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Peak Season for Stone Fruits

Nectarines, cherries, mangoes, apricots, peaches and plums all fall under the name “stone fruits.” That’s because they contain large hard seeds (relative to the size of their fruit). Feel free to call them by whatever name you please. I like to call them delicious, nutritious and beautifully versatile! Right now is the best time to enjoy stone fruits because they’re native to warm climates and are at their peak from June through September.

Stone fruits can be grilled, sautéed, poached, baked, broiled and glazed, adding extra dimension to a wonderful meal. This Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Peaches is simply perfect for summertime backyard dining. Buffalo Mozzarella with Balsamic Glazed Plums, Pine Nuts and Mint is made with fresh purple plums gently poached in a reduction of balsamic vinegar. Pork Chops with Cherry Mustard Sauce is made with either fresh or dried cherries deglazed in white wine. 

Whether fresh or cooked, stone fruits are mostly interchangeable in recipes, so feel free to experiment and have fun. Here are my tips and ideas, plus more recipes:

  • Eat out of hand as often as desired (over the sink- they’re pretty darn juicy!)
  • Chop and generously garnish ice cream, frozen yogurt or any favorite non-dairy alternative.
  • Add to hot or cold cereal.
  • Add to smoothies and cold fruit soups.
  • Marinate, skewer, grill and serve. If desired, baste while grilling with favorite vinaigrette.
  • Use fresh or dried in pancakes, waffles, muffins and quick breads. Or chop fresh and use as a topping. 
  • Mash fresh and add a little lemon juice, raw sugar or honey and pinch of spice such as nutmeg or cinnamon; use as you would jam or jelly on biscuits, toast, French toast, scones and muffins.
  • Chop fresh or use dried in salsa recipes. Serve with grilled meats, fish, tempeh or tofu.
  • Enjoy some of our many stone fruit recipes:

Peaches

Apricots

Cherries

Mangoes

Nectarines

Plums

 

While stone fruits are awesome when eaten fresh, ripe and raw, dried varieties such as cherries and apricots add flavor, chewiness and natural sweetness to baked goods, desserts, salads, main dishes, trail mixes, jams, jellies and preserves. Brown Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Apricots, Dried Cherry Pecan Scones, Mango Tea Bread, and Wheat Berry, Apricot and Arugula Salad are good examples.

What’s your favorite stone fruit?  Got a good tip or recipe? Let me know.