When can babies eat nectarines?
Fresh nectarines may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Background and origins of nectarines
Real talk: that luscious, juicy nectarine that you want to serve to your baby is actually a peach. The stone fruit are fraternal twins. They share much of the same genetic make-up, but nectarines lucked out with the gene for smooth, glossy skin. Sometimes a nectarine will even grow on a tree full of peaches, and vice versa. There are lots of varieties of nectarine and peaches to try, each with their own shades of blushed or golden skin and flesh that ranges from white to pale yellow to pink. And just like peaches, nectarines vary in taste, too; some are tart, others are tangy, and many are sweet.
Nectarines are super slippery once they’re cut up for little ones. Check out our serving suggestions and be prepared for a mess. It’s amazing how far nectarine slices fly out of tightly clenched little fists!
Are nectarines healthy for babies?
Yes. Nectarines offer a good amount of fiber to help your baby’s bowels move things along, plus they contain a little vitamin A and vitamin C which support immune health. And you’re your baby is ready, leave the skin on the fruit: nectarine skin in particular is high in carotenoids—the beneficial nutrients that convert to vitamin A in our bodies and act as antioxidants that keep us healthy.1 Be sure to buy fruit from a trusted source and always wash the skin before serving: nectarines are among the top fruits with the most residue of pesticides at sale.2
Can’t get fresh nectarines? Avoid canned nectarines and opt for an alternative fresh fruit. While their nutrient profile is similar to fresh peaches, canned nectarines are often preserved in syrups that add lots of sugar to baby’s diet.3
Are nectarines a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Nectarines can be firm and slippery, two qualities that can increase the risk of choking. Nectarine skin can also cling to the back of the throat. To reduce the risk, serve nectarines in thin slices without the skin.
Are nectarines a common allergen?
No. Allergies to nectarines are rare, though individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (or who are allergic to birch pollen or certain grasses) may be sensitive to nectarines.4
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity on its own for the first couple of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
How do you prepare nectarines for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Serve nectarine halves with the pit removed. If you are comfortable with it, leave the skin on, as the texture helps your baby’s grip. At this age, babies often suck and scrape the flesh and spit out any skin that gets in the mouth. If your baby eats a too-large piece of nectarine or nectarine skin, coach your child to spit it out by sticking out your own tongue. Refrain from sticking your fingers in your baby’s mouth.
9 to 12 months old: Offer thin slices of nectarine, or, if you feel comfortable, offer large halves or quarters, which will be easier for your baby to hold. While typically diced pieces would be offered at this age, diced nectarine are more easily swallowed whole by accident and may be too slippery for your baby to pick up, so be wary of going too small in size as you cut up the fruit.
12 to 24 months old: Continue with sliced nectarine, and as you feel comfortable, halved nectarines for biting practice. When you feel your toddler is ready, offer the whole nectarine, with the skin on.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Recipe: Nutty Nectarine with Mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons hazelnuts or nut of choice
- 2 ripe nectarines
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- Pulverize the hazelnuts with a mortar and pestle or in a mini food processor until they are finely ground. Spread evenly on a small plate.
- Wash the nectarines. Place 1 nectarine on a cutting board, stem side down so it doesn’t roll. Use a sharp knife to slice off a thin, round slice from one side. Continue to slice “rounds” from the first side until you reach the pit; then continue on the other side. Finally, slice off the nectarine flesh from the remaining two sides of the pit, and reserve these pieces for yourself or older children.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on the cut side of the nectarine rounds. This helps create a texture to which the nuts and cheese can stick.
- Gently press the cinnamon side of each nectarine “round” in the hazelnut meal.
- Use a fork to whip the mascarpone in its container until it’s spreadable, then use a butter knife to smear a dab of whipped mascarpone on the cinnamon/hazelnut side of each nectarine round. The mascarpone should stick when you spread it. If it slides off, don’t worry – this is an all over the nectarine – don’t worry! This is an acquired skill and takes practice.
- Serve the rounds to your baby and prepare for a mess!
Nectarines pair beautifully with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and fellow stone fruit like cherries, peaches, and plums. Their sweetness balances foods with lots of heart-healthy fats like nuts—almonds, coconut, hazelnuts, and pecans are favorites!—and creamy dairy products like burrata, mascarpone, mozzarella, ricotta, and yogurt. Nectarine also lend sweetness to savory dishes like salads with bitter or spicy greens like arugula, bok choy, kale, or watercress. Try adding splashes of citrus and sprinkles of spices like ginger or nutmeg to balance the sweetness.
- Gasparotto, J., Somensi, N., Bortolin, R. C., Moresco, K. S., Girardi, C. S., et al. (2014). Effects of different products of peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) from a variety developed in southern Brazil on oxidative stress and inflammatory parameters in vitro and ex vivo. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 55(2), 110–119. Retrieved July 10, 2020
- Environmental Working Group. EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved July 10, 2020
- Durst, R., Weaver, G. (2012). Nutritional content of fresh and canned peaches. Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture, 93(3): 593‐603. doi:10.1002/jsfa.5849 Retrieved July 10, 2020
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved July 10, 2020