Is it time to introduce your baby to pineapple baby food? Find out here and try our tasty baby food recipes with this tropical fruit!
Pineapple doesn’t seem to be a particularly common allergen, but one problem it DOES present as a baby food is that it’s very acidic.
Fresh pineapple and pineapple juice can cause a nasty diaper rash. Even canned pineapple may have a similar effect, although in our experience the reaction is far more extreme with fresh.
In some cases, the acids in pineapple may even cause a rash around baby’s mouth.
Generally, this isn’t a sign of an allergic reaction to pineapple (although you should always check with your doctor to be sure) – but it is, instead, simply baby’s delicate skin reacting to the strong acids. Even adults sometimes experience this reaction.
For these reasons, pineapple is NOT appropriate as a first food for baby.
It is far better to introduce it in the latter part of baby’s first year (9 months onwards), when his digestive system has become used to coping with a wider variety of foods.
Even then, it is best to introduce pineapple slowly, a little at a time, mixed into other foods.
Not until you are completely sure that your baby won’t react to its acidity should you think about offering chunks of pineapple to gnaw on. And you should always be VERY careful offering pineapple wedges or chunks – the fruit can be very fibrous, presenting a possible choking hazard.
SPECIAL NOTE: Pineapple is commonly responsible for flare ups in babies with infant reflux and is best avoided.
Pineapple is a great source of dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B1.
It has anti-inflammatory properties and is considered a wonderful aid to digestion. This is thanks to the bromelain it contains – a digestive enzyme that breaks down protein. In fact, this enzyme is so good at its job that fresh pineapple juice is sometimes used to tenderize meat!
Note: If you add fresh pineapple to gelatin/jelly, it will not set. This is because the bromelain breaks the gelatin down. Canned pineapple, however, does NOT contain bromelain, as it is destroyed during processing – therefore, if you want to make a pineapple jelly for the family, use the canned variety!
When looking for a pineapple for your baby, see if you can find one labelled ‘Extra Sweet’ or ‘Gold’, which won’t be as tart for your little one.
Unlike many other fruits and vegetables, size doesn’t matter when it comes to pineapple – large or small, the taste, texture and nutritional value will be more or less the same. The pineapple should, however, be heavy for its size.
The fruit should be ripe when you buy it, because pineapples don’t ripen any further once picked.
You can tell if a pineapple is ripe by sniffing it near the stem – it should smell sweet and pleasant. You can also try pulling out one of the leaves from the crown – it should come out easily if the fruit is ripe.
WARNING: Never offer unripe pineapple to your baby (or eat it yourself, for that matter). It can cause diarrhea, vomiting and irritation to the throat.
Pineapple connoisseurs recommend keeping the fruit at room temperature for a couple of days before serving it. This improves the texture by making it juicier and softer. The pineapple can then be stored in the refrigerator for around 5 days.
Once you’ve cut the pineapple, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. The flesh can dry out quite quickly, but you can maintain its juiciness by storing it in water or juice (preferably pineapple juice). It will keep like this for several days, but – as with all foods intended for baby – we recommend using it within 1 to 2 days.
There are two ways of doing this…
(which we find quicker)
Pineapple does not appear on the Environmental Working Group’s list of the fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated by pesticide residues – the Dirty Dozen. For one thing, the skin has to be removed – and for another, the skin’s thickness provides an effective defence against the absorption of pesticides.
It is not important, therefore, to buy organic pineapple.
Fresh pineapple is yummy when mashed or pureed with…
If the pineapple you are using is particularly tough and hard to mash, try cooking it briefly by steaming or simmering in a little water or juice until tender.