10 Rules for Preparing Homemade Baby Food

DIY'ing baby food can be quick, easy, and very satisfying. These tips and tricks will help you blend up wholesome purees safely and simply.

Homemade Baby Food Storage from Real Baby Food Lauren Volo
Homemade baby food is fresher, less-processed, and often less expensive than store-bought purees. So keep these guidelines in mind and get cooking! 

Related: A 101 in Making Your Own Baby Food

  1. Practice safe food handling practices. Always wash your hands before cooking and after handling raw meat, eggs, or poultry. Avoid cross contamination by thoroughly washing your cutting board and knife after chopping raw proteins.
  2. Before steaming, roasting, or poaching food, cut it into similarly-sized chunks so the pieces cook at about the same rate.
  3. Be careful when puréeing hot food in a blender. Let the food cool slightly, then remove the plastic insert from the blender top, and cover with a towel before blending. This will reduce the pressure inside of the blender and make it less likely that your kitchen ends up a spattered mess.
  4. Add water (or breast milk or formula) by the tablespoonful to the blender or food processor to help the purée blend smoothly. Scrape down the sides frequently.
  5. Store baby food in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to three months.
  6. Be sure to label containers of baby food, especially when freezing, with the name and date. I use masking tape and a permanent marker.
  7. Thaw baby food overnight in the refrigerator. Food for your baby should never sit at room temperature for longer than an hour.
  8. If you reheat food in the microwave, stir it thoroughly before serving to disperse any pockets of heat and test the temperature before offering it to your baby.
  9. Avoid adding salt and anything beyond a small amount of sugar to your baby’s food for the first 12 months.
  10. Make your baby food in bulk. Freeze it into small portion sizes so you’ll always have food at the ready. You’ll build up a stockpile of food in the freezer and most days you’ll simply be reheating, not cooking.

Related: Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

Real Baby Food cover
Text and photo excerpted from REAL BABY FOOD © 2015 by Jenna Helwig. Photos by Lauren Volo. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Jenna Helwig is the food editor at Parents, Fit Pregnancy's sister site.