Apples | 6 mos+ |🥇🌈 ⚠️ 💩
Updated: 4 days ago
Apples are one of the most popular fruits. It is known for its delicious taste, appealing shape, and juiciness. It’s a great first food for babies.
There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples across the world, mostly found in yellow, red and green colors. Each variety has its own nutritional benefits, though green apples contain slightly more fiber and less carbohydrates and sugar than red apples. Red apples have slightly more antioxidants than green ones. Yet, they are all packed with various essential nutrients!
DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
7. How to store apples
When can I give apples to my baby?
Babies can eat apples as soon as they are ready to start eating solid foods, which is usually when they are around 6 months of age and have met all the readiness signs for solids, unless otherwise advised by your baby's healthcare provider.
You can give your baby a safe start to solid foods! This on-demand workshop will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to wean well.
Is apple a healthy food for babies?
Apples are one of the most popular fruits. It is known for its delicious taste, appealing shape, and juiciness. It is a great first food for babies!
There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples across the world, mostly found in yellow, red and green colors. Each variety has its own nutritional benefits, though green apples contain slightly more fiber and less carbohydrates and sugar than red apples. Red apples have slightly more antioxidants than green ones. Yet, they’re all packed with various essential nutrients.
Apples store a variety of vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates, and phytochemicals. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, and potassium.
The soluble and insoluble fiber present in apples will help your baby’s bowel movement and will prevent stomach pain or constipation. Vitamin C is crucial for a baby’s growth and development because it aids in iron absorption. It is also involved in the immune system. The carbohydrates in an apple are a great source of energy for a growing baby, and the polyphenols in the fruit helps in digestive health.
Fun Fact: Did you know that apples are part of the rose family? And apple trees take up to 4 to 5 years to produce fruit.
Is apple a safe food for babies?
Apples may have pesticides on its surface layer. Pesticides are used to kill bacteria, insects, fungi, and other microorganisms that may deteriorate the quality of the fruit.
To decrease your baby’s exposure to pesticides, you may opt to purchase organic apples. It’s recommended to rub and wash apples thoroughly in order to reduce microorganisms and chemicals present on the fruit’s surface before serving them to babies. You can also peel the apples, but remember the skin has many benefits for your baby.
Remove the seeds before you serve the apple to your baby. These seeds contain amygdalin- a chemical compound. Amygdalin releases a poisonous gas called cyanide when it interacts with digestive enzymes. These seeds are only harmful when taken in a good quantity. One or two seeds will not be poisoning but could cause choking. See the sections "How to buy" and "How to prepare and offer" for more information about safely offering apples to babies.
Is apple a choking hazard for babies?
Apples are listed as a common choking hazard by the CDC's and by five other international groups. Hard foods can be extremely dangerous for young children. Raw apples or dried apple pieces can be easily lodged in the back of their throat, blocking airways. To minimize the risk, cook apples until soft (ideally soft enough to smash with your fingers but not so soft that it falls apart when your baby tries to pick it up), and avoid cutting raw or cooked apples into big chunks. Sticks/strips about the length and width of an adult pinky or bite sized square cuts about the size of a garbanzo bean are best. If offering raw apples for kids under two shredding it would be the safest.
This workshop covers everything you need to know for dealing with gagging, reducing the risk of choking during mealtimes, and offering safe food sizes and shapes to your child.
Note: Keep in mind that any food can present a risk for choking if not prepared correctly. You are responsible for following age and food modification guidelines provided in order to reduce your baby’s risk for choking.
Is apple a top food allergen for babies?
Apple allergy is rarely found in babies, but some children and adults may develop a reaction to apples called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) and it’s a form of contact allergy dermatitis, which mostly occurs among those who are allergic to the birch tree pollen. A few proteins found in an apple may trigger the allergic reaction, which displays symptoms such as swelling and itchiness of the mouth, lip, tongue, and throat. The symptoms are not very severe. If you find any swelling or inflammation around the mouth and lips of your baby, consult your healthcare provider.
Not all varieties of apples are allergic. Also, cooking apples before you serve them to your baby may reduce the risk of a reaction. If your baby is allergic to birch pollen, make sure you introduce the apple in small quantities.
Whenever you give your baby apples (or any other food) for the first time, offer it in small quantities, and watch for any signs of a reaction. If your baby seems to tolerate the food well and you see no adverse reaction, then continue to gradually increase portion sizes when you offer it again to baby. If your baby shows any symptoms like diarrhea, skin hives, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling of mouth, weakness, or dizziness after the consumption of apples, consult your healthcare provider. These symptoms can be a sign of parsnips allergy or intolerance.
Note: Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding introducing solid foods to your baby, and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.
Apples and your baby’s dental health
The American Dental Association suggests that frequent consumption of acidic foods can erode tooth enamel. Apples do have some amount of acidity, and a study noted that the erosion caused by the fruit was even greater than orange. Apple fruit juice could be more acidic than the whole fruit. While the juice should be avoided at this age, the benefits of eating the whole apple outweigh the risks. Fruits seldom cause extensive tooth decay by themselves. Nevertheless, you can offer a sip of plain water to your baby after they’ve eaten an apple to neutralize the acidity and it’s always a good idea to rinse their mouth with some water after eating a meal or a snack anyway.
How to buy apples for babies
For your baby, choose apples that have more of a natural sweetness, mild flavor, and less acidic content. These include Gala and Fuji- they are the best options for your baby’s digestive system and developing enamel. Here are some other tips for choosing good apples:
Pick fruit in which the skin is firm to touch.
Avoid apples that are noticeably soft, discolored, or indent easily after you press the skin
Avoid fruits with spots that are rotten, dark brown, or too soft
Sniff the apple and select the one with a fresh sweet smell
Choose an apple that is free of blemishes and bruises and feels firm when you grip it
When are apples in season?
The season of apples varies according to the climate and type. Different types of apples are harvested in different months. The weather highly affects the harvesting period of apples. In the US, apples are normally harvested from late July to early November.
★In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. They also tend to cost less compared to out-of-season produce. Seasonal produce in your area will vary by growing conditions and weather.
How to store apples
Apples will keep up to eight weeks when stored whole in a well-ventilated, dark, and cool area. The storage time will vary depending on the variety. Most apples, when properly stored, can stay fresh for as long as 3 to 4 months under refrigeration. After washing, dry the apples well to prevent mold. Separate bruised apples from the good ones before storing. Wrapping apples in newspaper and separating the fruits can help prolong storage life as well. Consume big apples first, as they do not store well.
How to prepare and offer apples to babies
To safely offer apples to your baby, first wash them with water, then remove the seeds and stem. Peel and cook raw apples into a soft texture until your child is old enough to manage eating the raw fruit. You may steam, bake, or roast it. You can also boil it, but this method causes the most loss of nutrients. For safe age-appropriate preparation suggestions, see below.
Food demo video: preparing and offering apples to babies
★Tips for cleaning apples
Apples can be washed by using just tap water, if they’re visibly clean.
Apples stained with dirt and debris can be cleaned with vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with 3 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Shake the bottle well to mix the water and vinegar, then spritz the apples with vinegar solution. Vinegar not only removes dirt but bacteria as well.
Apples may be coated with wax, and while food-grade wax is safe to eat, you can still remove it, if you wish. Rinse each apple in lukewarm water scrubbing away the dirt and debris. Then mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of baking soda per 3 liters of water and soak apples in it. Gently scrub the apples until the wax has gone. Finally rinse the apples again in warm water and dry using paper towels.
Purees: wash and peel the apples. Cook them until they are tenderized. Make a puree of these apples by using a blender, food processor, fork, or potato masher. Add a little water, breast milk, formula milk, or yogurt, to get the desired texture. You may add any desired spices, avoid adding salt and sugar. Offer via spoon feeding or by preloading a spoon that your baby can bring to their mouth independently.
6+ months: mashed or puree on a baby spoon
Don't get stuck on purees! It's completely ok to start with only pureed foods, if that feels more comfortable to you. However, keep in mind that purees are just a transitional phase into finger foods. It shouldn't last for more than a few days or a couple of weeks. Aim to start exposing your baby to lumpy and finger foods no later than 8 months, unless otherwise advised by your baby's health care provider.
Finger food 6 to 9 months old: At this age babies are only able to grab food with their whole palm, so bigger pieces of food tend to work best. To offer apples to your baby safely, you need to peel and cook the fruit. First, peel the apple, then cut it into halves or quarters and remove the core, seeds, and stem. Then cook it as recommended above. Let apple pieces cool and serve it to your baby by placing it on their tray or in their hand to encourage self-feeding. You may also mash the apples to make a puree. You can add some cinnamon or any other spices in this step to enhance the flavor. Preload a spoon with mashed apples and give it to your baby so they can bring it to their mouth on their own.
6+ months: cooked apple, cut it into halves or quarters
Baby Z, 6 months, eating steamed apples
Baby M 7 months, eating apple
If you want to offer raw apples to young eaters, the safest way would be by grating the apple and mixing it with foods like oatmeal or yogurt (you don’t have to remove the peel if grating the apple). Or add grated apple into a preparation like a chicken salad, for example. You can offer a grated apple on its own, but since babies at this age might not have developed pincer grasp yet, they could get frustrated trying to pick up the small pieces of apple. It makes it easier for them to grab grated apples if you offer it in a suction bowl so they can scoop it with their hands.
6+ months: raw grated apple mixed into creamy foods or added to preparations
Finger food 9 to 12 months old: can continue to offer apples to your baby, as suggested above. However, at this stage, babies begin to use their pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up small pieces of food, and some babies might not be as interested in big pieces of food anymore. So you can move into bite-size pieces of food about the size of a garbanzo bean. Cook the apple as recommended above, let it cool, cut into small cubes and offer it to your baby by placing pieces on their tray to encourage self-feeding.
Baby L 10 months, eating apples
9+ months: cooked apple cut into small cubes
Since most babies at this stage have developed their pincer grasp, they will have an easier time (compared to younger eaters) picking up the pieces of grated apple. If your baby already has a few teeth, you can also start offering very thin (like paper thin) slices of raw apples. If grating apples or cutting into paper thin slices, you don’t need to remove the peel.
9+ months: raw grated apple on its own
9+ months: raw apple cut into paper thin slices
This is also a great stage to start mixing apples with other foods and making preparations, since your baby should have already been exposed to a few different foods, and you probably already ruled out some of the possible food allergies or intolerance.
Finger food 12-18 months old: continue to serve bite-size pieces of apple or larger pieces, as suggested above. Offer them with special dips like yogurt, banana or strawberry puree, or coat the apple slices with the dip to make it more attractive for your baby, as the texture and color of food highly affect the baby’s choice of food at this age. If offering raw apples, continue to grate or slice into paper thin slices. Depending on your little one’s chewing skills, you may start offering apples without peeling it. Encourage the use of utensils, but don’t force it. Sometimes our little ones get tired of using utensils, and they might prefer to use their hands. This is completely normal!
Baby Z 15 months, eating a whole apple
Finger food 18+ months old: as your toddler gets more teeth and they advance in their chewing skills, you may start offering slices of raw, unpeeled apple a little thicker than the paper thin slices suggested above. Then gradually increase the thickness of slices, working your way up to offering a whole apple. Always being with your child when they are eating is one of the best practices to prevent choking, especially when offering challenging foods like raw apples. Also, avoid feeding your little ones as they move or when they are seated in a car seat or stroller, as this increases the risk of choking.
Little L, 2 years old, eating a whole apple
18+ months: at your discretion, gradually increase the thickness of raw apple slices offered
18+ months: may start working your way up to offering a whole apple
Note: Finger foods are small pieces of food that your baby can pick up and eat easily. Introducing finger foods early, as soon as starting solids, helps your baby get used to different food textures, improves coordination and encourages self-feeding. These are important feeding skills. Babies can enjoy soft finger foods before they have teeth. They can mash foods into smaller pieces using their gums.
⚠️Avoid putting finger foods or whole foods in your baby's mouth for them. Your baby must do this at their own pace and under their own control.⚠️
Apple meal ideas for babies:
Combine apples with a high-cal & iron-rich foods for a complete meal.
Apple blends perfectly with cereal, many other fruits, vegetables… and even meats!
Try pairing cooked apple with pear, avocado, banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip, pork or lamb, and nut butters.
Add shredded apple to baby's oatmeal or yogurt and let them scoop it with their little hands.
As always, discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. This post and this site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. The materials and services provided by this site are for informational purposes only.
Library Symbol Legend
Here in our Food Library we use some symbols or emojis to make it easier for you to find what you need. Listed below are the symbols we use and what they mean.
🔥 - this is a high-calorie food. You should include a high-calorie food at each meal.
💪 - this is an iron-rich food. You should include an iron-rich food at each meal.
🌈 - this is a colorful food. You should include a fruit and/or a vegetable at each meal.
🥇 - this food is a great choice for baby's first food.
🌱 - this food is a great choice for plant-based babies.
💩 - this is a food that helps prevent or treat constipation.
🥜 - this food contains peanuts, a common food allergen.
🍳 - this food contains egg, a common food allergen.
🐄 - this food contains cow's milk, a common food allergen.
🌾 - this food contains wheat, a common food allergen.
✳️ - this food contains soy, a common food allergen.
💮 - this food contains sesame seed, a common food allergen.
🌰 - this food contains tree nuts, a common food allergen.
🐠 - this food contains fish, a common food allergen.
🍤 - this food contains shellfish, a common food allergen.
⚠️ - this food is a common choking hazard. Make sure to follow age and preparation guidelines.
★ - tips, tricks, and hacks.
Apple | Storage. (n.d.). https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/apple/storage
Apples. (2021, October 5). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/apples/
Choking Hazards. (2022, February 25). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/choking-hazards.html
Grobler, S. R., Pj, S., & Kotze, T. J. V. W. (1989). The degree of enamel erosion by five different kinds of fruit. Clinical Preventive Dentistry, 11(5), 23–28.
Hyson, D. A. (2011). A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health. Advances in Nutrition, 2(5), 408–420. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.111.000513
Nutrition - Apples and More - University of Illinois Extension. (n.d.). https://web.extension.illinois.edu/apples/nutrition.cfm
O’Neil, C. E., Nicklas, T. A., & Fulgoni, V. L. (2015). Consumption of apples is associated with a better diet quality and reduced risk of obesity in children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2010. Nutrition Journal, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-015-0040-1
Zimmer, S., Kirchner, G., Bizhang, M., & Benedix, M. (2015). Influence of Various Acidic Beverages on Tooth Erosion. Evaluation by a New Method. PLOS ONE, 10(6), e0129462. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129462