Safe preparation and storage of baby food when weaning your baby
With thanks to Siobhan Berry, founder of Mummy Cooks
A very important step in learning how to wean your baby is to understand how to safely prepare your baby’s food. This is a question I get asked a lot during my weaning classes and through my Weaning Wednesday Q&A on instagram. Hi I’m Siobhan Berry founder of Mummy Cooks and below I have outlined best practices when preparing food for your baby. While our immune system may be able to handle food that has been defrosted incorrectly your baby’s immune system might not.
How to safely prepare baby’s food
It is important to prepare and store food correctly to ensure that your baby and family’s food is safe to eat.
Guidelines before you start to prepare your baby’s food
- Wash weaning pots with warm soapy water and air dry.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables with cold running water (and only just before using or they will go off faster).
- Use separate plastic boards (so you can pop into the dishwasher) to prepare both meat and vegetables.
- Make use of your dishwasher. The temperature of a dishwasher reaches over 65 degrees so it will sterilize your utensils – this is especially important where you have used utensils to prepare chicken.
- If you don’t have a dishwasher then for fruit and vegetables wash the board thoroughly in the sink. For chicken it’s best to get a paper towel and take off any bits of chicken or the board and knife. Then use a bacterial spray to spray onto the board or knife and leave for a couple of minutes as required and then clean the utensils.
Cooling and Freezing Fresh Food
- Portion and leave your food to cool at room temperature for a max of 2 hours.
- Transfer food to the fridge and allow it to get to 10 degrees (about ½ hour) then place in the freezer if freezing the food.
- If you’re leaving the food in the fridge the food should be stored for a max of 72 hours/ 3 days.
- Label and date the food if you’re placing it in the freezer. Make sure to place any new food to the back of the freezer drawer.
- Food will last up to 3 months in the freezer
Defrosting & Reheating Baby Food
3 methods of defrosting
- Overnight in the fridge (preferable)
- In the microwave or steamer
- Cook through in the oven or pan
*it’s important to note never leave food out on the counter top to defrost as this is unsafe
Step 1: Make sure to fully defrost the food before reheating. Remove the food from the freezer the night before and place it in the fridge to defrost.
Step 2: To heat, place the portion pot into the microwave or steamer making sure to stop and stir every 10 seconds. Depending on the amount of food in the pot you may need to stop and stir every few seconds.
Step 3: Test the temperature of the food has reached about 71 degrees (piping hot). Use our ThermoSpoon to check the temperature. This will ensure all bacteria is killed. Anything under this temperature may not be safe to eat. This is especially important when reheating rice.
Step 4: Allow to cool down to below 40 degrees before serving your baby. Again use your ThermoSpoon to check the temperature before serving it to your baby. The best way to cool down the food is to transfer it to a cold bowl and stir until it’s at the right temperature.
The Mummy Cooks ThermoSpoon has been designed specifically for safe feeding. It can be used to check the temperature of all foods and liquids for a baby – including milk, first foods and purées.
Note – if you need the food and have forgotten to remove it the night before, you can defrost it there and then. When you remove it from the freezer – ensure you leave the lid on and place in a microwave or steamer until it’s defrosted. Then you can start the reheat process as listed above ensuring to heat it to the correct temperature.
You can sign up for a free Weaning Week workshop with Siobhan on Tuesday 5th May here
Disclaimer: The views and advice given in this article are those of the guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Weaning Week or any other organisations represented on this platform