Summer Produce: It's all about the Stones
It's that time of year again - one of my favorites! Stone fruit season! Here on the east coast, July-August is prime time for stone fruits, but the season is short. Get them while you can! On any given day during the summertime, you'll find me consuming 2-3 servings of these juicy fruits per day! I can't get enough.
Stone fruits -- peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries -- got their nickname because their flesh surrounds a stone-like pit. But did you know these fruits are actually part of the Rose family? Almonds, surprisingly, are also a member of the same family! On the tree, an almond has a hard, green outer shell, with another layer of shell inside similar to a peach pit, before reaching the seed,which is what we know as the almond. Cool, right? (or am I just that nerdy?)
Storage and Use
Unlike other fruits like pears and apples, stone fruits don't hold well. Don't refrigerate stone fruits before they are ripe or they become mealy. Store at room temperature and allow the fruit to continue to ripen for a day or two until fragrant and soft. Eat or freeze within a week.
Stone fruits are rich in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber, and can be a great addition to any summer meal. They have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not spike your blood sugars after consuming.
Enjoy as a whole fruit in combination with a protein-rich food or healthy fat like a handful of nuts, string cheese or hard boiled egg for a balanced snack. Add slices to a cheese or Charcuterie board for an impressive party display.
Although delicious whole and fresh, stone fruits are versatile and flavorful, adding to any seasonal dish.
Grill: When cooked, stone fruits retain their natural, sweet flavor, but begin to caramelize, offering an intense crispy flavor and texture. Cut the fruit in half and remove the stone. Grill on high heat for a few minutes. Enjoy on a salad, with a protein like pork or chicken, or as dessert with a scoop of ice cream.
Roast: Roasting peaches, plums, or nectarines creates a sauce to use atop a dessert, breakfast food (like oatmeal), or in a main dish. Roasting for just a few minutes (10 minutes or so) allows the fruit to caramelize and brings out the natural sweetness but the fruit stays intact. Top with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola for a fun snack or dessert
Salsa: Don't pack it all away, slice and dice your fruit and mix with onion, lime, salt, pepper, and a few jalapenos if you're looking for a tasty kick.
Chia Jam: Extra peaches or nectarines on hand? Slice and simmer 1 cup fruit over low-medium heat to bring out the juices and break down the flesh. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds and refrigerate for a few hours. Delicious on toast or atop cottage cheese.
Freeze: Have a few fully ripe peaches on your hands but aren't ready to eat them yet? Slice and add to a freezer bag or jar for a delicious treat later!
Weigh In: What's your favorite stone fruit?