Refrigerator? Freezer?: Food Storage 101

“Is this still good?” Yea, we’ve all asked ourselves the same thing. Now that you’ve got the whole baby food making thing down, here’s a quick rundown of just how long your baby food can live in your fridge/freezer, as well as some quick tips for optimal deliciousness.

 

Refrigerator

Why do we use refrigerators? Chilling our food helps slow the growth of harmful bacteria, so keep your fridge at 40°F or below. If your fridge doesn’t tell you the temperature, buy a thermometer and check it often to make sure it’s up to par.

 

It’s best to store your baby food soon after you make it, because leaving it out for more than two hours allows bacteria to grow quickly. Leftovers should also should be refrigerated A-S-A-P.  How long are they good for you may ask? As a rule of thumb, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service states leftovers and cooked food can be stored for 4 days; 2 days if it contains meat, poultry, and fish.

 

Freezer

If simply refrigerating your food helps to preserve your food, you can image how helpful freezing can be. Though it doesn’t kill bacteria, it does prevent more from growing if you keep your freezer at or below the optimal temperature of 0 °F. While your food will last longer in the freezer, the quality/taste will decrease with time. Depending on the food, a good bet for quality is to eat within 1-2 months, on average. When it comes time to thaw, do so in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave.

 

Note, if you choose thawing in cold water or microwave, it should be cooked immediately. This is because bacteria can multiply quickly in unrefrigerated foods.

 

Quick Storage Tips Before You Go

  • Keep everything covered in air-tight containers. This will help retain moisture and prevent food from picking up odor from other foods.
  • Batch cooking purees? Divide and store into smaller, single use portions.
  • Don’t store perishable foods in the door, as temperature fluctuates there more than inside the unit.
  • Got odor? Help eliminate by placing an open box of baking soda on the shelf.
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