Once we have enjoyed (and stressed!) over coming up with meal ideas, and then home cooked baby’s meals, we often overlook the details of how we are going to store the food. As busy parents, we want to store it in the most convenient, but sanitary, way. During the weaning period of my children, I homemade by the batch for at least 6 mealtimes, and I tried various methods and products to meet my needs.
My needs being that:
1. I didn’t want it to take up half of my freezer
2. I wanted to be able to get to the food without fighting with the container
3. I needed it to still be nutritious for my baby when served up on their plate.
So here are some of the pros and cons I experienced with the Baby Food Storage options that are on the market today.
Ice Cube Trays
Ice cube trays have had this second use for a long time now. Most mums I know have tried this method. You should fully sanitize the ice cube tray, fill each cube with food, and then cover with a cellophane wrap or sandwich bags to pop into the freezer.
Pros: Each cube in an Ice Cube Tray is approximately 1 ounce so it can give you a good idea of how much your little one is consuming as well as keeping waste to a bare minimum. Ice cube trays are small and take up little room in your freezer, so you can prepare by the batch. The best thing is that you’ve probably already got some Ice Cube Trays in your kitchen just waiting to be used, and once they’re frozen, remove from the tray and keep in the freezer in a freezer bag so you can reuse the ice cube tray.
Cons: Just like those pesky little ice cubes, baby food won’t just ‘pop’ out like you’d hope. There’s a lot of whacking on surfaces and warm water involved when trying to remove your precious homemade baby food. The size of the cubes also didn’t really satisfy me, my baby would want more than a couple of cubes worth. Knowing exact portions is easier.
I also found that muffin tins and mini-muffin tins worked similarly to ice cube trays- a little easier to remove, but a lot noisier!
Plastic Freezer Bags
After cooking the food, you can spoon multiple portions into a freezer bag, most recommended are the gallon sized freezer bags, to then pop into the freezer.
Pros: Freezer bags are disposable, cheap and much easier to label! It’s a lot more reassuring when you can tell for sure the name of the meal and the date you froze it. They don’t take up too much room and you can freeze large batches at once.
Cons: Again, the removal of the food is almost painful. It’s always a funny shape from being cramped in the freezer, and you have to literally hammer off the amount you want to heat up, so it’s hard to guess the portion size.
Line the sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spoon little mounds of purée onto the sheet then pop it into the freezer. Once the food is frozen you can transfer them into a freezer bag to store.
Pros: You can easily tell when placing the purée onto the sheet how much food each mound is. So for example, my baby would eat three of the spooned lumps of frozen food.
Cons: When first freezing, this takes up a lot of freezer room because you want the sheet to stay balanced and not get squished by bags of frozen vegetables. This stopped me from being able to freeze in batches. Also, some of the purées manage to sneak over to their neighbor and create a whole sheet of mush, which again creates the issue of breaking off the desired amount, which is difficult to measure.
When weaning my first born, I did extensive Internet research for weaning tips. One thing was for sure; food should never be frozen in glass containers. Glass can burst or fracture when frozen and can leave microscopic glass shards in the food. Not good for babies... or anyone for that matter. However, there are some glass jars specifically made to withstand heat and freezing.
Silicone Baby Food Freezer Tray By Tutti Bimbi
Our Silicone Baby Food Freezer Tray looks like a big, plastic ice cube tray. It’s made especially for what you’re trying to do- it conveniently and safely stores baby food. When we were struggling to find a simple solution for storing our little one’s meals, we created the Freezer Tray to tick all of our boxes.
Pros: Nine 2.5oz portions to use in each tray- perfect baby meal sizes! The plastic silicone it’s made from freezes nicely and is soft and flexible so it’s super easy to pop out the baby food- you can even heat the baby food in the tray. It’s also BpA, toxin and Phthalates free and bacteria resistant. The lid fits snug on top so I’ve not experienced any frozen spillages.
Cons: The Baby Food Freezer Trays take up a little bit more room than the ice cube trays, but the exact meal portions make it worth it and they stack really nicely in my freezer.