Do you know what baby food you can freeze? We give you the options to vary the food of your little one and save preparation time.
One of the occupations that most absorbs us as parents is feeding children. Between peeling, removing seeds, cutting, blending or boiling, time is running out. That's why you have to look for baby food options that you can freeze.
Freezing is an excellent option for preserving food. You just have to select the correct foods and follow some tips that allow you to maintain the nutrients, flavor and good texture of the preparations.
Materials needed to freeze baby food
Before you freeze baby food, you should make a list of the necessary materials. This will keep order in the freezer with maximum freshness. According to Mercedes Piquera, when food is thawed, it is faithful to its original characteristics, its nutritional and sensory value.
Masking tape and permanent marker
Sometimes we can be confused with some preparations that have a similar color. For example, a carrot puree and a peach jam. That is why it is necessary to identify each container, placing the name of the preparation and the date of preparation.
Ice cube tray
The easiest way to freeze baby food, due to its small portions, is ice cube trays. Flexible ones are more malleable than solid ones when removed from the freezer.
If you don't have these trays, you can use small plastic containers, so that you can handle them better when defrosting.
The molds for muffins work like ice cube trays. Once the baby food is frozen it can be transferred to a plastic freezer bag or a plastic container with a lid.
Cookie Baking Trays
You can also use the cookie trays if you want to freeze baby food, covering with wax paper or parchment. Scoop the puree on top with a spoon or corner bag to empty small portions.
According to Professor Roberto Massini, All frozen food must be protected from cold burn. This can stain, damage, or dehydrate the food.
The freezer bag is an excellent option to protect small portions of food once frozen. You can use large bags to keep enough of it. In addition, you must label with the name of the food and the date of preparation.
What foods can be frozen?
A team of chemical engineers explains that large, pointed ice crystals form during slow freezing. These can break down the structure of some foods and that is why it is recommended to freeze them as porridges or purees.
Any variety of squash can be used, such as acorn or winter squash. The magazine Perspectives in Human Nutrition highlights it for being rich in beta-carotene precursors of vitamin A. Its sweet taste attracts the little ones.
You should wash it, peel it, chop it and boil it for 5 to 8 minutes. Then you let it drain and process it into a puree form, manually or with a food processor.
Read also: How to freeze pumpkin: tips and tricks
2. Beef, chicken, and fish
Meats are the main sources of protein for babies. These should be cooked in vegetable broth until tender. Then they are crushed, adding olive oil, to turn them into a puree.
3. Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries
Dr. Garzón highlights these fruits as rich in anthocyanins, a bioactive pigment with a recognized antioxidant effect in the body. In addition, they also contain vitamin C and fiber to prevent constipation.
You can process them fresh before freezing or, once blended, cook them for 10 minutes. Cooking will concentrate the sugars and give an attractive sweet taste to the preparation. Remember that you must wash them well before processing.
The Spanish Nutrition Foundation highlights peaches for their contribution of potassium, vitamin C, carotenoids and antioxidants. It also contains natural odor and flavor substances called coumarins.
After washing, peeling and removing the seed, it is chopped and crushed in a processor. It is cooked for about 15 minutes with a little water, to help extract its natural sugars. Let it rest at room temperature, pack it and freeze it.
5. Beetroot and carrot
Two roots of early inclusion in baby food are beets and carrots. Their sweet taste makes them preferred among others for the smallest of the house.
The carrot contains beta carotenes that are converted into vitamin A, fiber and potassium. Professor Luis Leiva comments on the nutritional benefits of beets. It contains sugars, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, and antioxidants.
They are boiled with the skin to avoid the loss of phytochemicals and nutrients that dissolve in water. Once tender, the skin is removed and they are pureed. When cooling they are stored in the freezer.
6. Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a root rich in starch, sugars and carotenoids. Its appearance and texture similar to potatoes makes it ideal for preparing purees.
It is washed, the skin is removed and it is cut into small pieces. Then it is boiled for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Let it cool and puree before placing it in the freezer.
7. Beans, lentils, and green beans
Legumes cannot be missing in the initial feeding of our children. These grains are a source of vegetable protein, starch and fiber. They are also rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
The cooking time of legumes tends to vary depending on whether they are tender or not. It is advisable to soak the dried beans for about 8 hours before cooking, to facilitate softening. Lentils soften for 15 to 20 minutes, without the need for soaking.
Once soft, they are passed to the 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 a great option for shredding and freezing. It is a cereal with a good amount of water, fiber, proteins and sugars. It is recommended to soak it for 6 hours to eliminate the shell that covers it, which is difficult for babies to chew.
It is then cooked for about 45 minutes and left to rest. It is crushed in a blender, adding olive oil and cooking water. A cream is obtained that must be strained before freezing.
Zucchini is an easily digestible vegetable and its mild flavor makes it one of the favorites of the little ones in the house. It contains a good amount of water and fiber.
It is cut into pieces after washing and sautéed in garlic, onion and leek. It can be combined with carrot and sweet potato. Then everything is taken to a blender and is ready to freeze.
10. Cauliflower and broccoli
Cauliflower and broccoli belong to the same cruciferous family. According to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, broccoli contains vitamins A, K, folates and vitamin C. Professor Nicolás Pedreros highlights cauliflower as a source of bioactive compounds.
It is recommended to steam them for 5 minutes. Then crush and allow to cool to room temperature before freezing.
Also read: Can broccoli be frozen? Tips and Recommendations
Foods that don't freeze well
Not all foods freeze well. Some of them turn an unpleasant brown color or become very watery and lose flavor.
A group of experts recommends adding a dash of lemon or steaming the food for 3 minutes to improve the color. Among them we find the following:
Tips for Freezing Baby Food
Here are some tips to obtain a safe freeze without altering the nutrients:
- Containers: they must be secure and airtight so that no grooves remain. They have to be disinfected and washed with care. If possible, sterilize with hot water. In addition, they must be identified with the date and name of the product.
- Leave adequate space when packing: frozen foods increase in volume. For that reason, they cannot be filled to the top. It could be spilled during the freezing process.
- Cooking the porridges: the food must be boiled in a suitable way so that the porridge or puree remains without lumps. Salt should not be added and the puree should be cold before freezing. You can add a teaspoon of oil.
Baby food is safer, cheaper and more nutritious when made at home. Reduce the effort of having to prepare it daily by freezing the purees and porridges in bulk.