Stone fruits are one of the tastiest parts of summer’s abundant harvest. These fruits are made up of juicy flesh surrounding hard center pits. From June to September, you can enjoy peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines at the peak of their ripeness. Eaten raw, grilled, or baked, they add a delicious touch to any summer meal. Check out these random fun facts:
- Stone fruits grow best after moderate winters and steady spring temperatures.
Very low winter temperatures, harsh storms, and spring frosts can prevent stone fruit trees from flowering. Heavy rainfall can also injure the harvest of some fruits, such as cherries, and make others, such as nectarines, susceptible to rotting.
- The centers of stone fruits are either clingy or free.
Freestone fruits have center pits that are easily removed from the flesh and are therefore preferred for recipes that require large amounts of fruit, such as pies. Clingstone fruits, on the other hand, have pits that must be cut free and are often eaten as whole fruit.
- Stone fruits are one of the most versatile fruits. Like most fruits, stone fruits can be eaten raw or baked into yummy pies or cobblers. But unlike most fruits, peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are delicious when grilled. A simple brush of olive oil, salt and pepper, or cinnamon brings out their flavor and juiciness, making them a perfect summer treat. Once grilled, you can add stone fruits to salads, fish or chicken dishes, or as a topping for oatmeal or cereal. Try them on top of ice cream for a delicious dessert!
Lizzie McManus is a graduate student at Drexel University pursuing her M.S. in Human Nutrition. She plans to become a registered dietitian specializing in whole foods and plant-based nutrition.
Photo credit: FBM