Solid foods are generally introduced into an infant's diet between the ages of four and six months. A variety of pre-made baby food is available at supermarkets, and some parents choose to make their own baby food at home. Baby food storage is very important for both store-bought and homemade baby food to prevent the growth of bacteria, which can potentially cause illness. Store-bought food can typically be kept at room temperature before it is opened, but must be stored in a refrigerator afterward. Homemade baby food should be refrigerated, or frozen for later use.
Store-bought baby food is typically vacuum-sealed, which makes it safe to store at room temperature, in a pantry or cupboard, before it is opened. Most commercial baby food is stamped with a use-by date, so, when storing baby food, older containers should be closer to the front of the shelf so it is used on or before that date. After store-bought baby food is opened, any uneaten puree must be kept in the refrigerator for later use.
Homemade baby food usually consists of pureed or mashed foods made by an infant's caretaker. Many people choose to make large batches of baby food, and one of the easiest baby food storage ideas is to pour the food into ice cube trays and keep them in the freezer until frozen. The individual cubes of food can then be transferred to plastic bags designed for storing food in the freezer. Frozen baby food can generally be safely stored in this way for one to four months, depending on the ingredients used.
A refrigerator may be used for short-term baby food storage. Store-bought varieties can be stored in the original container with the lid tightly closed, while homemade food should be stored in an airtight container. Baby food should always be kept on one of the refrigerator shelves. The door of a refrigerator is not a safe place for baby food storage, due to the temperature fluctuations when the door is opened and closed.
Opened containers of any type of baby food may be saved in the refrigerator for only one to two days before it is no longer safe to be fed to an infant. The length of time depends on the ingredients of the baby food. Fruits and vegetables can generally be stored in a refrigerator for two days. Baby food consisting of meat, fish, or eggs, should only be stored in a refrigerator for one day. After that length of time has passed, leftovers should be discarded for safety reasons.