10 Baby Food Options You Can Freeze
One of the things that take up a lot of parents’ time is feeding our children. Between peeling, removing seeds, chopping, blending, or boiling, it seems like there’s never enough time. That’s why baby food options that you can freeze are such a great idea.
Freezing is an excellent way of preserving food. You just have to select the right foods and follow some tips to preserve the nutrients, flavor, and texture of what you prepare.
Things you need to freeze baby food
Before freezing baby food you should make a list of the things you’ll need. This will help you to keep your freezer organized for maximum freshness. According to Mercedes Piquera, most foods retain their original characteristics, nutritional value, flavor, and aroma after defrosting.
Adhesive tape and a permanent marker
Some foods that you prepare will have a similar color–carrot puree and peach jam, for example–and this can be confusing. That’s why you need to identify each container with the name of what’s in it and the date you prepared it.
Ice cube trays
Ice cube trays are the easiest way to freeze baby food because they can hold small portions. Flexible ice cube trays are more malleable than solid ones when it comes to taking portions out of the freezer.
If you don’t have these trays, you can use small plastic containers that are easy to handle when defrosting.
Muffin pans to freeze baby food
Muffin pans work a lot like ice cube trays. Once the baby food has frozen, you can transfer it to a plastic freezer bag or a plastic container with a lid.
Cookie baking trays
You can also use cookie trays if you want to freeze baby food by covering it with wax or parchment paper. Spoon the puree onto the surface, or use a bag with one corner cut out to press out small portions.
According to Professor Roberto Massini, all frozen food needs to be protected from freezer burn. This can stain, damage, or dehydrate the food.
Freezer bags are an excellent option to protect small portions of frozen food. You can use large bags to preserve larger amounts. And of course, don’t forget to label the bag with the name of the food and the date of preparation.
So what foods can you freeze?
A team of chemical engineers has explained that during slow freezing, large, sharp ice crystals form. These can break down the structure of some foods, so it’s a good idea to mash or puree them before freezing.
1. Pumpkin is a great option to freeze baby food
You can use any variety of squash, such as acorn or winter squash. The magazine Perspectives in Human Nutrition recommends these because they’re rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. In addition, babies like their sweet taste.
Just wash, peel, cut into pieces and then boil for 5 to 8 minutes. Afterward, drain the water off and then mash into a puree, manually or with a food processor.
2. Beef, chicken, and fish
These are the main sources of protein for infants. They need to be cooked in vegetable broth until tender. Then mash them, adding a little olive oil, to turn them into a puree.
3. Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries
Dr. Garzón explains that these fruits are rich in anthocyanins, a bioactive pigment known for the antioxidant effect it has on the body. They also contain vitamin C and fiber that help prevent constipation.
You can blend them fresh and freeze them directly, or cook them for 10 minutes first. Cooking concentrates the sugars and gives the puree a sweeter taste. Remember to wash them well before blending.
According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, peaches are high in potassium, vitamin C, carotenoids, and antioxidants. They also contain natural aroma and flavor substances called coumarins.
After washing, peeling, and removing the seed, chop them up and grind them in a food processor. Cook for about 15 minutes with a little water, to help extract the natural sugars. Let the puree rest at room temperature, then pack and freeze it.
5. Beets and carrots
Two root vegetables that babies can begin to eat early on are beets and carrots. Their sweetness usually makes them a favorite of the youngest members of the family.
Carrots contain beta carotenes that are converted into vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. Professor Luis Leiva has talked about the nutritional benefits of beets. They contain sugars, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, and antioxidants.
You should boil them with the skin on to avoid the loss of phytochemicals and nutrients that dissolve in the water. Once tender, peel and mash them. After they cool you can store them in the freezer.
6. Sweet potato is a good option to freeze baby food
Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable that’s rich in starch, sugars, and carotenoids. They have a similar appearance and texture as potatoes and are ideal for preparing purees.
Wash, peel, and chop into small pieces. Then boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Let them cool and then mash before putting them in the freezer.
7. Beans, lentils, and green beans
Legumes are essential in a child’s early diet. These beans are a source of vegetable protein, starch, and fiber. They’re also rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and B complex vitamins.
Cooking time for legumes tends to vary depending on whether they’re soft or not. It’s a good idea to soak dry beans for about 8 hours before cooking to soften them. Lentils soften in 15 to 20 minutes, without soaking.
Once they’re soft, put them into your food processor to turn them into purees. You can mix them with a little garlic or onion to accentuate their flavor. They keep for a long time in the freezer.
Baby corn is an excellent choice for grinding and freezing. This cereal has a good amount of water, fiber, proteins, and sugars. You should soak it for 6 hours to eliminate the husk that covers it, which is difficult for babies to chew.
Then cook for about 45 minutes and leave to rest. Afterward, mix it in a blender with a little olive oil and some of the cooking water. The paste that forms should be strained before freezing.
Zucchini is an easily digestible vegetable and its mild flavor makes it another favorite among the smallest members of the household. It has a lot of water and fiber.
After washing, cut into pieces and sautée in garlic, onion, and leek. You can mix it with carrot and sweet potato if you’d like. Then blend, and it’s ready to be frozen.
10. Cauliflower and broccoli are great to freeze baby food
Cauliflower and broccoli belong to the same family of cruciferous vegetables. According to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, broccoli contains vitamin A, K, folates, and vitamin C. Professor Nicolás Pedreros highlights cauliflower as a source of bioactive compounds.
You can soften them by steaming them for 5 minutes. Then mash and let cool at room temperature before freezing.
Read also: Tips and Recommendations to Freeze Broccoli
Foods that don’t freeze well
Not all foods are suitable for freezing. Some of them take on an unpleasant brown color or become very watery and lose flavor.
- Kiwi fruit
Tips on how to freeze baby food
Here are some tips for freezing safely without affecting the nutritional value:
- Containers: they should be secure and tightly sealed so that there are no gaps. They should be disinfected and washed carefully. If possible, sterilize them with hot water. In addition, make sure you write the date and name of the food.
- Leave adequate space when packing: frozen foods increase in volume. For that reason, don’t fill whatever recipient you use to the top. Food might spill out during the freezing process.
- Cooking purees: foods should be boiled properly so that the puree doesn’t have lumps. Don’t add salt, and make sure the puree is cold before freezing. You can add a teaspoon of oil.
Baby food is safer, cheaper, and more nutritious when made at home. Freezing mashed food or purees means you don’t have to go to the effort of preparing it daily.It might interest you...