Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Elias & the Average-Sized Peach

So today when browsing the produce section for new “specimens” I saw some gorgeous peaches and knew right away this was the fruit for us.  Elias has never tried peaches before & I didn’t want him to be like his father & hate peaches.  I honestly have no idea why, but Drew hates all “stone fruits,” not just peaches.  “Stone fruits” of course being any fruit with a super-hard central pit like plums, peaches, nectarines, etc.  Elias just turned 6 months old today so I thought it would be good to start slowly introducing him to fruits.  You have to be careful with peaches because when they’re not ripe they can be rather tart & of course you do not need to add sugar, salt, or seasonings to baby’s food.   It’s not the end of the world if they’re a little bit tart, but it won’t be as easy to get your baby to eat it.  Peaches can be given as early as 4 months, but if you’ve read any of my previous blogs, I don’t think any fruit should be “first foods” because it is better to get babies used to non-sweet foods like vegetables so they don’t refuse them later on.  This was recommended by our pediatrician, Dr. Rennan Quijano who is like the “baby whisperer.”  We absolutely love him!

Fuzzy Fruit Facts:
Varieties of peaches include cling peaches and freeform peaches.  The difference between the two is that cling peaches will “cling” to the inner stone, whereas freeform peaches readily separate from the peach flesh when twisted like an avocado.  The most common grocery variety is the cling peach.  Cling peaches can be found in both white and yellow varieties.  White peaches are considered sweeter and less acidic than yellow peaches, but both make great baby food.  All parts of the peach are edible except for its inner pit which contains hydrocyanic acid, a solution of hydrogen cyanide, which is extremely poisonous.   The signs of peach pit poisoning are overstimulation, gasping, etc.  BIG, FAT HOWEVER: you won’t be poisoning your child unless you let her eat a peach pit, and if you know anyone who can eat a peach pit, I’d like to see that.  Wait, no I wouldn’t, that would be bad.  Don’t listen to morons uninformed people who say peaches are unsafe to eat.  The benefits far outweigh the risks.  I tend to scrape out the flesh surrounding the pit anyway because it’s slightly bitter, so that will eliminate any possibility of harming your kid.

Did you know the only difference between peaches and nectarines is that nectarines tend to be slightly smaller when ripe and more fragrant?  The obvious difference is that nectarines don’t sport the same fuzzy skin as peaches & they have a little more red on their skin, but that’s it!  So consider this a blog on nectarines as well.  Peaches are great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and have a considerable amount of fiber.  One medium peach packs over 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults!  Peaches are also a great “poop food” and are right up there with prunes when it comes to easing constipation.  That’s a good thing because not a lot of babies like the strong flavor of prunes.

When possible, do try to find organic peaches.  Peaches are #2 on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that tend to contain the most pesticides.  With peaches being so sweet and tender, they are a magnet for fruit flies and other pests.  However, the pesticides only accumulate on the skin of the fruit and I definitely do not recommend peach skin at this age, even if processed very fine.  Even if you’re going to skin the fruit, you should always wash your produce.  I read in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine a recommendation on washing fruits by washing them in cool water with a small amount of any kind of vinegar.  This will remove waxes, loose dirt, and the acidity will kill many germs.  You can read more about the EWG “Dirty Dozen” list at

Pretty much everyone has heard the old “put a peach in a paper bag and it will ripen” tale, but the truth to the matter is that no fruit or vegetable becomes “ripe” as it sits.  Ripening is a process which takes place on the plant, not on your counter or in a bag.  Peaches become softer and taste sweeter when left to age, but their sugar content does not change as it would if it were left on the tree to ripen.  To find a ripe peach in your store, find one that feels heavy for its size, firm but yields when squeezed, no squishy spots, and easily enough it will smell like a peach! It’s not very hard to find a good peach in the stores these days and if you’re lucky enough to live near an orchard you can pick your own.  Blammo!  Fresh peaches :D  Keep your eyes open for new blogs where I’ll feature more on the ripening process in various fruits and vegetables!

2 fresh peaches, makes about 

Fresh peach puree.
1. To easily remove the peach skin, cut an “x” on both ends of the fruit then place in your steamer basket (or a pot with about an inch of water) cover with a lid and let steam until tender.  The more ripe the peach, the less time it will take. 
2. Plunge into cold water to halt cooking (overcooking can result in loss of vitamins and minerals) and the skin should come off easily.
3. Cut peach in half around the pit then scoop out the pit and as much of the surrounding, reddish flesh as possible.  Place in food processor and process to a smooth consistency.  You should not need to add extra water as peaches are naturally very juicy.  Let baby enjoy!

-Elias's Mommy

Elias trying peaches for the first time!  His faces are priceless!

Sources: peach nutrition facts; peaches, nectarines; Environmental Working Group official website; Age by age baby food feeding guidethis website