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Get To Know Your Stone Fruit

Metal bowl of fresh peaches

As summer approaches, stone fruit is beginning to ripen and land at Zupan’s! These fleshy fruits get their name from the pit in the center of the fruit, which resembles a stone but is actually the seed of the fruit. Most stone fruit originated in China, but today the US market of stone fruit is primarily grown in California. Since stone fruit does not ripen after being harvested, they are picked at their peak and are only good for a short amount of time, making them highly seasonal. Stone fruit is best known as an eat-over-the-sink snack or as the featured ingredient in pies and cobblers. But don’t be afraid to experiment with stone fruit in salads, on the grill or in salsas and jams!

 Peaches

One of the most popular stone fruit, peaches come in both white and yellow varieties, and are known for their fuzzy skin and large pit. White-fleshed peaches have low acidity and typically are a bit sweeter than yellow peaches. Peaches have a relatively short growing season from June to September, which makes them highly sought after fruit during the summer. Perfect for grilling, baking into a pie, or eating over the kitchen sink! Make sure to choose peaches with an even underlying golden tone and that smells like delicious ripe peaches!

 

Nectarines

Just like peaches, but without the fuzzy skin. Contrary to popular belief, nectarines are not a cross between a peach and a plum. Nectarines are smooth on the outside and a bit firmer, but taste similar to peaches. You can use nectarines in any way you would use a peach. Nectarines are a bit more travel friendly than peaches because of their firmer texture, so throw one in your bag for a mid-morning snack! The best way to enjoy a nectarine is to let it sit out at room temperature until soft to the touch, allowing it to become increasingly juicy and sweet.

 

Apricots

A smaller golden stone fruit with velvety skin and flesh. Apricots are more tart than other stone fruit, but still creamy in texture. They are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin A, helping to boost immunity to colds, healthy skin and good vision. Use apricots to make homemade jams and jellies. The skin of an apricot is packed with pectin, which gives jams their thick consistency. Ripe apricots are also great for baking.

 

 

 Plums

Did you know the color plum was named after the fruit? After all, plums are wildly popular as the second most cultivated fruit in the world. All plums are thin-skinned and super juicy! Make sure you have a napkin on hand when enjoying this stone fruit raw. Like all other stone fruit, plums really shine in baking. You can also toss plums in salad for an extra kick of sweetness. Plums have the longest growing season of stone fruit – from spring through early fall.

 

 

 Pluots

75% plum and 25% apricot, this fruit was developed by fruit breeder Floyd Zaiger in Modesto, CA. Floyd’s hope in creating a pluot was to achieve the flavor of a plum with the sturdiness of an apricot. Pluots have light red to purple speckled flesh, and are sweeter than just a plum. If you’ve never had a pluot, make sure to try one raw first to embrace the deliciousness!

 

 

Choosing Stone Fruit

Gently squeeze on the shoulders of the stem side: they should yield slightly.

Storage

Store fruit in an open bowl at room temperature. To speed up ripening process, place in brown paper bag.