Safe Storage of Homemade Baby Food

You’ve done it! Either you’ve made lots of purée, or you’ve started to consider your baby’s first foods. Here are a few final things to keep in mind, whether you’ve made a ton of food and need help with the leftovers, or are just starting out.

    You’ve made lots of purée, and your baby has eaten just 2 tablespoons of it. Freeze the rest. Fruit purées will typically last for two days in the refrigerator, and vegetable and meat purées a day, but all will last for a month in the freezer.

    The easiest way to freeze purées involves a lidded ice-cube tray: Each cube from a standard tray holds about an ounce, making it easy to parcel out portions as your baby’s appetite grows.

    Pour the purée into a tray and allow it to freeze. Then pop out the cubes into a resealable freezer bag for storage. Be sure to label the bag with the dish and the date you made it. Thaw a few cubes in the refrigerator or microwave, and serve the purée at room temperature.

    For day-to-day needs, a few 2- and 4-ounce containers work just fine. And for thinner purées, try reusable, freezable sippy pouches. These silicone pouches are typically four ounces, so introduce them as your baby’s appetite grows.


    Hygiene: Babies have weaker immune systems than adults, so break any bad kitchen hygiene habits before you start making baby food. Make sure everything is clean, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, meaning a vigorous 30-second scrub.

    Water: Tap water can vary from city to country and wells in between. We call for purified water for these recipes, and you should simmer purées the full amount of time indicated in the provided recipes.

    Allergies: Food allergies are top of mind for any new parent. Introduce ingredients one at a time, and ideally over a couple of days, so if your baby has a reaction, you’ll know what caused it. Your doctor will tell you what to look for: It can be anything from a mild rash to red spots, sneezing or wheezing. Common food allergens are eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, sesame seeds, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat.  Keep a list of what you have fed baby so you can look back and see what might be a problem.

    Food to Avoid: Honey and light and dark corn syrups have the risk of carrying a mild form of botulism. They can be introduced after 1 year. And avoid unpasteurized dairy, a.k.a. raw milk, which could carry salmonella, listeria or e.Coli. Similarly, be judicious when using salt. You want to teach baby to like truly natural foods.  Baby has not become used to sugar and salt.  Let her enjoy food this way.

    Non-Organic Produce: Pesticides can be found on many fruits and vegetables. It is better to buy organic when purchasing berries, stone fruits and vegetables whose skins you eat, like tomatoes and potatoes. Thicker-skinned fruits and vegetables like avocados and eggplant are less likely to have pesticide residue. For more information on dirty and clean foods, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

    And lastly, this process can seem daunting, but don’t stress. At the end of the day, your baby will grow big and strong whether or not you make all of their meals from scratch.

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