43 answers

How Long Does Homemade Baby Food Last?

Hello

I have decided that I will be preparing my son's baby food myself. My doctor suggested waiting on serving baby food until next month, but because of the person I am- I like to plan ahead. Having a little one doesn't leave you much time, so I'd like to start within the next week or so to at least have a supply ready. Do you think that making it now and freezing it will keep the nutritional value? Will it last a month?

PS I'm doing organic veggies first- not sure if that makes a difference. =)

Thanks in advance for your advice.

M.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great advice. I always knew that I wanted to serve him the freshest and most healthiest food from the beginning, so I already purchased the book Blender Baby Food and the Petit Appetit. With all the great advice I received I think I will start slow and make it and serve it to my little one at the freshest state. Most likely introducing avocado first, seems like the easiest. =) I was also lucky enough to be given a baby food grinder for Christmas, so I can't wait to use it! Thanks again.

My next book will be to buy Baby Blender- looks to be a top choice for most parents. =)

Featured Answers

I am a mother of 2 boys, ages 6 yr and 18 mo. I too made their baby food, and was very successful at it. I used a mini food chopper or Cuisinart and after the items were steamed, I would emulsify them with a little water. I would then freeze the item in ice cube trays, then pop them into a freezer bag labeled with the date and item. I used to store the cubes for a couple of months, but I ended up using what I froze quicker than it could stay in the freezer. But it was very convenient, tastier and less expensive, all you have to do is put 2-3 cubes in a bowl and microwave for a few seconds, and done!

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I am a mother of 2 boys, ages 6 yr and 18 mo. I too made their baby food, and was very successful at it. I used a mini food chopper or Cuisinart and after the items were steamed, I would emulsify them with a little water. I would then freeze the item in ice cube trays, then pop them into a freezer bag labeled with the date and item. I used to store the cubes for a couple of months, but I ended up using what I froze quicker than it could stay in the freezer. But it was very convenient, tastier and less expensive, all you have to do is put 2-3 cubes in a bowl and microwave for a few seconds, and done!

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I made my daughter's food when she was a baby and plan on doing the same for my son when the time comes. Here is a site that I refer to often:

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/pureestore.htm

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I'm with you on this one! I have a 4 yr-old, 2 1/2 yr-old and 17 month old who were all fed with homemade fruit and veggie purees! I learned that freezing orange-colored veggies (carrots, butternut squash) froze better (as in taste and color) better than than the green-colored veggies like broccoli, zucchini or green beans. Peas and spinach froze better though. Don't season them because it will compromise the taste and durability of its frozen state. I found that fruits that are pureed don't taste as well if you freeze them. They're better off refrigerated if you start pureeing them on a weekly basis. Also, if you like, when your son is older, you can introduce chicken or veggie stock instead of water when you puree the veggies for more flavor. If you buy veggies/fruits in its freshest state and freeze them immediately after pureeing, you will not lose much of its nutritional value. So, freezing them 3-4 weeks in advance will keep you well-prepared! Good luck!

P.S. I still puree butternut squash (freeze & store)and sneak them in their mac-n-cheese and pureed spinach in their brownies! They never know!

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I started making my daughter's food when she was ten months old. I was working so I would make big batches on the weekend and freeze it in ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes to ziplock bags. There is a great book called Homemade Baby Food Pure and Simple by Connie Linardakis and she gives this chart for the freezer shelf life of food: breastmilk- 1 year, vegetable and fruit purees- 4 months, purees with milk-2 months, purees with meat- 4 months. She recommends keeping your freezer at 0 degrees and never refreezing any thawed food. Foods that don't freeze well are bananas, avocados, eggs, tofu, soft cheeses and salad greens like cucumber and celery.
Good Luck!

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My daughter has been on solids for only a couple of weeks and I have made her food myself. Here's how easy it is: pick up some organic sweet potatoes. Wash them. Throw them in the oven for a while and do other stuff. At some point, when they're soft, take them out and let them cool. Do other stuff. Some time later, open them up, scoop out the insides and squish with a fork. Done. It seems silly to do that more than a day ahead of time, especially since fresh food is more nutritious than frozen. I do that with a big batch, then freeze most of it in cubes, leaving out enough for a few days, which is really a tiny amount for such little one.

You didn't say how old your little one is. Many doctors recommend starting solids earlier than most nutritionists believe is beneficial. According to my research, it's best not to start before 6 months and, actually, to wait longer if your baby seems okay.

I started my daughter a few days before she was seven months old. She likes it well enough, but isn't all that interested still. So she will clearly get a huge majority of her nutrition from breastmilk for a while yet, which is great.

Have fun!

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M.:

It is super easy to make baby food. I would recommend two books - Blender Baby Food by Nicole Young and Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. The first one is really basic and easy to use. The second one is a little more of a reference book and is much more detailed. I do the same as the other responder - I steam, bake, etc. whatever I'm making and then blend it and add water as nec and freeze it in ice cube trays (with covers) and then pop out and put in a Ziploc freezer bag.

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I am pretty sure you can have it in the freezer for about a month. I am going to be doing the same thing for my twin girls and purchased a great book called The Petit Appetit. It was written by a Bay Area mom and has fabulous ideas from just introducing foods all the way up into toddlerhood. And she really promotes organics as well!

Good luck!

K.

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Hi M.. Good for you -- and the baby! I also made made last 2 babies' food using an attchmt to my blender. I also froze their food (in zero sized Rubbermaid containers). It worked out really well! Personally, I'd hold out as long as possible to preserve as much nutrition as possible. :) If you haven't tried this before -- bake apples on a aluminum foil covered cookie sheet until soft (sides will start to droop), cool, peel, blend. Nothing but applesauce, and it couldn't get any easier! Have fun, and congrats! K.

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Basically..how long does any food in the fridge last before it gets moldy..a couple of days? You could probably freeze it (maybe even get an ice cube tray and fill it that way, tupperware makes one that is sealed)

Or...can i just tell you the best thing ever? The magic bullet blender thing. You can put your veggie in their raw, put a little water in, put the special top on it..steam it in the microwave..take the top off, put the blender blade on..turn it over, blend blend blend, remove blade...pour into bowl..cool..feed. You could easily make the night before or morning of.

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I have 8 mos old twins & make my own baby food. Two great resources are: the Super Baby Food book - lists what fruits/vegetables to introduce at what month, how to prepare & how long to freeze them using the Cube Method; the other is the website, www.wholesomebabyfood.com

General rule of thumb though, 1-2 months. Some fruits can be frozen longer, like pears can be frozen for up to a year.

Be careful with peas, green beans & squashes, you really need to make sure to get the skins and/or strings out of the puree because they are choking hazards.

My girls love the combination of avocado & banana! Making your own food also allows your child to try foods that are offered in store bought jars. We are doing kiwi now & they seem to really like it.

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Hi there,

I have a great book called Super Baby Food that tells you the frozen shelf lives of home made baby food as well at what age it is appropriate to feed the baby different foods. There are also recipes and home made craft projects as well. Many of my friends have purchased the book since it's such a great resource. If you can't purchase it, I wonder if the library has it.

Good Luck!

I second the Super Baby Food Book...EXCELLENT.

Hi Marisa,
It sounds like you have gotten great advice. I also used the super baby food book and would highly recommend it. Here are some things to consider.

Make sure the food is safe. Follow her directions for food safety. Keeping food in the fridge 3 days is probably max. Freezing food is absolutely acceptable (as long as the freezer doesn't defrost!). You can use a microwave (there actually might be times when your baby is so hungry, you can't wait). Always stir it and you can always use a little ice to cool it down. Use another spoon so you can taste it to test the temperature.

You should also consider using a wire mesh strainer to remove the fibers of fruits and veggies. Some babies can't tolerate that and will cough it up (look at the smooth consistency of jarred food). This is all in the book.

I would also suggest making your own rice cereal. My children were introduced to grains like quinoa, millet, and barley at an early age. They now are excellent eaters. It's always hard to tell what has had an effect but the introduction to a baby of good tasting, healthy food certainly can't hurt.

Lastly realize that every child is different. My son could only eat pureed food until he was almost 11 months old while my daughter could easily eat cheerios at 8 months. Take it one step at a time.

If you need someone to show you how to do any of this, I've started a home business called the Family Chef. This is one of my areas of expertise.

Good luck!
A.
____@____.com

I am not sure how long the food will last, but I can give you the best freezing container--an ice cube tray. When ready to feed the baby, place the cubes in clean baby food jars, heat in boiling water in a small pot, and then swirl it about, mixing the hot with the cold. Ready to eat in little time.The food cubes can also be stored in baggies,and you can put meat, veggie, fruit squares etc in the same bag if you wish, once they are frozen.

Hi! My M. is a baby RN and did this for us before it was popular. Every weekend, she'd pop everything into a blender, then pour into ice cube trays, wrap, freeze and then use 1-2 cubes as needed. Fresh bananas and cottage cheese mixed together was the side dish. Almost forgot to mention the baby food grinder... if you have the time to eat the same time as baby, this is a better method for feeding... (use frozen cubes when on the run). It's a small hand churning device that you can use for baby. Babies R Us and tons of other places carry them. When you sit down at meal time, take a little of your chicken (whatever) and veggies and grind them right there on the spot. The banana or something else wet can help the drier items with consistency, so go down easily. Upside to doing this (and I applaud you for the effort!!!) is no shelf-life preservatives and child becomes accustomed to your family food. Don't worry about a little spice, just don't go overboard. Your baby has already been introduced to your flavor choices, if you nursed.

I recommend looking at this website about baby food.
http://www.westonaprice.org/children/index.html

Congratulations! It is great that you are going to make your own baby food. It has much more nutritional value to help ensure that your childis getting off to the right start. I would recommend the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. I used this book and still refer to it often She has great recipes in the back and she tells you what foods are best to introduce at what age. It was a super helpful book. Good luck to you.

Dear Marisa,
Good for you! I did the same, and here is how I handled it.

I got one of those smaller, bowl-like blender attachments to use only for baby food, and rinsed it out thoroughly after each use.

I made pureed fruit and veggies once a week, then froze it in ice cube trays. When I needed something, I popped it into the
microwave for a short bit, added rice cereal or soy formula as my babies got a little older.

For teething times, I just gave them cooler puree, sometomes of like sorbet puree, soft but cold.

I cut up a day's worth of fresh fruit in the morning, such as peach, apple and some berries and stored them in the fridge with a bit of lemon juice. I always cut pears and banana on the spot.

For peas and carrots from the freezer, I thawed them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes then served them as is. For meats, I served chicken or pork from our plates, shredded or mashed with bit of carrot or potato.

Hope this helps!

I suggest the book "Superbaby Food". It is awesome and very detailed about everything you need to know about making your own babyfood. She uses organic food too, and offers lots of helpful timesaving and moneysaving tips. I think the author is Ruth Yaron. I am pretty sure she says that you can store frozen veggies for up to 2 months.

Hi Marisa, I too use to make my childrens baby food. When my husband and I made it, after making carrots, broccoli, etc. we use to put the baby food in ice trays and seal it in large ziploc bags, so when my son or daughter were hungry I would only take out 1 or 2 cubes and defrost. I'm not sure how long they would last, we just used 1 or 2 cubes of food everyday until we ran out. They were and still are very healthy and rarely get sick. They are 13 & 11, my how I miss those days. Have fun!

Both my girls refused to eat store bought baby food. All the information I gathered gave at least a 3mo time frame. If you are looking for a great resources "the super baby food" book is great. I steamed the veggies, food processed them and put them in ice cube trays. When they were frozen I transfered to big zip-loc bags and then could grab a cube or two for the meals during the day. It was so much cheaper then baby food.
A.

Marisa,

My kids are grown now but I remember little grinders made specifically to grind food for a baby. This allowed me to grind up food as needed, so my children ate what I was eating, and no making ahead at all. Don't know about you but I would rather eat cooked fresh vegetables than frozen, and can only assume the same would be true for my children. If I was going to add some spices I would put aside the cooked vegetables for the little one then add whatever. And it really was not alot of extra work, and I was a single M., working and in school - J. s.

Marisa,
Starting with veggies is a great idea - I've made my daughter's food from day one. We started with avocado, though, and didn't have to freeze it. But frozen homemade baby food usually lasts anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. A GREAT book that i love is Super Babyfood by Ruth Yaron. She gives a million different recipes and different techniques to introducing and saving the food.

Good luck! It's so rewarding knowing you're preparing his food with love :)

Hello Marisa:

I made all my son's food and it was great. Hold out on the carrots for awhile though, until your baby is about 9 months. There are some other veggies that should be waited on as well...some research will show you which ones. If you cannot find them, contact me and I will find my list.

At first, using an ice tray is a great way to freeze your baby food, but don't keep it for more than a month. If it is fresh, no more than two days in the fridge. If baby doesn't eat all the food, through it out...don't put it back in the fridge/freezer and reheat later. As baby gets older, you can use those little glad 4 oz containers...they work very nicely.

I also found that putting a little rice cereal in with the veggies gave a nice consistancy and mellowed the strong flavors a bit.

One of my son's favorites was cauliflower...suprisingly sweet actually.

Have fun...I know the temptation is to fill the freezer with about 15 different options of foods, but start out simple. You only want to introduce one thing at a time and wait a few days to make sure baby can tolerate.

FYI avoid the microwave. Heat things up by soaking the dish or bag in hot water. Or heat gently on the stove. Microwaves heat unevenly and even after you have stirred and stirred there can be hot areas that can burn baby's mouth.

The fresher the better, so don't make it too far ahead. Organic definitely makes a difference. In this country they refuse to label genetically modified foods, so organic is the most natural we can get to avoid pesticides, heavy metals, and otherwise tampered with foods.

One month is far too long to freeze if you want your baby to develop a taste for good food .Freezing definitely alters the taste of most foods without presevatives and you can assume the nutritional content will also be somewhat altered as well . Fresh food is fresh made daily is not so hard in small amounts , idid it and now my son ( 33 yrs ) is a great cook and doing it for his first son . xox

I would follow what doctors/pros say about freezing milk. If you have a deep freezer that's one thing. But a regular freezer, like 3 months, as long as you pack it properly for freezing. I did this for my baby. It works fine. You taste everything you thaw for the baby before serving it to eat of course. I simply saved empty baby food jars and have used them all along now for freezing sweet potatoes or homemade apple sauce, or carrots. I even made a rice/brocoli in the blender thingee. I make sure the lid is on tight as possible (which actually isnt that tight) so additionally place the jars into large ziplock freezer bags to keep the air out. My baby is now 19 months and I still do this! It helps alot to save time with meals and to provide some healthi snacks although freezing can take some of the nutrient value of the natural enzymes that fruits and vegetables might otherwise offer, its still better than store bought. Good Luck. And dont microwave in plastic containers. That was another reason I used the baby glass jars.

I've frozen food for myself for a month or so, so I believe you will be find. I made my daughter's baby food too. I understand you want to do organic but for me it was easier and less time consuming to do frozen veggies. I've heard "Next to fresh, frozen's the best". I would prepare her food for the week on Sundays. I'd boil greens beans, peas and carrots, and carrots, until softened but not mushy, and then blend them and store them in single serving labled containers in the freezer. I'd pack her diaper bag at night and put it(the food) in the fridge and it would be thawed by the morinig. My daughter didn't really take to green beans, so I added a low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) boullion cube to the water and she ate them just find. After about two months I began making pureed potatoes, with one chicken boullion cube in the water, and she liked those too. As far as fruits, I just bought the jarred foods because it was too time consuming to peel, cut, slice and then boil and puree. But good luck and have fun!

Obviously like our food, freshest is best. But I always made some that I used within a week or two. I would think if they are frozen properly they would follow the same principals as you would other foods. I had a friend who made a suggestion, get the large ice cube trays (look around, I haven't had them for 8 years now). I would make my food and divide it up into the ice trays. Once they froze I would break them into a ziplock bag and I had food at my disposal when I was ready.

Because it is early however, you may go through a lot of work and then the baby is not ready when you are.

Good luck.

i too prepared my own baby food. i had twins, but i still found that it was better for us to prepare the food either a day in advance or a few hours before it was to be eaten. i never froze their food because i wasn't sure how it would taste. i figured, if i wouldn't eat it, i didn't want them eating it. i used a magic bullet to grind everything and it worked great!!!

HI Marisa, I am in exactly your shoes right now. I think the ice cube tray is fine for the occasional meal, but in general freezing the food partially defeats the purpose of preparing fresh organic veggies. We really want to cook them as little as possible and serve them right away to maximize the living nutritional properties of the food.

A friend gifted me the book "super baby food" by ruth yaron it is GREAT!!!! different foods last different amounts of time but pretty much every thing will last at least a month usually longer. I think it is a great idea to get a head start and it is definatly a good idea to do organic if possible...I am making baby food for my twin girls and it is not very hard and a whole lot cheaper...the book is wonderful!!! Good luck!

I am not sure how long it will last. I made all my daughter's baby food, too. I good friend of mine suggested using ice cube trays. They worked out GREAT.

I bought three and put a different food in each one. After you fill the trays, cover it with Saran (sp?) wrap and stick tooth picks in each cube so that you can easily remove them. When Laney could eat meat, I would cook and grind up turkey meat and add it to the sweet potatoes, and or squash. She loved it.

Hi Marisa,
I used to make homemade baby food for my daughters, too. I'd cook them, puree them and freeze them. I always used the frozen stuff within 1 month to preserve freshness.
My daughters liked everything except for the tofu. I think the texture is what they disliked. It seemed a bit rubbery when I tasted it.
I froze them in ice cube trays. That way, I'd just take out a cube of veggies, and a cube of rice & fish for a complete meal!
Good luck to ya!

Probably about 3 months in the freezer. But the kind of things that work best don't always freeze well.
And the awful truth is that your baby might not like it. I wouldn't go too far until you know what he likes (and in my experience boys are pickiest).
Babies like and need stodge, rice, cereals etc, more than they require roughage (plant cellulose material) which they don't digest well until older.
I breast fed all 3 of my kids for around a year to ensure they got the best chance of the right vitamins and immune protection etc etc. To ensure the stomach bacteria was balanced too.
Oatmeal, white rice, bananas, stewed carrots apples and pears, mashed avocado. In most combinations. These served me well in the early days.
Breast milk is sweet so a little natural sweetness will help in the transition.
Don't use any cow milk products until solid food is the norm. Probably after the first 12 months. It stimulates mucus production and may exacerbate sinus and ear infections.
There's no need to put any strain on the digestive system by going to far too fast. Better to go slow.

Hi Marisa,

I also make my own organic goodies. I make a big batch of the food then put servings into ice cube trays and then freeze. The frozen cubes can be put in freezer bags for up to 2 months (that's the word I've gotten). It's a lot of prep time but worth the effort. Get a good food processor and you'll be set. I have not found peas or green beans to break down enough to be tasty or the right texture for my little guy and have to break down and buy the store bought organic versions. Good luck!

Hi Marisa,

Baby food will last 4 - 6 weeks in the freezer. It stays fresh about 3 days after you defrost it (it'll keep about a week if it is in the fridge but not previously frozen). The nutritional value will stay pretty much the same whether it is frozen or not. Basically you lose nutritional value when you reheat it (especially the microwave). Just heat it until it is warm and not hot for optimum nutrition. Serving veggies first is really a matter of preference. Just be sure to introduce one new food at a time with 3 - 5 days between new foods. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the veggie the more bitter the taste. The lighter the color the sweeter the taste. If you want to introduce less sweet stuff then do your dark greens first (spinach, green beans, peas (they're sort of sweet and lighter green), etc.). The exception to the rule is the white vegetables (turnips, parsnips, etc) they are usually a bit more bitter. It's great that you are making your own baby food. You'll find that it tastes better and you get the peace of mind knowing EXACTLY what is in your baby's food. Good luck!

One month is OK as long as you store it properly. Once he starts eating and you can get an idea of how much he consumes I would prepare his food one week in advance. I used to put my daughter in her highchair in the kitchen and let her watch me cut up, peel and blend the veggies. She loved it as she got older too!

Hi Marisa...When my children were that young I used the same time table as for frozen breast milk...you can find that online...different times for different freezers...and the cool suggestion I got was to make the food...quick freeze it in ice cube trays then store in freezer bags...they don't eat much in the beginning...Good Luck....T.

Really, homemade food only lasts up to 6 weeks in the freezer, so starting to make food next week may not be best. There are some great websites like http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ that can tell you how to prepare food and how best to store it. I also love the Superfoods book by Anabel Karmel. Enjoy this new step!

Dear Marisa,
I salute you!! What a wonderful way to introduce your baby to the world of food.
You know there is nothing like fresh but…… I so am with you on the getting a head start.
What I did when this was where my life was at was freeze in baby jar. You can use ice trays just for the freezing process and then transfer into freezer bags. I just had to think trice about the plastic ice trays going from the hot to cold and all that stuff. You can also can the baby food your self. There are canning jars available in something like 4oz. size. If you look at it practically, how long are those store bought baby foods on the shelf? I don’t know how fastidious you want to be but I think your doing a band up job! Try not to make your self to crazy. LOL
I hope this helps!

When I did this many years ago, I was told that 4 months in the freezer was about the maximum. I used ice cube trays to freeze the babyfood, which was great to maximize storage and also to have a consistent amount in each serving and have them all defrost in the microwave or hot water at the same rate

I made my own, it's not that hard, just dedicate a little time to doing it all at once. You need to cook everything really well and then puree either in a blender or cuisinart. It doesn't last long in the fridge, only 2-3 days, so pour the food into ice cube trays and freeze it. You can pop it out when frozen and transfer to Ziplock bags. Then when you want to serve it, you just put a cube in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds (make sure you heat it up in glass so you don't leach toxins from plastics). I highly recommend getting the "Super Baby Foods" book, it's super helpful in guiding you with what food they should be eating according to their age and how to prepare any veggie you can think of! Good luck!

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