Prepping your baby’s food can be a timely task, and proper storage is essential. We have the secret to storing baby food the right way - trays and containers.
Storing baby food requires the best materials and the proper strategy. The most effective and preferred method is to prepare food in bulk and freeze the leftovers using trays for long-term storage. Foods will stay fresh for longer and store in servable portions to reduce your baby food prep times.
Contains used for storage should be freezer-safe, dishwasher-safe, leak-proof, and shatter-proof. This is the best way to keep your baby safe from accidents and properly clean and store foods in containers. Trays are the easiest method to freeze food, but containers and freezer bags are preferred for long-term storage.
We are constantly testing new products and methods to find the best way to store products like baby food. Try our recommendations out for yourself. Having the proper containers with an effective strategy will help you keep food fresh for longer.
Best Ways to Store Baby Food
Preparing homemade baby food is a process that relies heavily on a proper storage system. The effort required will go to waste if you don’t have an excellent plan to make the food last.
Remember, babies only eat a small amount of what you make at a time. When stored correctly, you can get the most usage possible while maintaining freshness in your food.
Baby food stored in freezer-friendly containers will last for a long time. When you make meals in large batches, the leftovers can be frozen and gradually used throughout the coming weeks and months.
Freezing foods is the best way to maintain freshness for long periods.
Popular methods for freezer storage include containers and ice trays to maximize the space in the freezer. If you don’t have either, a small freezer bag will do the trick too.
Do not refreeze baby food. If it has thawed out, avoid trying to freeze it again. It is safer just to throw away these leftovers instead.
Storing baby food in the fridge can be done with traditional air-tight, sealed containers. The shelf-life will vary depending on the type of food.
Foods that contain meat and chicken will last for one day. Fruits, vegetables, and grains will last for two to three days. Expect foods to last for a maximum of three days when stored properly.
To be safe, we recommend labeling foods with tape and a marker stating what food is in the container and the date it was packaged. This will help you to avoid serving the wrong (or expired!) baby food.
The convenient aspect of the refrigerator method is that there is no need to thaw out or defrost any food. Simply heat it, and it's ready.
How to Store Baby Food in the Freezer
- Set up your container or tray for use. We recommend using freezer-safe baby Tupperware and ice cube trays as a storage method.
- Start by filling each ice-cube slot (or container) with baby food. Do not overfill and leave enough room near the top.
- Cover your container or ice tray. It is recommended to cover the ice trays to give you more room for storage by stacking multiple on top. However, if you do not have a cover, it is not required.
- Label each bag, tray, or container with food information and date.
- Allow up to 6 hours for the food to become fully frozen. You can take them out of the tray afterward and place them into a container or freezer bag for long-term storage.
When stored correctly, freezer food can last for up to three months. Remember to seal bags and containers tightly and securely.
It is best to freeze foods as soon as possible. They have a short shelf-life in the fridge, and waiting too long could mean you are freezing already spoiled food.
Best Baby Food Storage Containers
Here are the four best baby food storage container types to experiment with within your own kitchen.
1. Plastic Containers
The amount of plastic containers available is nearly endless. As long as you have a set of freezer-safe containers, they will work to store baby food.
We recommend looking into buying baby Tupperware. They are smaller containers that can fit smaller servings, so defrosting and serving is much easier.
2. Freezer Trays
Ice cube trays are the most accessible and most efficient tool to use. For every single tray, you can freeze 12 servings. Impossible to beat that! You can also separate the servings before freezing to make it easier to thaw out when needed.
There are alternative tray types to use. A creative option is a mini-muffin tray or simply a traditional baking sheet. Both can be filled with baby food and covered. After freezing, simply move them into a bag or container for long-term storage.
3. Freezer Bags
Freezer bags are easy to use and hold a large portion of food. Simply pop the frozen cubed into the bags for storage and label it with a permanent marker.
We recommend squeezing the bag before sealing to eliminate some of the air inside the bag. This helps for easier storage and fresher foods.
Freezer-safe jars are another way to store baby food effectively. If you forget and use a jar that isn't freezer friendly, they will crack, and you will be in trouble.
Jars seal tightly and make for a good option when the right product is purchased. We recommend the wide mouth Ball Mason jars for a secure seal and optimal storage space.
Homemade Baby Food vs. Store Bought Baby Food
Store-Bought Baby Food
Store-bought baby food is more expensive and typically comes in sealed jars. They can be stored in your pantry at room temperature until they are used.
Of course, it is a more convenient option with such a straightforward preparation process.
The negative is that once opened, it must all be used or thrown away. There is no realistic way to store it afterward and keep it fresh.
However, parents like to make their own because they have more control over what they feed their babies. Ingredients are predetermined, and the presence of preservatives exists in many brands.
Homemade Baby Food
Homemade baby food is the less expensive, more creative option for your baby. It gives parents more control over the ingredients they are feeding their child with the full assurance it is healthy for them.
Storage and preparation are the negatives and require more time. Keeping foods fresh is also a difficult task. Fortunately, there is plenty of food storage equipment and options to make it work.
How Long Does Baby Food Last?
Stored in the Freezer:
- Homemade food lasts for 1-6 months in the freezer when sealed correctly.
- Food nutrients begin to deteriorate after three months.
Stored in the Refrigerator:
- Food lasts up to 48 hours in an airtight, sealed container.
Stored in the Pantry
- It lasts up to 2 years when left sealed and unopened in the jar.
- When opened, food lasts for 1-3 days.
Other Tips to Store Baby Food
- Use Multiple Storage Methods
Using more than one method is best. Food can last up to 48 hours, so defrosting multiple servings at once is a smart and efficient way to keep future meals ready.
- Label the Frozen Foods
Always label every bag or container in the freezer. Include the type of food and the date it was placed in the freezer for future reference. Use masking tape and write with a permanent marker, and put it on the side of the bag or container.
- Only Use Freezer-Safe and Dishwasher-Safe Products
There is no use in buying products that cannot be used in the freezer or dishwasher. Everything we use needs to be frozen or heated up. Shop accordingly.
- All Baby Food Containers Should be Airtight, Unbreakable, and Leakproof
Look for durable containers that guarantee an airtight close. Also, we don’t recommend glass containers because they can break or leak much easier. It is best only to use plastic around your baby.
- Thaw Out Food in the Fridge
The night before, you can take out the number of cubes needed from the freezer and place them into a plastic container in the fridge to thaw out. It takes about 12 hours for them to defrost thoroughly. They will be ready to go first thing in the morning for breakfast.
As a parent, we can only recommend you do what fits your budget and schedule best. We believe homemade food stored in the freezer is the overall best choice, but it may not be the best for you.
Another option is to do both. Many parents will have store-bought baby food on hand and make homemade baby food when they can.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker