When can babies eat pomegranate?
Pomegranate arils may be introduced as early as 6 months if flattened to reduce the choking risk. Check out our age-specific suggestions. Note that acidic foods like pomegranate seeds can cause or worsen diaper rash.
Background and origins of pomegranate
Pomegranates grow on beautiful, flowering trees and shrubs that are native to the Middle East. It is said that the finest pomegranates grow in Iran, where the fruit is a beloved snack and widely used to make juice, salsas, and syrups that are used in savory chicken, eggplant, and fish dishes. The fruit is also a terrific way to introduce tart, tannic flavors to your baby. Just be mindful of clothes and surroundings: while that gorgeous ruby color is sure to delight, it’s also guaranteed to stain whatever it touches!
Is pomegranate healthy for babies?
Yes! Pomegranate seeds are packed with goodness to support your baby’s development. They’ve got fiber; vitamins B, C, and K; zinc; and more than 150 antioxidants!
We recommend waiting to serve juice of any kind until age 2 to help avoid a preference for sweet drinks, so if you’re going to serve pomegranate juice, offer it as an occasional treat. The juice offers lots of beta-carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A to promote healthy eyes, immune system, and skin.1 But like all fruit juice, the pomegranate’s naturally occurring sugar gets super concentrated when the liquid is extracted from the seeds. Plus whenever a fruit is juiced, there is a loss of some of the beneficial effects of fiber and other plant compounds that help diversify our microbiome.
Is pomegranate a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Pomegranate seeds, because they are round and hard, are a choking hazard for babies under 12 months of age. Don’t be fooled by their small size: just like corn kernels, whole pomegranate seeds can be easily swallowed by accident. To reduce the risk, flatten each seed with the back of a fork before serving, or wait to serve pomegranate seeds until your baby can pick up small pieces of food and chew and swallow with ease.
Is pomegranate a common allergen?
Acidic fruits can also cause a rash wherever the skin comes into contact with it (typically this shows around the mouth, cheeks, and under the chin during the meal). If this happens, just pat the affected area with a cold washcloth (don’t rub) and it should dissipate after a few minutes.
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 mealtimes.
How do you prepare pomegranate for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 12 months old: Crush or flatten pomegranate seeds with the back of a spoon. Whole pomegranate seeds can be a choking hazard for babies up to age 12 months old.
12 to 18 months old: At this age your can serve whole pomegranate seeds on their own. Be careful when adding whole seeds to other dishes, as your baby or toddler may not understand the need to chew pomegranate seeds when they’re added to smooth foods like yogurt, and as a result, they may accidentally swallow whole seeds. Bottom line: it’s safer to serve whole seeds on their own until your little one is accustomed to chewing and processing them.
18 to 24 months old: Time to play! Serve pomegranate seeds on their own, incorporate them into savory dishes for added bite and tartness, and mix them to smoothies.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Want to remove pomegranate seeds from their rind without a big mess? Cut the fruit on the equator and hold one half cut-side down in your palm over a bowl in the sink. Holding a sturdy spoon in your other hand, gently tap the rind, rotating the half in your palm as you tap. The seeds will fall out of the rind and into the bowl in the skin. Wear an apron—juice may spritz on your torso as you tap!
Recipe: Roasted Eggplant with Pomegranate
- 2 eggplants
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 pomegranate
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash the eggplants and cut them lengthwise, from stem to bottom. Make crisscross cuts in the flesh of each half. Brush with olive oil.
- Roast the eggplants, cut side up, for 45 minutes. Let cool.
- While the eggplant is roasting, mince the garlic and sauté in a small pour of olive oil on medium-low heat until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let cool.
- Add the Greek yogurt and sautéed garlic with its oil into a mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
- Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Set aside 2 tablespoons of seeds and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for future mealtimes.
- Scoop the roasted eggplant flesh from its skin and transfer to two bowls: one for you and one for your baby. A bowl that suctions to the table works well here!
- Add a dollop of yogurt sauce to each bowl. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top and serve.
The sweet and tart flavor of pomegranate adds brightness to bitter, fatty, and earthy foods. Try serving pomegranate seeds with sautéed greens or fresh herbs (bitter); poached salmon or fresh cheese (fatty); and quinoa or farro (earthy). They also taste great with nuts. Try serving pomegranate with walnuts—a classic pairing in Middle Eastern cooking!
- Wu, S., & Tian, L. (2017). Diverse Phytochemicals and Bioactivities in the Ancient Fruit and Modern Functional Food Pomegranate (Punica granatum). Molecules, 22(10), 1606. doi: 10.3390/molecules22101606 Retrieved May 30, 2020
- Petersen, A., Kleinheinz, A., Jappe, U. (2011). Anaphylactic reactions to pomegranate: identification and characterization of eliciting IgE-reactive compounds. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 1(1), 88. doi: 10.1186/2045-7022-1-S1-P88 Retrieved May 30, 2020
- Kim, et al. Oral Allergy Syndrome in Birch Pollen-Sensitized Patients from a Korean University Hospital. Journal of Korean Medical Science. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e218. Retrieved May 30, 2020.