Freezing Baby Food – Tips and Precautions to Consider
It is an exciting time for a mother when she introduces solid foods to her baby. If your baby has turned 6 months of age and you are planning to introduce solids foods to him, we know you must be thoroughly prepared for it. When you introduce solid foods, your little one will consume it in small amounts and there will be leftovers every time if you cook more. This means, you will be required to make smaller batches of food every time you plan to feed your baby. But do you know that you can freeze baby food and save it for later use? If you make a few batches of homemade food for your baby and freeze it, you can save a lot of time involved in cooking. So, find out how you can freeze baby food.
How to Freeze Baby Food
Parents may have different reasons to opt for frozen food for their babies. Some parents may opt for this method due to time constraints, others may think of this resort because of monetary constraints. Well, whatever may be the reasons, if you are looking for ways of freezing food for your baby, here’s how you can do it:
1. Ice Cube Trays
One of the most common and widely used methods of freezing baby food is by using ice trays or freezer bags. These silicon trays and bags are very convenient to use. You can fill pureed vegetables, fruits, or other kinds of baby food in these trays, cover them with plastic wraps, and keep them in the freezer. Whenever your baby is hungry, you can pop out a cube and cook it in a microwave oven. It is a great way of freezing food as it occupies less space.
2. Single Serving Containers
Single serving containers are made with silicon, and all you have to do is to store the food in them and keep them in the freezer. Also, single-serving containers are microwave safe. The fruits that do not freeze completely like prunes and apricots can be stored in these containers.
3. Wax Paper and Cookie Sheet
You can also store baby food in a wax paper or cookie sheet. All you have to do is scoop out baby food on these sheets and keep them in the freezer bags until completely frozen. These sheets work well for storing the foods that do not solidify completely.
4. Baby Food Pouches
Baby food pouches are also a great option for freezing food for your little one. These pouches have a spout and cap. Most of these pouches are single-use pouches. However, there are multiple-use pouches available too. The pouches that come with attached spoons are very convenient to use. Furthermore, some baby food pouches are reusable and can prove to be very economical. However, baby food pouches cannot be thawed in a microwave.
5. Other Freezer-safe Containers
You can use any freezer-safe containers that you have in your kitchen to store food for your baby. Freezing baby food in the containers that are already available at home will obviously be economical for you as you won’t have to buy anything new.
For How Long Can You Keep Baby Food in the Freezer?
Take a look at the following points to know for how long you can freeze food for your baby:
- Cooked fruit purees for 6 to 8 months.
- Cooked vegetable purees for 6 to 8 months.
- Poultry for 6 to 8 months.
- Soups and sauces for 3 months.
- Oily fish for 3 to 4 months.
How to Defrost Frozen Food
Before you feed frozen food to your baby, it is important to defrost it. However, it is not recommended to defrost any kind of frozen food at room temperature because the food may come in contact with the bacteria. Ideally, you should take out the required amount of food from the freezer and place it in the fridge compartment. For example, take out a few cubes from the freezer and let them defrost in the refrigerator in the afternoon only.
Do not leave the food uncovered and make sure you place the cubes in an airtight container. Another way of defrosting frozen food is by placing it is a glass bowl and immersing that glass bowl (double boiler) in another bowl filled with hot water. This way you can defrost the frozen food in half an hour. You can also heat the food in a double boiler directly on the stove or in the microwave to speed up the defrosting process.
Foods That You Should Not Freeze
Here are some food items that you should not freeze:
- Hard-boiled eggs or eggs in shells.
- Fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumber, lettuce, etc.
- Sauces or spread that contain egg.
- Leafy herbs such as chives, basil, etc.
- Dairy products such as cottage cheese, plain yoghurt, etc.
Tips to Follow while Freezing Baby Food
Here are some safety tips that you should follow while freezing food for your little one:
- Clean and wash the vegetables, fruits, and other food items thoroughly before cooking them.
- Do not overcook the food that you plan to freeze as it may lose its vitamins and minerals.
- Mention the date on the food batches before freezing and do not use the food beyond the expiry date.
- Do not freeze any thawed or leftover food that your baby didn’t consume as it may get contaminated.
Can You Reheat Frozen Food for Your Baby?
Yes, you can and you should reheat frozen food before giving it to your baby. However, the following are some points or dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind:
- Reheat only the amount of food that you think your baby will be able to consume.
- Reheat the frozen food until its piping hot and allow it cool before you feed it to your baby.
- Use the reheated food within a few hours of heating it or on the same day.
- Do not reheat the food if it has been heated once as the food might lose its nutrients. Reheating certain kinds of food can change the chemical composition of the foods and give you food poisoning. Examples include mushrooms, chicken, potatoes, and eggs.
Can You Use Glass Jars to Freeze Baby Food?
No, glass jars should not be used to freeze baby food because food expands as it freezes and glass containers can break when this happens. It is best to use silicon containers to store food for your little one. There are freezer-safe glass jars available too that you can use.
You should give fresh food to your baby. But if due to any constraint you have to give frozen food to your baby, we hope the points mentioned above will help you freeze baby food in the best possible way. If you wish to feed frozen food to your munchkin, it is important that you keep in mind all the necessary measures to ensure that the food is cooked, frozen, and fed in the best possible way to your baby.