Useful Tips On How To Thaw Frozen Baby Food
One of the most exciting milestones for your little one’s development is when she is finally ready for solid foods. As a loving mother, you would want to give the best kind of baby food. This means that you will have to prepare your own baby food since they are higher in nutrients and also taste better.
To do it properly, you will need to master the ins-and-outs of handling and storing baby food. One of the most important tips you need to know is how to thaw frozen baby food.
Why You Need To Start Making Your Own Baby Food?
Before I take you through on how you can thaw frozen baby food, let’s first look at why you need to start making your own baby food:
Homemade Baby Food Taste Better
Your baby will be happy at how great her food will taste if it is made by you. The good thing with making your baby’s food on your own is that you can be a little creative and add spices and herbs to enhance their tastes. On the other hand, commercial foods don’t taste that great.
You Will Be Introducing Healthy Eating Habits To Your Baby
If you introduce homemade baby foods from the start, your baby will start to love non-processed foods as she will be introduced to fresh flavours the more you prepare her food.
Homemade Baby Food Makes It Easier For Transition To Table Food
Since your baby will be used to the taste of fresh homemade foods, when the time comes for her to start eating table food like the rest of the family, it will be very easy. This will also increase the chances of your baby being a better eater due to the many flavours she would have explored.
Freezing Your Baby’s Food
To store your baby food for longer, you will need to freeze it. You can put the pureed baby food in the cube tray before putting it in the freezer. Freezing the baby food in cubes ensures that that they can last long.
When using a freezer, the food can be stored for 3 to 6 months. However, it is recommended by food safety authorities that your baby’s food should only be stored for a maximum of 3 months. If you are using a refrigerator, then the baby food can only be stored for 48 hours.
Here are the advantages of freezing baby food using ice cube trays.
- Since each cube is approximately 1 ounce, it will be easy to estimate the amount of food that your baby is consuming.
- You will minimise food wastage since you will only use one cube at a time as compared to when you are using commercial foods.
Apart from using ice cube trays to freeze food, you can also use freezer bags. When using freezer bags, ensure that you label the bag with the date you prepared the food and the type of food. This will help you keep track of how long the food has been frozen and what type of food it is so you won’t have to guess. When freezing breast milk, you can use breast milk storage bags.
Handling baby food requires thorough cleanliness since freezing does not kill bacteria but only retards their growth. The food should also be frozen as soon as possible after you are done with the preparations so that you can avoid bacterial contamination.
Thawing frozen baby food
It is feeding time, and now you need to take out the frozen baby food so you can thaw and heat it. Food should be thawed before you heat it so that it keeps its original texture and flavour. Thawing also ensures that the food heats evenly and retains its nutrients. Here are the various methods you can use to thaw frozen baby food:
Thawing in the refrigerator
This method of thawing frozen food is the easiest. All you have to do is to simply take the food out from the freezer and into the refrigerator until it is thawed out. This method ensures that the food thaws out very slowly hence maintaining the taste, texture and the nutrients.
The main disadvantage of this method is that the food can take up to 12 hours to thaw correctly, but you can overcome it by planning ahead.
Thawing in cold water
This method involves removing the food from the freezer and putting it in a watertight bag that you then submerge under cold water. Hot water should not be used as it may encourage the growth of bacteria on the outer layer. Frozen food will thaw out faster using this method as compared to the time it will take if you thaw in a refrigerator.
Using a microwave
Only microwaves that have the defrost settings should be used to thaw frozen baby foods. You can put the frozen baby food inside the microwave and heat it for a minute at a time. Ensure that you use a microwave safe container. This method is the quickest and is good for you if time is a commodity that you don’t have in plenty.
However, this method can cause uneven thawing hence you will need to heat the food immediately after thawing.
How long you should keep thawed baby food in the refrigerator
Thawed baby food should be safely kept for a maximum of 72 hours in the refrigerator. The food should also be kept in sealed containers to avoid contamination that may lead to food poisoning.You should avoid using the room temperature to thaw frozen baby food by leaving out the food on the kitchen counter. Although this method may be faster than thawing in a refrigerator, it creates a perfect environment for bacterial growth. You should also know that thawed baby food should never be refrozen.
Heating baby food after thawing
Once the food has thawed out, you need to heat it before you feed it to your baby. There are several methods you can use to heat your baby’s food depending on what method is the most convenient for you. However, since babies don’t understand what patience means, most parents usually choose the fastest heating method to cut down on the waiting time.
When using the microwave to heat baby food, you should observe the following safety precautions.
- The food container should be safe to be used in the microwave. Using various types of plastic containers can lead to potentially harmful chemicals leaching into the baby’s food. Even when using microwave-safe plastic wraps, you should ensure that it does not come into direct contact with your baby’s food as it heats.
- Never wrap baby food using aluminium foil if it is bound for the microwave.
- Ensure that you heat the baby food until it is steaming hot. Ensure that the temperature is not lower than 165° Fahrenheit.
Although heating baby food using the microwave is safe if all the precautions are observed, some parents may still prefer not to use it since alarming statements have always been made about the safety of using microwaves. There are other methods that you can also use to heat baby food that includes steaming and using electric warmers.
Here are food safety tips that you need to keep in mind after heating the baby’s food:
- You need to heat baby food to at least 60° to 100° C.
- After heating baby food, it should be served within two hours after sitting at room temperatures. Leftovers should not be stored as they can easily lead to food poisoning due to contamination.
- Food thawed at temperatures of more than 5°C should be heated and fed to the baby immediately.
We hope that these tips on how to store baby food and how to thaw frozen baby food will be useful to you. You can, therefore, go ahead and introduce your baby to homemade baby food. You can make all types of food for your baby from cereals, fruits, vegetables and even meat purees.