When making your own baby food did you know that it can stored any time from a few hours to a few months? Depending on how long you want to keep the food for will determine whether to cool or freeze the food. If you want to keep the food stored for longer than 48hrs we recommend freezing your baby food.
How to Freeze Baby Food
Ideally you should freeze your baby food when it’s as fresh as possible. Once the puree is made give it time to cool down to room temperature.
Whilst you are making your baby food, ensure you have storage pots thoroughly cleaned and ready to use. A good wash in warm soapy water is sufficient, or you may want to sterilize the pots for extra hygiene.
Once cooled, spoon the baby food into the storage pots or tray. Don’t overfill as the food will expand as it freezes, making it likely to spill if too full. Use storage pots which will defrost small portions to prevent wasting food.
Lid & Label
Place any lids on firmly to protect the food from freezer burn or contamination from other freezer foods. Use a waterproof pen and label to note what food is in the pot and when it was made. This helps you to use the food before its ‘best before’ date.
The best part of the freezer to store the food is on the highest shelf, at the back, away from the sides. This will help the food to freeze quickly and evenly. It also prevent partial defrosting from temperature raises when the door is opened
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How Long to Freeze Baby Food
Times given are for a regular stand alone or fridge freezer. Reduce the times if you have a small compartment freezer within your fridge, or lengthen times for deep chest freezers.
- Vegetable purees, cooked: 6-8 months
- Fruit purees, cooked: 6-8 months
- Beef and lamb: 4-6 months
- Poultry: 4-6 months
- Ham, cooked: 1 to 2 months
- White fish (cod, haddock etc.): 6-8 months
- Oily fish (salmon, tuna etc.): 3-4 months
- Pasta, cooked: 1 month
- Soups and sauces: 3 months
- Bread: 2-3 months
Foods you should not freeze
- Low fat dairy (Cottage cheese, yoghurt)
- Watery fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, melon etc.)
Freezer Storage Containers
There are a few options available for storing your homemade baby food in the freezer. Each container has it pros and cons. Check out our reviews of our favourite weaning containers here.
Weaning pots are ideal for freezing large portions of baby food for older babies. We recommend buying BPA free or glass weaning pots, to ensure no chemical leak into your baby’s food when freezing or thawing it.
Weaning pots can be portable and carried around in a change bag. You can also feed straight from a weaning pot or use it as a mini snack bowl. This cuts down on washing up or buying additional storage containers. Weaning pots can take up a lot of room in your freezer, so we don’t recommend them if you’re limited for space. If you want to build a large supply of frozen baby meals we recommend using a slim line container.
These are refillable storage pouches you can fill with baby food and freeze. You fill them through the spout and seat with a twist lid. Weaning pouches are super portable and virtually leak proof. We recommend these for families who need the convenience of baby feeding whilst out and about.
The pouches store fairly flat in your freezer, and won’t take up a lot of room unless you build a huge stash of baby food. The downside to these bags is that you may need to big a special filler jug you pump the baby food into the pouch. They are also fairly difficult to clean as you can see inside the pouch, it’s best to soak in warm soapy water and rinse a few times.
This is the best storage option for freezing small portions for younger babies. Just like an ice cube tray with a lid, a weaning tray allows you to store around 1oz cubes at a time. You’ll cut down on waste by only defrosting what you need, which will save you money over time. You can keep as large supply of food by decanting any cubes into a large freezer bag and refilling the tray.
You can buy hard plastic or silicone baby trays which can be used for baking or creating frozen baby lollies.
Thawing Baby Food
The safest way to defrost you frozen baby food is to place it in the refrigerator the night before use. The food will need around 12hrs to defrost this way, but it’s the best method to maintain nutrients, even thawing and preventing bacteria growing.
If you don’t have 12 hrs, you can speed up the thawing by placing the food in a watertight container and running it under water. Start with a cool temperature and gradually increase to warmer until the food is thawed.
Some baby food makers have a thaw setting which allows you to defrost your frozen food in a hurry, if you have one of these machines, read the instruction to find out if it has this feature.
Warming Baby Food
It’s important to thaw your baby food before warming, as you will risk looking essential nutrients and fats.
Heat up you baby food by placing the thawed food in a watertight container and placing in a jug of boiling hot water. Leave the container for a few minutes and stir through. Baby food should always be heated until hot and allowed to cool before serving to baby.
You can also purchase an electronic food warmer to heat the food. Look for one with a timer so you can see to other tasks as you wait for the food to warm.
We do not recommend heating baby food in a microwave as it can create heat pockets which can scald your baby when heating. Microwaving food can also destroy essential vitamins and minerals.
Freezing Baby Food – FAQ
Mixing Fresh and Frozen
It’s safe to mix fresh baby food with frozen baby food, as long as the frozen food is fully thawed. If your fresh food is still hot, heat the thawed food and mix together well.
One you thaw and heat you food portion, do not keep leftover to serve later in the day. This puts you baby at great risk of food contamination. Heat only what you need for one meal at a time.
Cooked foods which have been frozen and thawed should not be refrozen. It’s best to try and store your baby food in small enough portions that you can defrost without having too many leftovers. We recommend 1-2oz portion sizes as you can add a few cubes together to make up bigger portion sizes for older babies.
You can refreeze frozen raw foods which have be cooked e.g. a raw frozen chicken breast cooked in a curry can be refrozen.
Does freezing ruin food?
Some food may lose a little nutritional value, texture or test when frozen, but it’s a very good preserving technique. The fresher the food is at the time of freezing, the more nutrients will be retained. Contrary to popular belief, freezing does not destroy bacteria, so it’s best to eat the frozen food as soon as possible, and always within the time limits recommended above.