Mama Life Hacks {#15}: Reusing Baby Food Jars

Okay, I feel a little sheepish about this post because I feel like, after reading the title of it, you’re probably expecting a litany of clever ways to repurpose glass baby food jars.

Like for craft supplies or planters or organizational doo-dads.

And yes, all of those would be fabulous ways to stretch your baby jar use from one to many.

But the #mamalifehacks tip that I have for you is soooooooo much simpler–so much more DUH!–than that.

Here’s the thing: I like to make my own baby food as much as possible. It’s healthier. It’s cheaper. It’s convenient, since if I run out, I don’t have to hightail it to the store for more (assuming that I have the makings of baby food on hand).

It’s just so stinking easy to throw some sweet potatoes in the oven, then whip them with a bit of water in my Ninja into yumminess for Theo.

Still, I keep a small supply of store-bought baby food in the pantry for when we’re out and about or when I’m making dinner and need the boys to feed him without the hassle of retrieving, portioning out, and heating up homemade food from the fridge.

Because the only thing I don’t love about the homemade baby food is the mess and then the storage. When I make it in my Ninja, I typically either a) pull out the blades and then shove the whole container in the fridge, pulling it out and glopping some in a bowl as needed or b) scrape it out of the Ninja into a Tupperware container and then store that in the fridge.

Either works, but it’s not my favorite thing to locate a bowl and then fill it with food. Not saying it’s a big deal. Because it’s not. In fact, on the hardship scale–with 1 being: I stubbed my toe and 10 being: I live in a 3rd World country and don’t know where my next meal is coming from–it doesn’t even register.

And yet.

If I can find a way around it, I will.

Now, I know there are fancy blender attachments and Baby Bullets and whatnot, which allow you to store the food in small quantities, individually, but I don’t have any of those. And neither do I have any desire to buy one.

So, the other day, when the boys (aka: little hoarders) asked me if they could spirit two used baby food jars away for “projects” (I think we all know this is code for: something else to grow mold on), I happened to be standing in front of a freshly mixed batch of homemade baby food.

And as I held up the used (but washed) baby food jar, trying to think of an excuse for why Simon couldn’t take it to his room and then lose it under his bed for all eternity, it’s like Theo’s sweet potatoes spoke to me, and said: “NO! Take me instead!” #namethatmovie (this one’s harder than the Princess Bride reference from last week).

baby food jars2

And so, the idea of reusing baby food bottles for the purpose of–hold on tight now–storing baby food was born.

I know, right? So brilliantly simple and obvious that I’m sure EVERYONE in the entire world has thought of this besides me.

baby food jars watermark

Which means that I’m typing to myself.

Which is kind of a waste of time, since I was there when I had the original (tiny) epiphany and all.

But still.

As DUH (see? I told you) as it may seem, I am loving having tidy little bottles of pre-portioned homemade baby food in my fridge. No more Tupperware. No more big Ninja karafes taking up space. And NO MORE fishing food out of one container to transfer it to another container every time I need to feed Theo.

Oh! And I can now easily take homemade food with me (as long as it’s not going to sit in my bag for any significant period of time, of course). And then? I can toss the container! (Because who wants to accidentally forget about a baby food Tupperware container in your purse only to find a lovely fuzz colony in there a week later?)

I won’t blame you if you think I’m slow for only now figuring this out.

But I also won’t mock you if the light of revelation is just now dawning in your eyes as well.

baby food jars1

Theo’s clearly a fan of my newest duh moment. Now, if only somebody would invent something to put around his neck to keep food from getting all over his clothes.

Joke, people! I know napkins already exist. ;)

Are you guys homemade baby food makers too? What do you store yours in? Maybe I’ve been missing out on something (else) obvious and simple all these years?

Don’t forget to share your #mamalifehacks so I can feature you!

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20 thoughts on “Mama Life Hacks {#15}: Reusing Baby Food Jars

  1. “No! Take me instead” us Beauty and the Beast.
    I don’t have kids yet but I’m very keen on the idea of making my own baby food someday for many reasons. I thought repuprising the baby food jars and was all set to buy a big batch from someone on Facebook and save for later. But then I did some research and found that freezing those glass jars is not safe and that homemade baby food only lasts a couple days in fridge so I didn’t know if it was worth it to get glass jars since I think I’d prefer to make big batches and freeze.

  2. We make our own homemade baby food. (I say “we” because my husband does as much or more on it as I do, depending on who’s available, etc…) We used to freeze it in ice cube trays, but now we just put it straight into gallon ziplock bags, zip it, squeeze the air out, and then kind of slide our hand or a utensil in lines down the bag, then across the bag to make sort of a checkerboard pattern, so that individual sections can be easily broken apart after it is frozen. Then we just break one off, put it in a container, and carry it with us when we need to go somewhere. It’s (usually) pretty convenient.

  3. You can actually screw regular size mason jars onto my blender, so I use those. Although I’m still left with the positioning each time they eat problem. But storing it is super easy!

  4. I used to make my 2 daughters homemade food when they were weaning. I would freeze in the small tall Tupperware beakers (I can’t remeber their proper names) then I would pop one into the pressure cooker with the Tupperware lid off. Along with a small potato if I was using them. Now they are mothers themselves, where did those years go?
    Ann

  5. I have always used a small blender jar attachment my mother gave me from when I was a baby (which she has had much longer than that). I buy them when I see them at thrift stores and garage sales, so I have worked up quite a collection. It attaches to my regular blender blade and such, so when I make large batches I can just switch out the blades to do jar after jar. Now, these jars still hold about 2 servings, so I am still left with the problem of needing to portion out some in a separate bowl, but only every other time, which is doable for me.
    Sweet potatoes into to baby food is the ultimate in ease and nutrition!

    http://www.amazon.com/Oster-4937-Mini-Jar-Accessory/dp/B000BDBG2M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442922418&sr=8-1&keywords=blender+small+jar+attachment

  6. I made all of ours when we had littles. I froze it in ice cube trays then threw the cubes in freezer bags. Then I could mix them however I wanted( sweet potatoes/ butternut squash or taters on their own. You get the idea). And to take with, I toss a few frozen cubes in a dish and go. By the time it’s time for a meal, it’s pretty well thawed but still nice and cold.

  7. Reference is from beauty and the beast! Although I am sure it is from several other movies as well, but I definitely heard Belle’s voice in your reference ;) It took me several months to figure out I should try storing food in the leftover jars. And they clean up well in the
    dishwasher .

  8. I’m with the ice cube tray fan club. Honestly, two or three afternoons made my son’s first 6 months of solids cheap and easy. I also froze some pouches for on the go. Infantino is the brand. Only problem I had with these pouches is they don’t handle textured foods. Now, I put yogurt and purees in them just to help during phases where my son won’t let a spoon near his lips.

  9. My girls loved those baby food pouches so much I got some reusable ones from Amazon (turquoise chevron!) and would make a big batch at a time! I also found washi tape works awesome to date and label the pouches. They hold quite a bit more then the store bought pouches so I could get several meals from one AND they are waaaaay less messy! You can even get a little spoon attachment that screws onto the mouth of the pouch.

  10. I started reusing them as well, it is much easier to pour blended food into them than ice cube trays. Though I tend to notice one full blender of food still requires an ice cube tray after the few jars we’ve saved, but still it is something and is easier to feed from.

  11. I always made my baby food too ( also bought some for times on the go)! We would one Saturday a month spend the morning making up our baby food for the month. I just bought multiple vegetables and would cook them on the stove and use the water from the pot to make the baby food ( because some of your nutrients end up in the water). I bought a whole bunch of the little Rubbermaid containers and would freeze them. Ever night I would put enough containers for the next day in the refrigerator and then all I had to do was heat serve!

  12. Theo is a cutie… I made my own baby food too.. for the same reasons you did… but I would throw the whole baby food jar right in the freezer in a plastic tub so they wouldn’t disappear through the cracks. I would take the ones I needed out for the week to thaw early in the week. That way I would know it wouldn’t go bad. When the kids would get a little older any leftovers we had would go into baby food. I would make pots of vegetable soup or beef and noodles and make baby food out of it! I’ve even been known to grind up whole pieces of lasagna.

  13. I make baby good in big batches (like a 5lb bag of sweet potatoes at a time), and freeze it in ice cube trays (from the dollar store). Each little ice cube slot holds 1 oz which makes for easy portioning. Once frozen, I pop the cubes in a couple quart freezer bags (I’ve found keeping them in smaller bags helps to keep the freezer burn at bay), I label them with content and date, and then make the next food item. To thaw and heat, I do short times (20-30 seconds) at half power or less (probably closer to 30%), stirring between each turn in the microwave.

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