The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the introduction of solids around 6 months. At this time, you can serve homemade applesauce. Simply wash, peel and core the apples before cooking them until tender. Finally, mash or puree with a food processor and some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg!
Apples are a great choice when you’re ready to introduce your baby to their first foods. Generally, it is safe to start introducing cooked apples and applesauce around six months.
Before giving it to your baby, cut the apple, peel them, and remove the seeds since large pieces can become a choking hazard. Cooking the apple for a few minutes will soften the fruit for children under the age of three.
How to Safely Serve Apples
6 to 9 Months
From six to nine months, cut the apple into halves. Place the deseeded apples in boiling water until a fork easily pierces them.
At this point, you can serve the snack or take it another step and mash them for homemade applesauce! Mash them using a potato masher, or for quicker results, place them in a food processor.
(If you’re looking for a recipe to follow, read on to find the recipe listed below!)
9 to 18 Months
At nine to eighteen months, you can begin to introduce apples with the peel. Continue cooking them softness or serve them raw in thin slices.
You may find they end up spitting out the skin, but there are still benefits to introducing them to the tougher texture at this stage.
They have newly erupted molars, and chewing on apple skin will help them learn to grind food between them.
18 to 24 Months
By eighteen to twenty-four months, your baby might be ready to try a whole apple. Use discretion and stay nearby, but you will likely find them taking smaller bites than they could with slivers of apple.
At twenty-four months and older, most kids can handle raw apple pieces. You know your child best, so using judgment when giving your kid apples is always best.
Making Homemade Applesauce
An advantage to making applesauce at home is you control the flavor and level of sweetness. Keep it plain, add a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, or even mix in some honey.
Eventually, you can try mixing in other fruits to create more adventurous flavor profiles. Whatever direction you go, the basic steps are going to be the same.
Selecting The Apples
The best apples for a baby are those with a sweeter flavor, however have fun with all different types! Fuji, Honeycrisp, Macintosh, Gala, and even Granny Smith apples are some tasty options.
They are the better options due to the lower acid levels making it easier on the stomach to digest.
When you’re at the store, find apples with the least number of blemishes, and look for something labeled organic if that’s your preference.
Non-organic apples tend to have higher levels of pesticides used when growing them. However, the easiest way to fix this issue is to simply rinse your fruit with a little vinegar!
Creating the Sauce
The choice is yours about what type of apple you use but start with four to six medium apples cored, peeled, and cut into small pieces.
Place them into a medium-size pot on the stove and add 3/4 cup of water. Allow the water to begin boiling, then cover and cook the apples until they are soft, which will be about 15-20 minutes.
You can reduce the heat at this point to help prevent the pot from boiling dry. Once they are soft, you can turn them into apple puree using a food processor, blender, or potato masher. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a good old fashion fork either.
Oven Baked Apples
Another method is to bake the apples in the oven. Sometimes this method creates a more flavorful homemade baby food.
Another technique is to steam the apples until they are soft. The apples retain most of their nutrients with this method and will be very juicy.
The juiciness makes this method a great option because you probably won’t need to add additional water once they’re soft enough to puree.
Spice it Up a Bit
If your baby is enjoying plain homemade baby applesauce, you can start experimenting with your recipe.
Always use your judgment because every baby is different but start with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. If you don’t think it’s a noticeable flavor, you can add more to match your taste preferences.
Other spices you might try are ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, or almond extract. Be creative in the kitchen, and you might find a new combination your baby loves!
Fun Flavor Combinations
If you’re ready to take your recipe beyond spices and your baby is able, here are a few flavor combinations to try.
You can mix cereal in with the applesauce to give it a little more texture. Crush or grind some almonds, peanuts, or walnuts to help balance out the sweetness of applesauce.
Blending in other fruits will make strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, or mango combinations by pureeing them with the same method.
Other Homemade Baby Foods Purees
Once you’ve mastered applesauce, your world will open up for other homemade baby food options.
Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, and peaches are easily pureed, just like apples. Green beans, peas, and even broccoli will become soft enough to mash and serve to your little one.
Mixing carrots, pumpkin, and corn together creates a fall flavor profile that they are sure to enjoy. You could even mix vegetables in with the apple puree.
Apples and butternut squash pair well together and is a great way to introduce new vegetables to your child when they are ready.
Storing Fresh Baby Food
Now that you’ve got all of your freshly made baby food, what do you do with it? It will safely keep in the refrigerator for up to five days if it is in an air-tight container.
But if you make recipes in bulk, a simple solution for this is to freeze it. Once it has cooled completely, the pureed mixtures can be put into ice cube trays and placed in a freezer overnight.
The next day, transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag, and it will keep for up to six months. When you’re ready to use the frozen puree, leave it in the refrigerator to thaw.
- 4-6 medium-size apples
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Wash and dry the produce
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into chunks
- Place the apple chunks into a medium-sized pot.
- Add the water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a low setting, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes
- Check the apples by poking them with a fork to check for tenderness.
- When the fork can easily pierce the apple, remove the pot from the heat.
- Using a potato masher, food processor, or blender, puree the apple chunks.
- OPTIONAL: Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or other spices you choose)
- Allow to cool and place in an air-tight container for up to five days if stored in the refrigerator.
- For longer storage time, place puree in ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to freezer storage bags for up to six months. Thaw the cubes in the refrigerator when you are ready to serve them.
- Before beginning, wash your hands with soap and water.
- If you want to test the flavors as you go, wash it or use a new spoon between each sample. Otherwise, you might spread bacteria from yourself to your baby.
- Once you’ve made your puree, if you find it’s thicker than you’d like, you can thin it by adding more water, breast milk, or formula.
- Oats, grains, and other solid “mix-ins” are less suitable for children under six months. Always check with the doctor before moving to the next phase of introducing food.