Grapes are often served to baby as a finger food, but are less often used as an ingredient in homemade baby food recipes.
So on this page, we’re going to take a closer look at these juicy little fruits and suggest a few new ways in which you can include them in your baby’s diet.
NOTE: Please consult your doctor before you introduce these potato baby food recipes, or any new foods, to your baby. The information given here is for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.
Grapes are not considered to be a common allergen, so – with your doctor’s consent – they can be introduced to your baby from 6 months of age.
Theoretically, they could be introduced earlier if your doctor has recommended that your baby starts solids before 6 months of age – but there are a couple of reasons why this might not be such a good idea!
For one thing, babies under 6 months of age generally require pureed foods as they are not usually developmentally ready to deal with much in the way of texture.
And, of course, if you puree grapes you tend to end up with… grape juice! (That’s because the water content of grapes is very high, at around 88%).
Secondly, much of the goodness of grapes is contained in their skins (more about that later). And – because fruit skins may be difficult for little tummies to digest – we recommend NOT serving unpeeled fruits or vegetables to babies less than 6 months of age.
Grapes may not be suitable for babies with G6PD Deficiency – please see this page for more information.
Grapes contain important anti-oxidants, which help protect the body against heart disease and cancer.
They also contain vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium and lots of manganese (which helps your baby’s body utilize fatty acids and also produces energy from carbohydrates and protein).
Grapes come in a variety of colours, including green (often known as ‘white’) grapes, yellow, black, purple, dark blue and crimson!
Whilst all of these grapes contain anti-oxidants, those with redder skins also contain a powerful nutrient called anthocyanin (green grapes are closely related to red grapes but are lacking the anthocyanins).
This means that the anti-oxidant ‘powers’ of red/black grapes are superior to those of green (white) grapes – and it also means they’re the most beneficial for your baby.
Do note, however, that this higher concentration of nutrients is found in the red/black SKINS – peel away the skins, and you’ve peeled away the extra nutrients.
The anti-oxidant benefits of redder grapes make red grape juice a healthy drink when your baby is older. Grape juice is also believed to help protect against infection by food borne bacteria – it does this by killing the ‘bad’ bacteria without killing the ‘good’ bacteria that exist naturally in the gut and which aid digestion.
For the reasons given above, it’s best to buy red grapes for your baby rather than white. The deeper the colour of the grapes the better, as it not only indicates a greater concentration of anti-oxidants but is often a sign that the grapes will be sweeter.
If you choose to buy green (white) grapes instead, then look for ones with a yellowish tinge, which will usually be less tart than those that are bright green.
Grapes have a natural ‘bloom’ which gives them a whitish, dusty look – don’t be put off by it, as it’s there to protect the skins. And always remember to check that grapes you buy for your baby are seedless.
We strongly recommend buying organic grapes or grapes grown in the US, as imported grapes often appear on the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ – the list of fruits and vegetables found to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues.
Look for plump grapes that are nice and ripe and ready to eat (unripe grapes contain less antioxidants, as these tend to develop during the ripening process). Avoid bunches that are overripe – you can gauge the ripeness by checking if the grapes are attached to the stems. If they are all dropping off, then they are overripe and won’t last long.
Once you get your grapes home, store them in the fridge where they’ll keep for several days. Wait until you are ready to use them before washing them – if you wash them before you store them, they will rot more quickly.
With their nice ‘squishy’ texture, grapes make a great finger food for babies – unfortunately, though, their size and shape also make them a potential choking hazard. ALWAYS cut grapes into quarters before offering them to your baby as a finger food.
Most babies enjoying finger foods can cope well with the skin on grapes – in fact, we’ve always offered our little ones cut-up grapes from around 7 months and we’ve never peeled them!
But – of course – you know your baby best and if you feel the skins may cause him to gag, then it’s possible (but fiddly) to peel them. The easiest way to do it is to freeze them, then submerge them in tepid water. Hey presto – the skins split and are then easy to remove.
And whilst we’re on the subject of frozen grapes…
…they actually make a wonderfully refreshing snack for older children – we always keep a supply on hand during our very hot summer months and our children truly prefer them to unhealthier popsicles. They’re also infinitely less messy!
If you have a mesh feeder, you can serve some to your baby too – but, being very hard once frozen, we wouldn’t suggest serving them as a finger food without a feeder as they may present a choking hazard.
Another yummy option is to whiz frozen grapes up in your food processor, then stir the slushy puree into natural yogurt – absolutely delicious and very good for your little one!
Now that you’ve discovered some great baby food ideas with fresh grapes, why not learn more about using the dried variety…