How long does pureed baby food last
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.1Baby 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
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.6Let’s Chat!
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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 Long Does Homemade Baby Food Last?
As your little one grows and develops, they will continue to reach new milestones along the way. One of the most memorable (and messy!) experiences you will have with your new baby is their introduction to baby food! Many parents prefer to make their child’s baby food at home, as opposed to purchasing pureed foods in-store.
Although the possibility may seem daunting, it can actually be quick and easy! Making homemade baby food also has tremendous benefits for your little one (and you)! Not only will your baby benefit from more variety and textures, fresh tasting food, and more nutrition, but you’ll be able to have more control over what your baby is eating and can easily keep track of the ratio of fruits and veggies their having.
Shopping trips are reduced, and buying fresh fruits and veggies in bulk to make your own baby food can produce more ounces of fresh purees than store-bought baby food jars can offer. However, without a printed expiration date on a jar, it is important to pay attention to how long homemade baby food lasts! Here are some guidelines for keeping your little one’s purees safe and fresh:Refrigerated - 48 Hours
If you are storing your homemade baby food in the refrigerator, freshly made baby food will last in the fridge up to 48 hours. However, if you store purees in individual containers for quick, single-use servings, this storage method can be a convenient option (as it will eliminate the need for defrosting or any other extra steps).
Be sure to write the date on the containers, to ensure that they are being thrown out after the 48-hour window closes! If you do not plan to freeze your homemade baby food, we would suggest that you make the puree on a day to day, or every other day, basis. Also, never feed your baby directly from the original storage container and then re-store. Saliva and other bacteria can contaminate the food if you do so.Frozen - 3 -6 Months
For optimal quality and nutrient retention, it is suggested to keep homemade baby food in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months. However, it is still safe for your baby to eat for up to 6 months. The ideal way to freeze homemade baby food is by using the Infantino Squeeze Station™.
The Squeeze Station makes the task of making homemade baby food even easier by offering an easy container for immediate use, or storage for later in the fridge or freezer. Convenience is key when you’re a mom on-the-go and the Squeeze Station is the perfect tool to help with all of your baby food needs.
Another way to store frozen baby food is to put your homemade baby food in ice cube trays covered in plastic wrap, and then pop them out into freezer Ziploc bags once frozen. Be sure to label with the type of food and the date it was made. This method can help to keep track of portioning because every ice cube sized frozen baby food puree is approximately one ounce, which helps you measure how much food your baby is actually eating! You can also defrost one cube at a time, which creates less waste than traditional baby-feeding methods.
Whether you choose to refrigerate or freeze your homemade purees, you may find it convenient to make your own baby food pouches and our Squeeze Station can help with just that. Homemade baby food pouches can be stored in the fridge or the freezer, and they follow the shelf life and freshness guidelines as homemade baby food that is stored in other containers. If baby food pouches seem like the best option for your family, whether at home or on-the-go, Infantino has some great products that can help!Squeeze Station™
You can make and store your own convenient food pouches with the Infantino Squeeze Station. It's quick and easy! Just pour in the purée and press down to fill. The non-skid base stays secure on your counter, and the soft press ensures a stable grip. Plus, the station is dishwasher safe, so clean up is simple! The Squeeze Station is perfect for homemade baby food and smoothies, as well as store-bought applesauce, yogurt, and purées. Your little one can enjoy the pouches right away, or you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer for later. These are perfect for making on-the-go feeding a breeze! The Squeeze Station also includes 10 Squeeze Pouches™.50-Pack Squeeze Pouches™
You can also purchase more squeeze pouches in packs of 50! Use the Fresh Squeezed® refill pack of pouches with the Squeeze Station™ to create homemade food pouches. The pack includes 50 food-safe, disposable pouches, and 50 kid-safe caps. Each pouch holds up to 4 ounces of food and features a clear window to see the food inside. The rear window also has a space to write dates, name, and the food type. All of the pouches are freezer safe and BPA, PVC, and phthalate free!Reusable Squeeze Pouch™
This environmentally friendly, reusable food pouch can also be used with homemade purees, smoothies, applesauce, yogurt and more. Use the screw top to pour in your child’s favorite snack. Perfect for The secure, screw top prevents leaks and messes. Plus, the Reusable Squeeze Pouch includes a handy clip for attaching to bags and strollers. This silicone pouch is easy to clean, dishwasher safe and BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
We hope that these freshness guidelines will help you along your homemade baby food journey, keeping your little ones healthy, happy, and safe!
How much and where to store baby food in jars?
Some manufacturers write detailed storage guidelines for sealed and unopened baby food right on the label. These rules must be observed, even if they differ from the rules for storing similar products from other manufacturers. If there is no detailed instruction, use the following recommendations.
Once again, we remind you that even unopened packaging must be stored in a dark, cool place. At temperatures above +25°C, products may deteriorate even in their original packaging.
Porridges for dilution:
- The main enemy of dry mixes and porridges is moisture. Therefore, always make sure that the spoon for the porridge set is absolutely dry, and the bag itself is tightly closed after use;
- Try to let out as much excess air as possible before closing, so that moisture from it is not absorbed into the product;
- Keep the opened bag of porridge in a dry place at room temperature. There is no need to store cereals in the refrigerator, they quickly become damp and spoil there;
- Ready diluted porridge can be stored for no more than an hour or two. An opened package can be stored for 2-3 weeks (see manufacturer's instructions). But if after a few days you notice that the powder has become damp, lumps are noticeable in it - throw it away. Even if the product looks normal, but was opened more than three weeks ago, it is dangerous to feed it to a child. You can use leftovers in adult homemade cakes.
Choose cereals for your baby
An unopened can can be stored at room temperature in a dark place. An opened jar of fruit and vegetable puree will live in the refrigerator for no more than a day, and only if you follow simple rules.
Select baby puree
Do not bottle feed your baby. Put the desired portion with a clean spoon into a separate container, close the jar with the rest and put it in the refrigerator. Reheat reserved food if needed. You don't need to heat the whole jar.
If you fed your baby directly from a jar, the shelf life of such puree is only a few hours even in the refrigerator, since the baby's saliva and bacteria got into the food on the spoon.
The shelf life of meat puree after opening is only 24 hours, subject to the same rules. If you bought puree in a metal package, be sure to transfer it to a clean, dry jar and close the lid. It is undesirable to store opened puree in its original packaging and it is recommended to use it immediately. Closed - store in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Same rules as for diluted cereals. In the process of cooking, the porridge is ground with a blender and rubbed through a sieve. At this time, microorganisms get into the porridge from the air, so you can’t store such porridge for a long time.
It is possible to increase the shelf life if the finished puree is poured into small sterilized containers, covered with cling film and immediately placed in the freezer. At -18°C, this puree can be stored for up to three months.
The finished product is stored in the refrigerator for no more than 6 hours, as bacteria have probably got into it during cooking. Do not freeze starchy puree (with potatoes, peas), as starch is destroyed during freezing.
Homemade fermented milk products
Made only from sterilized milk in a thermostat with sterility can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Mixed with fruits or juices, as well as additionally rubbed or otherwise in contact with air, they cannot be stored, they must be eaten immediately after preparation.
If the conditions for storing food for the baby are observed, his health will not be affected.
How long and how to store baby food
The type and quality of a child's nutrition in the first months and years of life determines his health and proper development. But getting quality products is only part of the story. It is important to know how much baby food can be stored so that its subsequent use is healthy and safe for the baby.
Breastfeeding is considered to be the best for a small child, but the mother cannot always be present, so it is necessary to store expressed breast milk in the refrigerator. It can then be reheated and used for feeding.
As the child grows, various milk porridges, fruit, vegetable, and then meat purees, etc. are gradually introduced into his diet. the quality and type of food consumed. Therefore, the question of how and where to store baby food in a family with babies should be paramount.
You should carefully study the manufacturer's recommendations on the rules for storing products of this type in a sealed bag and after opening it. And strictly adhere to them. It is necessary to observe the term and conditions of storage of baby food only according to the instructions on the package. It is necessary to adhere to the instructions even if it differs from the recommendations of other manufacturers of similar products.
If there is even a slight doubt about the quality of yogurt or vegetable puree, it is thrown away without much thought so as not to expose the baby to the danger of getting an eating disorder or, worse, serious poisoning.
Breast milk should be stored after expression in special sterile containers. It can be kept in bottles, cups, containers or plastic bags sold in pharmacies.
Breast milk containers must be graduated, sterile and easy to use. A sealed lid is a must.
The shelf life of breast milk after expression at +19°C to +22°C should not exceed 10 hours. At +22°С - +25°С this time is reduced to 4 - 6 hours.
At +25°C and above, breast milk can be stored for no longer than 2-3 hours.
In the main compartment of the refrigerator, you can leave the product for 24 hours, and if it is frozen - up to 3 - 4 months. At the same time, the freezer door should not be opened too often and for a long time.
Porridges for breeding
The shelf life of dry cereals and mixtures is quite long if the integrity of the package is not compromised. When products were purchased in cans, even after they have been opened, mixtures can be stored in their “native” packaging.
If dry mixes or cereals are packaged in bags or boxes, after they are opened, the contents are poured into another container. It is better if these are food containers with a tight-fitting lid.
How long baby food can be kept open depends on the conditions in which it is stored. Usually this period is 2 - 3 weeks. But if the product becomes damp or lumps form in it, it is better to throw it away immediately.
When the appearance of the porridge does not cause concern, but it is known that the package was opened more than 3 weeks ago, it is no longer possible to give it to the child. In extreme cases, it can be used in baking if it is intended for an adult.
Powdered infant formula should be stored at a low humidity level, protected from light. Dampness is the biggest enemy of such products. The measuring spoon for dosing the mixture should always be dry. And the packaging must be tightly sealed every time. At the same time, they try to squeeze out the remaining air from the bag so that the dry product does not absorb the moisture that is present in it.
Dry baby food should not be kept in the refrigerator as it will quickly become damp and spoil. After cooking porridge, it can be stored for 1 - 2 hours, no more.
Where to store baby food in jars
The storage temperature of baby puree in a closed jar should be up to +12°C, and after opening the container - +4°C.
If this product is not refrigerated, it will keep for up to 6 hours after opening the package at temperatures up to +20°C. And when the temperature rises - up to 4 hours.
Even a factory-sealed jar of juice or puree should be placed in a cool, dark place. The product will deteriorate before the warranty period if stored at +26°C or more.
Once opened, the puree can be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours, provided that it is not fed directly from the jar. Be sure to set aside the required amount in a cup with a clean spoon. The remaining mass is tightly closed with a lid and put on the shelf of the refrigerator. A serving of food that has been set aside is warmed up in a separate container, but do not heat the whole food jar .
If the baby is fed directly from the container containing the puree, its shelf life will be reduced to a few hours, even in the cold. This is due to the development of bacteria that enter the jar along with the child's saliva.
Baby meat puree can be stored in unsealed packaging for up to 1 day. Storage conditions are the same as for vegetable and fruit products. At the same time, it should be transferred from a metal jar to a dry, sterile glass container and tightly closed.
It is undesirable to leave meat products in the original jar after opening, even for a day. And in the form closed by the manufacturer, it is stored in accordance with the instructions.
Homemade cereals, purees and juices
This category of baby food products has the same storage rules as diluted cereals.
Cooked porridge is crushed with a blender until a homogeneous mass is obtained, and then rubbed through a sieve. During the cooking process, various microbes from the air enter it, so the shelf life of homemade porridge for a baby is very short. It is generally undesirable to store home-made food addressed to young children (maximum - 2 hours). Juice, vegetable or fruit puree will quickly become dark as a result of oxidation. Therefore, if the child did not eat something right away, the product should be thrown away, given to the most voracious adult family member, or frozen.
- Ready-made purees or juices are frozen in portions in small sterile containers with a tight-fitting lid or covered with cling film.
- Homemade puree can be frozen at -18°C and stored for up to 3 months.
- Cooked food can be kept on the refrigerator shelf for up to 6 hours.
- Do not freeze starchy purees (eg potatoes or peas). At negative temperatures, this substance will be destroyed.
Fermented milk products
Food prepared in a thermostat from sterilized milk is left in the cold for 3 days and stored in compliance with all standards.