Everyone loves a nice, ripe, juicy plum, especially since it’s packed with nutrients. Today, we look at plums and babies – can I give my baby plums?
The first time I heard about plums was when I heard of plum cake! Ironically though, most plum cakes we get these days don’t contain any plums at all; they’re made with raisins! However, plums are now widely available, and not just in gourmet food stores.
Plums are known to have originated in China around 470 BC. European plums are believed to have been discovered around two thousand years ago. China, Serbia, the United States, Turkey, Iran, India, Spain and Italy are the top producers of plums. The primary producers of plums in India are Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
The plum fruit is produced by the trees in the Prunus genus of the rose family. Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera), is the first variety of plum cultivated in South Asia. The plum is a drupe, as it has a pit (or stone) in the center, similar to a peach and apricot. Plums also come in different colors like red plums, green plums as well as blue and purple-skinned plums.
Plum season starts from late April through June in India. Kala Amritsari, Jamuni Meeruti, Satluj Purple, Kataru Chak, Alucha Black,Damson Plum, Late Yellow, Peshwari Kala, Howe, Titron, Alpha are some well-known plum varieties in India. Each variety offers different health benefits and they’re even used in traditional Indian medicine. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, B, C & K., minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Plums are eaten whole and are also incorporated in food products as an extract, pulp, powder or dried chunks.
Health Benefits of Plums
- Prevents heart disease
- Maintains heart health
- Prevents lung and oral cancer
- Lowers blood sugar
- Maintains blood pressure
- Treats anxiety
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevents muscular degeneration
- Improves memory power
- Boosts bone health
- Prevents constipation
- Maintains gut health
Can I Give My Baby Plums?
The impressive nutritional profile of plums makes it a great food for babies over 6 months. Only the flesh should be given, from plums that are soft and ripe. If the plums are not soft, they can be cooked and pureed instead. Plums also work as finger foods for babies over 8 months.
Care has to be taken when feeding babies plums due to the choking hazard. Be sure to remove the skin and the stone inside. When offering as finger foods, make sure the pieces are of the right sizes so baby can hold and chew on.
Plums are generally not known as a common allergen. Babies who are allergic to stone fruits or birch pollen might also be allergic to plums. However, it’s always better to be safe by following the 3-day rule and starting with a small quantity in the beginning. If your baby has trouble digesting it, then it’s better to wait for a while and then try again. If the baby displays symptoms like watery eyes, canker sores around the mouth, itchy rashes, abdominal pain, burning sensation in the mouth, swelling of the face or shortness of breath, he needs to be rushed to the doctor right away.
Tips for Buying and Storing Plums
When buying plums, choose ones with soft skin that give in a little when pressed. Plums should feel heavy for their size and should be free from bruises and spots. Avoid plums with shiny skin, that feel firm or are light green – these are unripe. Avoid over-ripe plums too, which will be all squishy.
Plums can ripen after plucking; just leave them at room temperature. To hasten the process, place them in a paper bag. Plums last for 2-3 days at room temperature and for a week in the refrigerator. Plums can also be frozen. Cut the plums into wedges and remove the pits. Line up the peeled and cut plums on baking sheets in a single layer. Put the trays in a freezer until the plums are frozen through. Then remove them from the baking sheet and pack the slices together in a plastic freezer bag. The frozen fruit wedges will last up to six months in the freezer.
Healthy Plum Recipes for Babies and Kids
- Plum Puree from Little Mashies
- Plum Banana Puree from GK Food Diary
- Plum Poppy Seed Oatmeal from The Healthful Ideas
- Honey Roasted Plums from The Iron You
- Plum Chutney from NDTV
- Banana Zucchini Plum Baby Puffs from Buona Pappa
- Plum Almond Sliced Baked Oats from Healthy Little Foodies
- Homemade Plum Fruit Leather Roll Ups from Amandas Cookin
- Banana Plum Smoothie from Piggy Out