How Long Is Jarred Baby Food Good For?

image001It is a federal regulations requirement that all infant formulas under the FDA inspection should come with a ‘use by’ date. These products should be consumed before the ‘use by’ date printed on the pack. Before that date passes, the formulas should maintain the nutrient quantity stated on the label.

You might want to know how long is jarred baby food good for?Feeding foods before the due date is a good way of ensuring you do not feed your baby foods that have gone bad. The same goes for jarred food for babies. 

How Long Is Jarred Baby Food Good For?

You can come across a wide range of answers to this question.

  • Meat. Generally, baby food that is made with poultry, meat, fish or eggs should be able to remain fresh for at least 24 hours under refrigeration after it is opened.
  • Fruits and vegetables. For baby foods made with vegetables or plain fruits, they should last for at least 2 days. Jar labels mostly come with recommendations for the time the food can remain fresh after the jar is removed.
  • Frozen jarred foods. Baby food can be kept for up to two months when frozen and frozen fruits and vegetable baby foods can go for up to six months before going bad. The good news is that freezing does not change the nutritional consistency in the food.

Precautions to Take

  • Be careful with liquid foods. Liquid foods expand when frozen and may cause the jar to break. Therefore, you need to place the food in a clean container with a bit of space at the top.
  • Do not feed directly from the jar. If you have leftover baby food in the refrigerator, ensure that you did not dip the spoon in the food when feeding the baby. This is an easy way of allowing bacteria to build up. Instead of feeding the baby directly from the jar, you can scoop enough feeding amounts in a separate bowl and refrigerate the rest. In case you need more, ensure you use a clean spoon to scoop.

If you make your own baby food, here’s how to store, freeze and reheat it:

More Information on Choosing, Making and Storing Baby Foods

1. Choose the Best Food for Your Baby

There is quite an array of baby food available in the market today. You will find simple veggies and fruits as well as fancy mixed dinner. This can make the selection process a little bit hard.

  • Choose foods according to developmental stages. Most jarred baby foods are labeled according to development stages. Stage 1 is for babies who are starting on solid foods, 2 and 3 for toddlers and babies with more experience on eating solid food. If you are nurturing a beginner, you can start with stage 1 and advance on with time.
  • Read the labels. Ensure you check the ‘use by’ date on the jar. Most baby jarred foods do not contain salt so this should not be a source of worry for you. However, you need to stay away from foods with modified food starch and added sugar as they are empty calories.
  • Be careful with ingredients. Go for one–ingredient baby foods as opposed to combinations. This is until you are sure that your baby’s system is strong enough to tolerate numerous components at a go.

2. Try Making Your Own Baby Food

It is possible to make your own baby food by grinding vegetables, fruits and grain among other foods with a bit of water or breast milk to attain the required thickness. This is economical and easier than buying jarred premade foods. You can grind what you are eating. Simply ensure that you choose the foods that are ideal for the baby and avoid using seasoned foods.

You can use a food processor or a blender to puree the food. However, a hand held food mill is the best choice. You can use storage containers to refrigerate the excess food.

When making your baby food, ensure you make use of fresh and organic ingredients to ensure the best nutritional composition.

3. How to Store and Reheat Baby Food

First things first, always throw away any food that is leftover from the feeding bowl. To keep your baby food safe:

  • Never leave the baby food to stand at room temperature for over 2 hours and not for more than an hour when the temperature goes beyond 90⁰F.
  • Avoid storing prepared baby food in the refrigerator for more than a day in the case of meat, poultry or fish. Fruits and vegetables should not be left for more than 2 days.
  • Ensure you reheat refrigerated foods thoroughly before giving it to the baby, usually at an internal temperature of 165 ºF.
  • Never defrost baby food in standing water or by leaving them at room temperature.
  • Ensure you use clearly dated labels on prepared baby food before refrigerating it. Such food can be frozen for up to a month.