When my daughter first started eating solid food, I avoided feeding her grapes at all costs because they're a major choking hazard. Occasionally, I would cut them into quarters or even eighths to make them safe, but I rarely had time for that. The few times I did feed her grapes, she gobbled them up faster than I could cut them into their tiny little pieces.
Clearly I had a problem: my daughter loved grapes, but I hated serving them to her. Enter: the OXO Tot Grape Cutter. I had seen other moms use this gadget, but for some reason, it took some convincing for me to shell out the whopping $10. In hindsight, I would pay double, even triple for this little time-saver.
Here's everything you need to know about the OXO grape cutter, mama.
How the grape cutter works
The grape cutter is spring-loaded, and when you push the plunger, the grape slides over the blades at the bottom. Simply put the grape into the hole, press the plunger, and watch four perfectly-cut grape quarters pop out the bottom. You can literally have a whole bowl of grapes cut in about a minute or two.
It also works well to cut cherry and grape tomatoes. The opening in the cutter fits most grapes and tomatoes, but occasionally I get one that is too big. When this happens, it usually smashes the grape rather than cuts it.
Be careful when cutting grapes near kids. Fortunately, no little fingers have gotten stuck in mine, but I can imagine the sharp blades that slice right through grapes would easily cut fingers. The cutter does have a cap to cover the blades when not in use.
I will admit that cleaning the grape cutter is not my favorite thing in the world. After cutting grapes, I usually give it a quick wash in the sink, but every week or two it definitely needs a deep clean. This entails unscrewing the cutter and cleaning five pieces individually. It can be tempting to skip this regular deep clean, but it's absolutely necessary. I find that if I let it go too long, there is mold inside when I finally take it apart.
Why are grapes choking hazards?
To some, this probably seems like a lot of fuss over a little gadget designed to cut one type of food. To a mama like me who fears choking, it's quite literally a life-saver.
Many parents know they are supposed to cut grapes, but some aren't aware that they need to be cut lengthwise, not widthwise. And particularly for kids under two, they should be cut into quarters, not halves. Grapes need to be cut mostly due to their shape, so cutting lengthwise changes the shape, making them safer and less likely to occlude the airway.
My daughter is now three, so we've been using the grape cutter for over two years, and I have no plans of stopping any time soon. Grapes are now one of the quickest and easiest snacks I can prepare for her, and I have peace of mind while she's snacking on one of her favorite fruits.