Whether you're lucky enough to find fresh apricots at your farmers market, or if you can only find them canned or dried, apricots are a fantastic, nutrient-dense food for baby! Their golden-orange hue tells you that they are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin C. When baby is 6 months or older, apricots are fabulous finger foods and great for purees. Liven up baby's breakfast, lunch or dinner with steamed, boiled or baked apricots!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Apricots
- Vitamin C - helps to form and repair red blood cells, bones and tissues. It also helps baby's gums stay healthy and strengthens blood vessels. This helps minimize bruising from falls and scrapes!
- Vitamin A - very important for baby's vision, bone growth and immune system
- Thiamin - a B Vitamin that is essential for baby's brain development and aids the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles and heart.
- Riboflavin - another B Vitamin that helps baby's body produce energy. It promotes growth, good vision, healthy skin and is important for bone and muscle development.
- Niacin - another B Vitamin! This one helps keep skin and gums healthy by maintaining good blood circulation.
- Potassium - an electrolyte mineral that works with sodium to control water balance and healthy blood pressure.
- Phosphorus - this mineral is crucial for building baby's bones and teeth.
- Magnesium - very important mineral that keeps bones strong, the heart rhythm steady and supports the immune system.
- Calcium - very important for building healthy bones and teeth
- Iron - responsible for making hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin is oxygen-carrying and without it, baby may feel tired and weak.
Will Apricots Have a Laxative Affect on Baby?
The high fiber content in apricots makes them have a laxative effect, especially when fed to a baby with an immature digestive system. Because of this, it's important to wait until your baby is 6 months old to introduce apricots. If you decide to introduce foods before 6 months of age, it's important to offer other fruits first (bananas, avocados, applesauce) before introducing apricots.
How to Select and Store Apricots for Baby Food
Good news! According to the EWG, fresh apricots aren't on the "dirty dozen" foods list that are most highly contaminated with pesticides. Going organic is completely up to you, but if you do decide to buy conventional apricots, it's important to peel the skins before eating or using for baby food. You can also purchase canned apricots, but make sure you purchase a variety that is canned in unsweetened liquids.
When is comes to going organic, pay close attention to dried apricots. Non-organic dried apricots are often treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their beautiful orange color. These sulfites can cause reactions in certain individuals, especially in babies with asthma. Even though the organic dried apricots will be darker in color when compared to conventional, it's important for baby!
When grocery shopping, you want to look for plump, fairly firm apricots that are a deep orange or yellow/orange color. You will want to avoid any that are pale yellow in color or have green spots. Apricots bruise easily, so look for those that are unblemished and are still firm to the touch. An overripe apricot will be squishy, but would still be a good choice for a baby food puree.
Cooking and preparing apricots for baby is easy. They are delicious as they are, but they need to be cooked for babies 6 months and younger to increase their digestibility. The easiest way to cook apricots is to steam or simmer them for a few minutes. You could also bake them (yum!). If you are choosing to use dried apricots for a puree or finger food, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes so they can soften. Dried apricots have a higher sugar content than fresh, so fresh is always best if you can find them! Prepare canned apricots the same way you would a fresh or cooked apricot.