smallest size;
- Plastic containers absorb the smell and color of the food it contains.
- Check your jars when you purchase and verify if it is labeled safe for freezing. There is a specific well-known brand of jars that has 4 oz. sizes fit for baby food. This famous brand’s glass containers are fit for freezer use;
- Old baby food jars used for commercial baby foods are not safe for freezing either so don’t recycle it;
- Don’t refrigerate the jars while the contents are still hot. It has to cool down first at room temperature. As soon as it is not hot, refrigerate or freeze. Don’t let it stay in room temperature for too long.
Method 2: Use Ice Cubes Trays
Puree the baby food. Pour it into an ice cube tray. Cover the tray with a cling wrap or use branded trays that come with lids. Don’t use foil as it easily breaks and may get mixed with the baby food. Put the ice cube tray into the freezer. Once frozen, remove the baby food cubes and transfer into freezer bags. Label contents and date of preparation. Then you put in the freezer for longer storage.
- The baby food come in small cubes, which is approximately 1 ounce;
- No food wasted because of this small size portioning;
- It is a two-step process that can take some time;
- It also requires more materials – ice tray, freezer bags.
- Don’t put too many ice cubes in one freezer bag. 4-6 is a good number. If there’s too many, you will be removing the bag from the freezer more often. Constant change in temperature is not advisable for frozen food. It is prone to spoil;
- Just get enough cubes that your child can finish. Half-finished baby food is not to be re-frozen at all. To heat, place in microwavable container and warm it.
Method 3: Use Ziploc Storage Bags
After making baby food puree, spoon it directly into Ziploc storage bags. Let it cool down if it is hot. After which, put in the freezer.
- It will not occupy so much space in the freezer or refrigerator compared to the jars.
- Since it was frozen in a lump form, and while still soft, much of the baby food will stick to the plastic;
- Baby food will be wasted as it would be difficult to remove from the plastic;
- Ziploc storage bags come in sizes: quarts, gallon and 2 gallons. The quart size would still be a big serving to consume in just one sitting;
- If you don’t completely fill the quart bag, it would be too much waste of a bag;
- Ziploc storage bags are not freezer friendly. Ziploc specifically has freezer bags.
- Freezer bags are made of thicker material than storage bags. Instead of getting storage bags, get freezer bags instead. The best part that freezer bags come in pint size, which is smaller than the smallest size of storage bags. I recommend buying high quality bags from reputable brands like Foodsaver.
- To heat it, place in bowl of hot water.
- For easier dispersal of the baby food in the bag, instead of opening the zipper and spooning it out, I cut a small hole on the bottom and squeeze out the baby food.
Why mothers need a food vacuum sealer?
The best possible method of storing baby food is method no 2 – freezing it in ice cube trays and then transferring the frozen baby food into bags. However, for best results, instead of just freezing the bags as is, we are going to vacuum seal it.
Below are the practical benefits of food vacuum sealer machine:
- Baby food is protected from spoilage because of the airtight vacuum seal;
- The freshness and the nutrients of the baby food are locked in;
- It will also prevent freezer burn from settling on your baby food;
- Removing the oxygen from the plastic bag will preserve it for a longer time because bacteria cannot thrive in an oxygen-free environment;
- Vacuum sealed bags also are smaller than ordinary packages so you are able to save more space in the refrigerator.
You have saved money because of bulk buying the fruits and vegetables. In making your own baby food, you ensure that your baby gets top quality, nutritious and safe food. When you vacuum seal it before storage, you seal in the goodness and preserve the food up to five times more. It also makes it easy for you to just grab a prepared food when baby is hungry, and if you need to travel.
Besides ensuring the quality of food for the baby, we also need to find out and choose the best items for our baby to have fun and go to bed every day. Refer to one of the best items at Baby Kid Center