Making your own baby food is a great way to ensure you know exactly what your child is eating—you know all of the ingredients and where they came from. You can also easily control the nutritional value of the food without having to take someone else’s word for it. With today’s baby food sharing the same problems that affect our own—namely the liberal use of additives, preservatives, and the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup—it’s nice to have the option of taking back control.
The downside, of course, is that modern parents have serious demands on their time. Work, looking after children, paying bills, and countless other tasks fill up your day, leaving little time left over for cooking. Where do you get the time to cook for baby every day, when you barely have time to get enough sleep?
Why should I freeze baby food?
Just as making dinners or lunches for use throughout the week can save a lot of time, so too can preparing a large amount of baby food and freezing it for future use. Did you know a vacuum sealer can store liquids, like baby food? Find out more Find out more about vacuum sealers here. You can also use an ice cube tray for this purpose.
Besides the obvious time savings, there are other advantages to freezing baby food in an ice cube tray. Most cube molds are just over an ounce, so measuring out the food when it’s time to defrost could hardly be easier. The fact that each cube can be used individually also means less waste than typically encountered when using commercial foods.
Ice cube trays are also versatile in that the trays can be emptied into freezer bags. You can make a new batch and start to build up a collection in your freezer to try and start a rotation system. This gives you the ability to add a healthy variety to your child’s diet throughout the week. Just be sure to date and describe the cubes once they go into the bag, to avoid causing yourself confusion (and probably waste) later.
How long can I keep baby food in the freezer?
Like any other frozen food, baby food stored in the freezer will not keep forever. Six months is about the maximum. Ideally, you should aim to use it within one month. This will help keep the nutritional level high, because food gradually loses quality and freshness the longer it is in the freezer. This is particularly true of purees with a high water content. The water will crystallize during freezing and some vitamins and minerals will leach out upon thawing.
Many people ask about the quality of pre-frozen fruits and vegetables, and whether or not they are suitable to use in homemade baby food. While fresh is always best, the fruits and vegetables you find in your local supermarket are frozen in a very different way than you freeze food at home. Supermarket suppliers use liquid nitrogen to freeze produce almost instantly. Therefore, there’s no time for ice crystals to form within the cells.
Are you are someone who often finds old fruit in your fridge that you never got around to using? It may be best to go the pre-frozen route. At least you’ll know it is as free from microbes as possible.
What is the best ice cube tray for baby food?
The Tovolo Ice Cube Tray certainly has its advantages. Iit is soft and flexible so removing the cubes is very easy, and an ounce of baby food fits easily into the deep slots. The problem with this model is that it absorbs the other smells within your freezer, depositing them into your baby’s food. After two months in the freezer it is quite noticeable. This is not a problem for individuals who keep their freezer immaculate, and the Tovolo does get great reviews, but it is worth being aware of this potential issue.
The Rubbermaid Ice Tray is the best when it it comes to freezing baby food and ticks all the right boxes. It contains no BPA (commonly found in plastic products and linked with health problems in child brain development) and is silicon-free, so smell absorption is not a concern. It’s stackable, durable, and the cubes are very easy to remove. The clincher is that the slots are designed with baby food in mind and are exactly one ounce, thus taking out any guesswork during filling.
When it comes to ice cube trays for freezing baby food, Rubbermaid is at top of the class—earning a big, shiny gold star from me. There are tons of ice cube trays available out there, but this model bests them all. Pick one up, grab your blender or favorite food processor, and start your little one on real food as early as possible!