On our kiwi baby food recipes page, we’re going to take a closer look at this fantastic fruit and show you just how to include it in your baby’s diet!
One of our children once described a kiwi fruit as a ‘hairy green egg’… but, despite it’s rather rugged appearance, this fuzzy little fruit is just brimming with vitamin C and makes a mouthwatering addition to your baby food repertoire.
The kiwi fruit – also known as the Chinese Gooseberry – is an edible berry with a fuzzy greenish/brown skin, vibrant green flesh and lots of little black seeds.
Gold kiwi fruits, which have a smoother skin, yellow flesh and a sweeter flavour are available in some parts of the world. They are increasingly being marketed internationally as their popularity grows, so you may be seeing them in a produce aisle near you sometime soon!
In some parts of the world – including the UK – guidelines recommend offering your baby kiwi from 6 months of age, whereas many US sources suggest delaying the introduction of kiwi until at least 8 months of age.
We certainly wouldn’t recommend kiwi fruit as a first baby food, because it is quite acidic and might trigger a diaper rash/nappy rash, a rash around the mouth or even an upset tummy.
You should also take care with the introduction of kiwi if your baby has any allergies, or if there is a history of food allergy in your family.
Allergies to kiwi fruit are being identified more and more often as the years go by. Experts speculate that this is because the fruit, which was only introduced to the US and Europe in the 1950s/60s, has been growing in popularity – thereby increasing the number of allergic reactions reported.
Allergic reactions to kiwi fruit tend to be linked with reactions to latex, papaya, pineapple and sesame seeds – so, if your baby is allergic to any of these, then he may well be allergic to kiwi fruit, too.
Allergic reactions to kiwi are also more common in people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Symptoms of a reaction to kiwi can range from a sore mouth or swelling of the tongue/lips/face to vomiting. Severe reactions can cause wheezing and serious breathing difficulties, requiring prompt medical attention.
On a personal level, we have always introduced kiwi once our little ones have been safely introduced to a few other fruits and veggies and their digestive systems are coping with them well.
Our youngest family member was introduced to a little kiwi fruit mashed with banana at 7 months and he absolutely adored it! We ensured it was nice and ripe – so it wasn’t at all tart – and it he had no problems at all with digesting it (although those little black seeds made a reappearance at diaper changing time, so don’t panic if the same thing happens to you!).
As always, though, the best option is to discuss the introduction of kiwi with your chid’s doctor, who will be aware of any special circumstances that may affect when it is safe for him to eat it.
In fact, this fuzzy little fellow is packed with nutrients! In addition to vitamin C, it provides your baby with potassium (around the same amount as a banana), vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium and folate.
Its high fibre content means that it is helpful for relieving constipation and it is a tasty source of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Eating plenty of kiwi is believed to protect the body against asthma and – in later life – lowers the fat in the blood and reduces the risk of blood clots.
Raw kiwi contains an enzyme called actinidin…
This enzyme breaks down protein – therefore it makes a useful meat tenderizer. Just squash up a ripe kiwifruit, spread it over the meat and leave for 30 minutes!
But actinidin also breaks down the proteins in gelatin – this means you can’t make jelly with fresh kiwi, because it won’t set. The solution is to cook the kiwi first, which breaks down the enzyme.
You should also aim to serve dishes that mix kiwi and dairy immediately (kiwi stirred into yogurt, for example). That’s because actinidin also breaks down milk proteins, leaving you with a VERY runny yogurt!
Large or small, kiwifruits taste the same and offer the same nutritional benefits. Look for nice, firm fruits with no spots – avoid any that look shrivelled or feel too squashy.
For the maximum nutritional value – and for the sweetest flavour – serve kiwi to your baby when it’s nice and ripe.
To test it for ripeness, just press it gently with your thumb – when it’s ready to eat, it will give a little. To ripen your kiwifruit if it’s very hard, pop it in a paper bag with a ripe banana and the ethylene gas the banana produces should soften up the kiwi fruit within a day or two.
Kiwis will last for a long time when refrigerated – sometimes as long as 4 weeks – but we recommend buying them as you need them for your baby rather than storing them for a long time.
Yes, the seeds are very small and should not pose any choking risk – that being said you should, of course, never leave your child unattended when eating any food.
Actually, kiwi skin is packed with nutrients – as with most fruits and veggies, many of the vitamins and minerals reside in – or just under – the skin.
Now, we don’t suggest serving kiwi skin to younger babies – it can be quite tough and difficult to chew and could present a choking hazard.
However, for older children who are accomplished chewers, there’s a lot to be said for leaving the skins intact. But do remove the ‘hair’ – it comes off quite easily if you give it a good rub with one of your ‘scratchy’ towels.
Just slice off each end, then use a sharp knife to remove the skin lengthwise.
Remove both ends of the fruit, then take a very thin teaspoon and insert it at one end, just between the flesh and the skin. Twist it all the way around the outer edge of the fruit, effectively removing the skin all in one piece. It’s tricky – but very effective once you get the hang of it!
Don’t bother peeling the kiwi at all – just cut it in half and serve it baby straight from the spoon!