These melon baby food recipes help you create luscious dishes for your baby using this nutritious and versatile fruit.
PLEASE NOTE: You should always discuss the introduction of ANY new foods with your child’s doctor.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to introducing melon to your baby and many infants enjoy it from 6 months of age with no problems at all.
There are, however, a couple of things to consider if you want to give melon to your little one…
We would recommend only buying whole melons for your baby and cutting them yourself.
You should try to avoid pre-packed, sliced melon – but if you DO buy it, then wash the slices before use… even if the labelling tells you it’s unnecessary.
Not only are melons juicy and delicious… they’re packed with goodness, too! What’s more, most babies love them – so these melon baby food ideas are a great way to include some important nutrients in YOUR baby’s diet!
There are two types of melon – muskmelons, which have all the seeds in the middle, and watermelons, in which the seeds are dispersed throughout the fruit.
Muskmelons can be divided into two more groups – smooth skin varieties (like honeydew) and netted skin (like cantaloupe).
Melons are around 90% water, which means they’re very easy to digest.
The exact nutritional value varies from one melon to another, but in general they are good sources of:
The pink flesh of watermelons is also an excellent source of a carotenoid called lycopene.
In fact, the watermelon has previously been named the number one source of lycopene by the US Department of Agriculture!
(for more information, see USDA Agricultural Retail Service – Watermelon Packs a Powerful Lycopene Punch).
And how does lycopene benefit your baby?
Well, it’s believed to protect against diabetes and asthma and – in later life – helps guard against arthritis and colon cancer.
Muskmelons like cantaloupes and honeydews should be slightly soft at the flower end (that’s the end opposite the stem) when ripe. A ripe melon should also have a light, sweet smell – not TOO strong, or it may be overripe.
Muskmelons naturally separate from the vine when they’re ripe, so do check the stem end of cantaloupes, honeydews etc when you buy them. There shouldn’t be an actual stem – if there is, particularly if it is torn, then you’ll know it was harvested too early!
If you buy a cantaloupe, honeydew, etc that’s a little too firm, store it at room temperature for a few days. This makes it juicier and softer. As soon as it feels ripe enough, transfer it to the refrigerator.
Watermelons look appetizing when they’re shiny – but you should actually choose one with a dull skin for better flavour. A good watermelon should be heavy for its size. Look for a creamy spot on its underside – this is a good indication of ripeness. It should also sound hollow when thumped.
Watermelons are bests stored at room temperature until you’re ready to cut them. During tests, the US Department of Agriculture found that the levels of lycopene and beta-carotene in watermelons increase significantly when they’re stored, uncut, at room temperature.
How long can I store cut melon in the refrigerator?
Guidelines vary – some sources will suggest storing it for up to a week, others recommend only a couple of days. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you only store melon for 24 hours in the refrigerator if it’s for your baby.
To prepare a melon for eating, simply wash the fruit then cut it in half.
Scoop out the seeds from the centre (or, for watermelons, slice the fruit and pick out the seeds).
Then just cut away the skin and dice the flesh, ready to create your melon baby food recipes.
Another wonderful thing about melons is their versatility – they work equally well in both sweet and savoury dishes!
They are also interchangeable in recipes – you can easily use honeydew instead of cantaloupe, for example. Watermelons are the exception, though, as they have less flavour and are much more watery (hence the name!).