Scrumptious Stone Fruit
This article was originally published in June 2017
Nothing captures the golden light of summer like the colorful shades of apricots, nectarines and peaches. Sweet and juicy, stone fruit — named for their hard pits — are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Often, the best way to enjoy them is all by themselves, but they are also wonderful in desserts, salads and savory dishes.
Grab some while they’re in peak season at your neighborhood PCC and celebrate the return of the sun!
Only available for a limited time, cherries’ short season usually peaks in early July. Two primary types exist: sweet and sour. Sweet cherry varieties include the deep red, plump Bing; the large and juicy Lapin; and the sweet, floral Rainier. Sour cherries are usually processed for canned pie filling, preserves and juice.
The spectrum of plum colors ranges from yellow and green to many shades of pink, purple and crimson. Italian plums are smaller and more acidic than the larger, juicier plum varieties. The first is better for cooking while the latter are best for eating out of hand. When dried, they become the fruit we know as prunes.
A plum-apricot hybrid, pluots consist of about 75 percent plum. While they look more like a plum than an apricot, their insides are soft and grainy. The flavor is sweeter and more floral than the plum’s firm flesh.
With a velvety skin, these pale orange fruit have peaches’ plump shape but are much smaller. Their faint tartness lies somewhere between a peach and a plum. They spoil easily, so refrigerate them quickly after ripening! The apricot-plum hybrid, apriums, have a slightly firmer texture and longer shelf life thanks to their cross-pollination with the hardier plum.
A fuzz-less genetic variant of common peaches, nectarines usually are smaller and rounder than peaches, but have a sweet, succulent flavor with a firmer texture. Most peach recipes can use nectarines interchangeably. PCC’s come from LaPierre Farms in Zillah, Wash.
Did you know?
Mangos are a part of the stone fruit family, too! Look for the late-season Keitt at PCC at the beginning of August for a firm and juicy option. It stays green even when mature, so squeeze gently to judge its ripeness.
Explore our collection of stone fruit recipes here, including Grilled Nectarine and Prawn Skewers, and Bread Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Arugula.