Cooking and freezing your baby’s food isn’t as time-consuming as it sounds.
We chat to Dani Silbermann, Mommy blogger, for her tips on how busy moms can cook and freeze their own baby food without spending hours in the kitchen:
- Buy all of the veggies you want your baby to eat. Where possible, opt for organic, but if you can’t, don’t stress.
- Wash, peel, prep.
- Don’t overcook your veggies as you’re going to kill your nutrients. Just cook until soft enough to blend.
Tip: At the bottom of the steamer, reserve the steamed veggie liquid in case you need it to thin the puree. You still get to add some of the lost nutrients during the steaming process back in this way.
- Purée the veggies or mash them. This depends on the stage at which your baby is eating (smooth vs textured). Use a stick blender if you don’t have an electric blender.
- Spoon into ice trays. Using a Ziplock bag with a hole cut into the corner, you could also pipe the puree, but this is just an extra step that really isn’t necessary. A spoon works just fine. To get rid of any air bubbles, tap the trays gently. Use wax paper to separate them, prevent freezer burn, and stack them on top of each other if your ice trays don’t have lids.
- To cool down the trays ASAP, make an ice bath. This step is essential! It would help if you cooled the trays down as fast as possible. As this is a breeding ground for bacteria, you shouldn’t let the food stand at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. To reduce the food’s temperature as quickly as possible, stand the trays in a basin of ice-cold water.
- Once frozen, pop the cubes out into neatly labeled, date-stamped Ziplock Freezer bags.
- To defrost: Defrosting at room temperature is not recommended. In a way that prevents bacterial growth, baby food should always be thawed.
Please do not leave your cubes in the ice trays, as each time you need one, it is a pain to pop them out individually. Run the trays under luke-hot water to loosen the cubes to get all the cubes out in one easy shot. Or with cool water, stand them in the sink. Don’t use hot water because it will begin to defrost the cubes.
If you do not have enough ice cube trays to do it all in one shot, you can freeze and cook in batches. To free up another tray for more cooking/freezing, you will transfer the frozen cubes to Ziplock bags.
Tips on Food Safety
- For up to 8 weeks, frozen baby food cubes can stay in the freezer.
- Do not store leftover food from a container that has been eaten by your baby. Saliva will contaminate the food, and food poisoning may be caused by storing leftovers. Throw it away if your baby leaves any food in his bowl after a meal.
- Never refreeze meals that have been frozen already. The exception is that once it has been cooked, raw frozen food can be returned to the freezer. Cooked frozen peas can, for instance, be re-frozen.
- Do not reheat more than once for food. The nutrients in the food are killed by repeated reheating. Constant heating and cooling, in some cases, results in faster food contamination and spoilage.
- The food can be kept in the fridge for up to 72 hours once thawed – ideally, less.