Stone Fruit Szn!
Seasonal Stone Fruits Are Here!
Stone fruits get their name from the pit or "stone" in their center that is encased in a fleshy outer area. Also known as drupes, stone fruits tend to have thin skins that may be fuzzy or smooth. The pit is actually a large seed, and stone fruits can be either cling-stone or freestone depending on how easily the flesh pulls away from the seed. Since most stone fruits won't ripen after being harvested, they're picked at their peak and only good for a small window of time. This makes them highly seasonal, with different stone fruits arriving at different seasons.
This week our offering of stone fruits will include:
Peaches One of the most popular stone fruits, peaches have a furry skin and a large pit. Like some other stone fruits, they can come in either clingstone or freestone and white or yellow varieties. They can even come in flat, round varieties that resemble donuts. No matter what kind of peach you go with, they're great for grilling, or adding to cobblers and pies.
Plums have a thin, smooth skin and super juicy flesh, so a napkin is always a good idea if you're eating them raw. Toss plums in salads, or bake with them to really bring out their flavor. The best thing about plums? They have a long growing season (spring through early fall), giving you all the more time to cook with them.
Cherries Cherries are the first stone fruit to make an appearance in spring, and they range anywhere from sour and tart to sweet and tender. Sour cherries are best for pies and other desserts. Sweet cherries are perfect for snacking, and they're high in melatonin, making them a great late night snack when you need some serious shuteye.
Nectarines are very similar to peaches, just without the fuzzy skin. They're also firmer, resembling the texture of an apple. Use them interchangeably with peaches—for grilling, baking, salad toppings, or simply eating out of hand.
Apricots resemble peaches and nectarines but tend to be smaller in size. Their flavor is tart, but their texture is rich and creamy. Apricots tend to be popular for making jam or drying, as their skin is rich in pectin (which gives jams and jellies their thick consistency). Like other stone fruits, ripe apricots are perfect for baking.
Hybrids: Pluots and Apriums
These hybrid varieties are all crosses between plums and apricots but differ based on the ratio of plum to apricot. Pluots are a majority plum, plumcots and apriums are more apricot than plum. They are also perfect for baking into a variety of dishes.
The possibilities of what to do with stone fruit are endless. The easiest way to enjoy them is on their own. There is nothing better than biting into a fresh, ripe peach or nectarine and trying to keep the sweet juice from dribbling down your chin. You can also turn them into pies, compotes, preserves, butter, or use them as an unexpected addition to savory dishes.