Peaches make a wonderful food for babies. With their natural sugar content, they’re deliciously sweet and can be used to create all sorts of dishes, from purees for beginners to healthy finger foods for more accomplished diners!
On this page, we’re going to take a closer look at this tasty fruit and share a few peachy recipes for your little one to try!
The first point to note is that peaches and nectarines are, essentially, the same thing!
Peaches have a soft, velvety skin and nectarines are smooth – the variation is caused by a genetic difference, rather like one person having fair hair and another dark!
Nectarines may sometimes be found growing on the branches of a peach tree and vice versa – and, in recipes, they’re completely interchangeable!
To keep things simple, we’ll carry on referring to ‘peaches’ in this article, but if you only have nectarines to hand, by all means feel free to go ahead and use those instead!
Peaches are very popular as a first food for babies and – with your doctor’s consent – may be introduced at 6 months of age (or from 4 months if recommended by your pediatrician – please see this page about introducing solids before 6 months of age).
Peaches are not considered to be highly allergenic – making them a good choice as a first food – although it’s worth bearing in mind that an allergy to latex is associated with an increased risk of allergy to peach.
If there is a family history of latex allergy, then you need to carefully discuss the introduction of peach and other foods with your child’s doctor.
The flesh of peaches is usually a vibrant yellow/orange colour, although some varieties have flesh that’s almost white. The more yellow/orange the flesh of the peach, the more beta-carotene it will contain. Your baby’s body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which helps strengthen his immune system.
Rich in antioxidants, peaches also provide vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium and fibre.
You’ll probably hear peaches referred to as ‘clingstone’ or ‘freestone’. These classifications refer to the stone inside – clingstones ‘cling’ to the flesh of the peach, freestones don’t!
As we mentioned earlier in this article, peaches may have white or yellow/orange flesh. White fleshed peaches tend to be sweeter than their darker fleshed cousins, which may have a slight ‘tang’ to them.
We preferred to offer our little ones the ‘tang-ier’ variety because of their increased nutritional benefits – but if they were a little too tart for comfort we’d mix in a bit of mashed watermelon – it balanced out the flavour perfectly!
A ripe peach should have a pronounced ‘crease’ and a pleasant, peachy aroma.
Don’t assume that the redness (or ‘blush’) on the skin indicates that the peach is ripe – it has nothing to do with ripeness at all! Instead, check the skin close to the stem – it should be a creamy yellow colour.
If it’s green, the peach will probably never ripen properly.
Peaches may be a little on the firm side when you buy them, but avoid them if they are rock hard. To help soften a firm peach, put it into a paper bag – the ethylene gas it produces will speed the process along!
Ready-to-eat peaches can be stored in the fridge for a few days, although – of course – it’s always best to buy fruit and veggies for your baby as you need them.
Take care when storing peaches – they are very delicate! This is particularly true of nectarines, because they don’t have that coating of fuzz to protect their skins.
Don’t pile peaches on top of each other and don’t store them on wire fridge shelves – this will cause bruising that will lead to rapid deterioration.
We recommend waiting until you are ready to use a peach before cutting it.
The type of peaches used for freezing or canning are usually the clingstone variety, because they tend to hold on to their flavour and texture far better.
First, please review this page, which looks at the pros and cons of peeling fruits and vegetables for use in your baby food recipes.
Many parents choose to peel peaches because of the fuzziness of the skin, although it’s not absolutely essential.
If you are offering peach to your baby before the recommended age of 6 months, however, then we DO suggest that you peel the peach to make it more digestible.
Drop it in a pot of boiling water and leave it for 1 minute. Then transfer it to a bowl of iced water (this will stop it from cooking). The skin should then be easy to remove.
Cut the flesh of the peach into small chunks and steam, or simmer in a very little water. Mash well with a fork, or blend in a food processor.
If your baby is at least 6 months of age – and the peach is particularly ripe and juicy – you may wish to puree it uncooked.
Here are some delicious and simple peach baby food ideas…