Cheers for Cherries!
Is there anything better than a fresh, sweet, crisp cherry? Cherries are only in season for a short while, but when they are, grab all you can and start incorporating this nutritious treat into baby’s diet! If you choose to introduce cherry’s before baby is 8 months, make sure to cook and then puree them so baby is able to digest the tough skins. Loaded with antioxidants and essential minerals, cherries are the perfect pick for babies or toddlers on a hot summer’s day!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Cherries
Healthy Fact! According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, just like blueberries and other brightly-colored fruits, cherries get their dark red color from their high content of anthocyanins, or antioxidants. Both sweet and tart cherries provide these healthy antioxidant substances, so eat up!
Vitamin A – important for baby’s vision and eye health, bone growth and helps to support the immune system
Vitamin C – helps to repair bones and skin tissues which helps baby’s gums and teeth stay healthy
Vitamin K – important for blood clotting in baby
Folate – a B Vitamin that helps baby produce healthy red blood cells and healthy growth and development
Potassium – an electrolyte mineral that works with sodium to control water balance and healthy blood pressure
Phosphorus – very important for building bones and teeth
Magnesium – this is an important mineral to helps to keep bones strong and heart rhythm steady
Calcium – important for building healthy bones and teeth in your rapidly growing baby
Cherries for Constipation?
Cherries are in the drupe family. They are related to apricots, peaches and plums and have a similar fiber content as well. This high fiber content in a cherry can have a slight laxative effect on the body. Waiting to introduce cherries until about 8 months of age will lessen the laxative effect since baby’s digestive tract will be more mature. A sweet cherry puree can be a great, natural, delicious way to relieve a baby or toddler of mild constipation!
How to Select and Store Cherries for Baby Food
Cherries are delicate and need to be handled with care. Cherries go bad quickly if they aren’t refrigerated, so when purchasing, look for cherries that have been kept in a cool place and are free of bruises. A plump, shiny cherry with the stem attached is what you are looking for! When you bring your cherries home make sure they go straight to the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
Since cherries are sadly only available for a short time each year, it’s good to know that they freeze well! Make sure to pit your cherries before freezing them in an airtight container, and enjoy their nutritional goodness all year round.
When prepping for baby, you can chop raw cherries for finger-foods or boil them for a sweet puree. If you think your baby would enjoy a cherry sorbet, it’s easy to do in a high speed blender! Add frozen cherries to a blender and puree until a creamy mixture is formed. Your baby will love all of the different ways they can enjoy this delicious fruit!