Freezing glass baby food jars

Storing Baby Food | Happy Baby Organics

AndieM.Ed., RD, LDN, CLC, RYT-200

Read time: 6 minutes

  • How to store homemade baby food and store-bought pureed foods

  • How to thaw and re-heat pureed baby food

  • How to help prevent bacterial contamination of baby foods

Whether you buy baby food at the market or make it from scratch, it’s important to know how to store, prepare, and reheat your baby’s food correctly and safely. Store-bought baby food usually comes in a glass jar, plastic container, or pouch and usually does not require refrigeration or freezing before opening. These foods are manufactured to be shelf-stable, like any other pantry item (think beans, soups, or condiments). They can typically stay fresh on the shelf for 1 to 2 years, but always check expiration dates carefully.1

Baby food storage guidelines: 2
  • Pureed store-bought baby vegetables and fruits can stay in the refrigerator for up to 48 to 72 hours and in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

  • Pureed store-bought meat, poultry, or fish can be refrigerated for 24 hours after cooking and frozen for 1 to 2 months.

  • Homemade baby foods will keep for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator and for 1 to 2 months in the freezer.

Be sure to refrigerate freshly cooked baby food within 2 hours as bacteria will start to grow at room temperature after those 2 hours are up. Note that your refrigerator should be kept at, or below, 40 degrees F. Any warmer and illness-causing bacteria can thrive and quickly multiply.3

Want some tips on feeding your little one or on making baby food? The Happy Baby Experts are infant feeding specialists and here to help (for free!) with questions about starting solids and picky eating, as well as formula and breastfeeding. Chat now!

Can I feed baby directly from the jar or pouch?

If you feed your little one directly from the jar or pouch, all leftovers must be thrown out after the meal. Saliva from baby’s mouth gets back into the jar or pouch via the spoon, this introduces bacteria that can quickly multiply and contaminate the food. If you know baby won’t finish it all, spoon a serving in a separate bowl and feed from that. Then you can refrigerate the jar or pouch of remaining food for an upcoming meal!4

For more information, read: How Can I Make my own Pureed Baby Food?

How to warm refrigerated or shelf-stable foods and thaw frozen foods:
  • Microwave: Warm up store-bought food directly in its glass jar or transfer the food – including previously frozen purees – into a separate glass bowl (never heat up pureed food in a plastic container or pouch). Reduce the microwave to 50% power (or use the defrost feature) and then warm the puree in 15 second increments. 4 Check and stir the food thoroughly each time to ensure even heating and to eliminate any heat pockets that may burn your baby’s mouth.

  • Stovetop: Warm your baby’s store-bought food or thaw frozen baby food on the stovetop by placing the food in a small saucepan and warming on low heat until the puree is the same consistency and no longer frozen. To preserve the nutrients, heat only as much as is necessary.

  • Submersion Method: Thaw frozen baby food by placing the pureed cubes in a plastic bag and then inside a bowl filled with hot or warm water. This method allows for even warming but does take a little longer – figure about 10-20 minutes for the food to thaw fully. 5 Many parents also use the submersion method to thaw frozen breastmilk.

  • Refrigerator: Thaw frozen baby food simply by transferring it to the refrigerator. 5 This process will take 4-12 hours so plan ahead (transferring the food the night before it’s needed to allow thawing overnight is a good rule of thumb). Homemade frozen baby food that’s been thawed can safely stay in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Be sure to keep thawed baby food in a sealed container to avoid contamination.

  • DO NOT let baby food thaw for long periods of time on the counter at room temperature. This will allow bacteria to grow. 5

How to freeze baby food

Freeze purees in ice cube trays or on a cookie sheet

  • Sanitize or thoroughly clean standard ice cube trays before spooning the puree directly into each cubed section. You could also cover a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper and spoon small ‘mounds’ of puree onto the sheet to freeze.

  • Cover the tray with plastic wrap and place into the freezer.

  • Once the cubes or ‘mounds’ are solidly frozen, pop them out and store them in plastic freezer bags.

  • Label the bags with the type of baby food as well as the date. This allows you to use it before it expires. (Remember: store-bought fruits and veggies can be frozen for 6 to 8 months, while meats, poultry, and all home-made baby food can be frozen for 1 to 2 months).

  • When your baby is ready to eat, grab an individual portion of the cubes you want to use and thaw!

Ice cube trays are not only convenient, they are also incredibly helpful in portioning out homemade baby food. The cubes are roughly 1 ounce each, so you can easily measure the amount of food your baby is eating and thaw small portions at a time to reduce waste.

Do not freeze food in glass containers

Glass baby food jars (or any glass container) are not meant to be frozen. Frozen glass can burst or cause tiny fractures in the glass leaving behind microscopic shards that you may never see.Freeze baby food in safe “ok to freeze” plastic containers instead.

Consider a deep freezer if you want to store purees long-term

For best results, frozen foods should remain at a constant sub-zero temperature. A deep freezer is better equipped to handle this temperature control as opposed to your regular freezer, which may fluctuate with you opening and closing the door often.

Throw away leftover food that’s already been reheated

You cannot reheat (or re-freeze) baby food more than once, so once you’ve thawed a frozen puree, toss any leftovers. This rule also applies to breastmilk. So if you’re using breastmilk to thin out your homemade baby food purees, add the milk while it’s fresh!

Read more: Safe Storage of Pumped Breastmilk

You can also use formula too thin a puree. Do not freeze formula in its original can or bottle, but once mixed into a puree it’s ok to freeze. Freezing formula causes a separation of the fats from the liquid, which may negatively impact the texture and quality.6

Let’s Chat!

We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.

Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday through Friday, from 8am–6pm ET. Chat Now!

Read more about the experts that help write our content!

For more on this topic check out the following articles

How do I Choose Store Bought Baby Food?

Food Safety for Babies and Toddlers

Everything You Need to Know About How to Prepare and Store Infant Formula

Avoid Giving Your Child Too Much Sugar And Salt

How to Make and Freeze Baby Food in Jars

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February 11, 2014 Preserving Recipes, Recipes

Making your own baby food is great way to ensure your baby is eating the freshest locally grown fruits and vegetables. It is quite simple to do and before you know it you’ll have a freezer stocked with your local bounty.

Once your pediatrician has suggested it’s time to introduce solid foods, which is usually around 6 months of age, you’ll want to determine which foods to start with. Common first foods are carrots, apples and sweet potatoes. Here’s a list of suggested first foods. After your baby has been eating solid foods for a few months you may want to try introducing some other foods such as, broccoli, avocados and cauliflower.

Three basic ways to prepare baby food:

Certain produce tends to respond better to steaming, such as apples, pears broccoli, and plums. Put an inch or so of water in a pot, add in the produce, cover and steam until soft.

Utilizing your oven to roast is a good method for cooking carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets. Chop food into small/medium pieces, or roast whole in an oven at 325 degrees.

Foods like bananas & avocados are perfect in their raw state. Once ripe, just mash with a potato masher. For a smoother consistency you can puree with a blender or an immersion blender.

Here’s how to make a basic carrot puree for your baby

  • Rinse carrots in water.
  • There’s no need to peel carrots, especially if you are using organic carrots. The vast majority of the nutrients in carrots are contained in the peel! Find out more about whether or not to peel produce for your baby here.
  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Slice the carrots into strips.
  • Place the carrots in foil and wrap them up, creating a foil pocket for the carrots to cook in.
  • Place your foil pockets on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.
  • Cook until the carrots are soft. (45-50 minutes)
  • Place the cooked carrots into a large bowl and use a immersion blender to puree, add water as needed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a food processor or blender.
  • Once the puree is smooth spoon into 4 ounce jars, top with lids and freeze.
  • Here’s more recipes for carrot baby food.

Here’s how to make a basic broccoli puree for your baby

  • Rinse broccoli in water.
  • Cut broccoli florets into similar sizes.
  • Fill a medium pot with about an inch of water.
  • Add broccoli to pot and cover.
  • Simmer broccoli until soft and bright green. (5 minutes)
  • Add broccoli to a large bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree, add cooking liquid as needed.
  • Once puree is smooth spoon into 4 ounce jars, top with lids and freeze.
  • Here’s more recipes for broccoli baby food.


  • Do not overfill jars when freezing. Allow enough headspace for the expansion of your product. Read our post about how to freeze in jars for more important tips.
  • Do NOT try to microwave a frozen jar. Thaw jars in the fridge or on the counter, if you are able to monitor them.
  • Use jars that are appropriate for freezing food. Jars that do not have shoulders are the easiest because the contents can expand upward in the jar during freezing.
  • We recommend the 4 ounce Regular Mouth Tapered Jars, or Ball’s 4 ounce Quilted Crystal. However, you could also use our 2 or 4 ounce Straight-Sided Jars. We’ve pictured both the Tapered and Straight-Sided jar styles below.
  • If you’ve been blessed with multiples and wish to freeze in larger volumes to split after thawing, the 8 ounce Widemouth Jars would work well and they’d stack nicely in the freezer.

Pictured from left to right – 4oz Regular Mouth Tapered Jars 70G CT, 4oz Straight-Sided 58CT

Want to learn more about making your own baby food? Here’s a great resource for baby food recipes.

Freezing baby food: storage rules and terms

If you prepare baby food yourself, it can be time consuming. Freezing does not spoil the quality of products and saves time that can be spent communicating with the child.

Rules for freezing baby food

Refrain from storing avocados, bananas, melons and potatoes, they lose their taste and most likely the baby will refuse them. Use plastic containers or freezer bags that can withstand low temperatures, such as breast milk or ice cubes, for freezing. In the case of puree, ice containers are the most convenient option - small cells allow you to defrost exactly as much as you need and in the shortest time. Do not use glass jars for this purpose, they may not withstand low temperatures and crack. Microcracks are very difficult to notice, but glass that gets into the puree, even if it is very small, can seriously harm the child.

Freezer shelf life varies for different products:

  • vegetables and fruits, breast milk - five months
  • boiled fish and animal meat - three months
  • milk formula - not subject to freezing.

To avoid wasting nutrients, follow these guidelines:

  1. Freeze baby food as fresh as possible so as not to lose nutritional value.
  2. Before storing, baby food must be cooled to room temperature.
  3. When closing the container, try to make it as airtight as possible, this will prevent frostbite (dark spots on top). Frostbite does not spoil the taste, just remove these areas, do not worry, they do not harm the baby.
  4. Recommended storage temperature -18°C or lower.
  5. Defrosted baby food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  6. After defrosting, the leftovers must be disposed of.

Label containers with markers so you don't forget what was frozen. Indicate the name of the product (or what it consists of) and the date of freezing.

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- In freezer bags for fruits and vegetables

These bags are sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets. They are specially designed for freezing food, they are certified, so they do not release any substances into the products, they are strong enough and with a reliable latch so that they do not tear or open during storage (of course, if these are high-quality freezer bags). Since the daily portion of donor milk rarely exceeds 200 ml, so that it is not “lost” in the package, it is better to use packages of the minimum volume that are on sale.

- In clean baby food jars

If a mother buys industrial baby food for her child, sometimes a large stock of these jars accumulates in the house. They come with a well-closing lid, and the glass itself is inert and great for long-term storage. Jars must be thoroughly washed before use. Also, do not forget the old trick with a bursting frozen full jar, so you need to freeze the jars not completely filled so that milk, like any liquid, has a place to expand. Glass jars are also convenient because they are reusable. When the milk from the jar is eaten, it can be washed and reused to store the next portion. The disadvantage of jars is that they take up a lot of space in the freezer.

- In sterile test jars

Sterile test jars are available in pharmacies. They are small, they have a measuring scale in milliliters, which is convenient for determining the amount of milk in a jar. According to the terms of their intended use, it is assumed that such jars can be cooled and frozen, therefore they are made of inert plastic, which does not release anything when cooled and frozen. Such jars take up less space in the freezer than the previous ones, but still more than soft plastic bags.

- In ice packs

Although such packs are not convenient for everyone, some mothers adapt not to defrost the whole pack at once, but to carefully cut off a few cubes from it and defrost exactly a small portion, which is necessary for feeding. When using such bags, you need to pay special attention to their strength, as they are often made of very thin plastic, and they tear easily.

- In any strong bag or container intended for food storage

In principle, breast milk is the same food for the baby as the rest of our food, so any containers designed for cooling and freezing foodstuffs are suitable for storing it. It is only necessary not to forget about the general rules of hygiene.

- In sterile bags used by the food and biological industries to store samples

made of durable and inert plastic.

- In special bags for breast milk

Manufacturers of goods for children offer us this option. They are small, as a rule, with a marking in the form of a scale that allows you to determine the amount of milk in the bag. But these packages are of different quality even from the same manufacturer, and, despite their high cost, according to mothers, it happens that they are torn and opened during storage.

Learn more