The Slippery Slope of Canned Fruit

a bowl of canned peaches before being prepared for babies starting solids

So I want to share a lesson I learned the hard way with all 3 of my babes. Which is this:
If your budget allows, start—and stay with—fresh food. The moment you slip into processed convenient food (such as canned mandarin oranges as Max is eating in the below video) it’s really hard to go back to the unprocessed, fresh food. (Same usually goes for pouches vs. the real food with baby acceptance.)
Why is this? It’s pretty simple, actually: processed food typically has added sugar in the form of condensed fruit juice (or just straight up corn syrup).. And babies love sugar.
Take these Dole “no artificial sweeteners added” mandarins that Max is eating in the below video. First the mandarins are plunged into a lye bath to melt away the pithy membranes that surround citrus, then they are canned in white grape juice (one of the sweetest juices in all the land). The result is a melt-in-your mouth, completely sleek and smooth mandarins. You barely have to chew. The babies love them, and I loved how easy they were.

Max, 11 months old, eats canned mandarin oranges. Because he was accustomed to the sweetened, smooth taste of processed mandarins, he didn’t enjoy fresh mandarins when offered those. Bottom line: always serve fresh fruit when you can, as it can be hard to go back once your baby tastes the processed version.

And guess what: when I went to give the babies fresh mandarins, they wouldn’t eat them.

Adie, 18 months, rejects fresh mandarins after being accustomed to canned mandarins, which are one of her favorite foods.

Any why would they eat them? They’ve only known a softer and sweeter version of mandarins with no annoying papery membrane.
But at 18 grams of sugar in one tiny cup (which is more than half of the suggested sugar intake for a one-year-old), they have to go.
So here’s a video for how to cut citrus away from the membranes to make citrus safe for babies (the membrane is a choking hazard). It’s super annoying to do with little citrus fruits like mandarins, but with time and practice, easy to do with grapefruit and regular-sized oranges. So get those paring knives out.

How to supreme (segment) a mandarin orange to make them safe for babies and baby-led weaning.
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