Nutritious, tasty, easy to prepare and even easier to eat, apples are a popular choice with children and adults alike.
But given they can be a serious choking hazard, it’s important to know how to properly prepare and serve an apple before offering some to your baby.
So in this article we’ve taken a look at when you can safely introduce apples to your little one, and will explain how to soften and serve them so that your baby can enjoy the benefits to this wonderful fruit.
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When Can Babies Eat Apples?
Babies can typically begin eating apples as soon as they move on to eating solids.
For many children this is usually at around 6 months of age.
But given all babies develop at different rates, you should make sure sure your little one is developmentally ready before they begin weaning.
Whatever the exact age, it’s very important to remember they have the potential to cause choking in young children, so you should always prepare and cook the apples appropriately in order to reduce this risk (more on this below).
When Can Babies Eat Raw Apples?
Due to their firm and hard texture, raw apples can be a choking hazard for a baby, so experts recommend exercising caution when introducing to your baby.
The advice is to therefore start with very thin slices when your child is between one to two years of age.
At this age your little one should be able to use their teeth and chewing skills to safely eat thin slices or grated apples.
Larger and thicker slices of raw apple should only be introduced once your baby is older, for example when they are approximately 3-4 years of age.
Ultimately it comes down to what you feel is safe for your baby, but the general rule of thumb when giving your baby or toddler raw apple is to start off with very thin slices, and gradually let your child work up to larger pieces once they are older and the risk of choking falls.
Benefits Of Apples For Babies
As the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
There’s a good reason why this is one of the world’s most popular fruits, because this relatively inexpensive and easy to store fruit offers a multitude of benefits, including:
- Provides a healthy dose of energy as they are high in carbohydrates.
- Good source of vitamins and minerals, which are important for healthy skin, eyes, bones and brain health.
- Rich in quercetin and pectin.
- High in fiber, which helps digestion.
- Contains antioxidants that can improve immunity.
How To Cook Apples For Babies
Many parents know about the benefits that this fruit can provide for both adults and children, but are often unsure of how they should prepare an apple for their little one.
So let’s take a look at how to prepare this wonderful fruit for your baby, including how to cook apples for baby led weaning.
How To Soften Apples For Your Baby
The key to safely giving your infant or toddler apple when they are very young is to ensure it’s very soft, as this will not only greatly reduce the risk of choking, but also make the experience more enjoyable for your child – after all, who wants to eat anything that’s too chewy or requires too much hard work!
Three easy, popular and effective ways of softening apples for your baby include steaming, pureeing and baking.
How To Steam Apples For Your Baby
I personally found that steaming is a great way to soften and serve apple to your child, and the process couldn’t be easier.
Here is a simple 3 step process:
- Wash, peel and chop the fruit into finger-sized wedges, big enough for baby to grasp, with half sticking out the top of their hand.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and steam for between 3 to 8 minutes depending how soft you want the wedges to become.
- Allow to cool fully before serving (this should take around 10 minutes).
How To Puree Apples For Babies
If your little one hasn’t tried apple puree yet then there’s a good chance they will love this delicious snack, especially if you make it less bland by adding spices like cinnamon or ginger.
Here is a very simple way to make apple puree for your baby:
- Peel, core, and chop the apples into fairly big pieces.
- Place in a large pan and add some water and if you wish, some spices like cinnamon.
- Cover the pan and simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes – what you’re looking for is very soft pieces that break up easily.
- Remove and place in a food processor to blend. If you doin’t have a blender, mash with a fork or spoon to get the consistency you are after.
- Allow to cool fully and serve, perhaps with some yoghurt, porridge or as a sauce in savoury dishes containing pork or other meat, or with some salmon.
How To Bake Apples For Babies
Another easy way to serve apple to your baby or toddler and one that I enjoyed doing in the colder months is by baking the apples as follows:
- Preheat your oven to medium-high heat.
- Wash and core the apples using a sharp knife.
- Place on a baking pan and add some cinnamon or nutmeg for extra flavor.
- Cook until tender – the apple should feel very tender when poked with a fork.
- Allow to cool fully before serving.