Now that we’re at the peak of the summer season, it’s time to take advantage of stone fruits!
What are stone fruits, you ask? They’re peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries – basically any fruit that has a hard “stone” pit in the center. They’re at their peak from June to September, making now the perfect time to enjoy them.
Here’s how to make the most of these delicious summer staples:
How to pick them: Choose peaches with the most saturated skin color and avoid any green around the stem – those aren’t ripe just yet. Then given them a gentle squeeze. The right one should yield slightly, and not be too hard or too soft.
How to store: Once at home, don’t put fresh peaches in the refrigerator. Keep them out on your counter to ripen, stem side down. They’ll keep on ripening, so eat them fast!
Best uses: Peaches are great eaten out of hand and can also be roasted, grilled or sautéed. Plus, there’s always our delicious Grilled Stone Fruit dish.
How to pick them: Nectarines are almost like peaches, except with a smoother skin. When you’re trying to pick good ones, choose nectarines that have an orange or gold undertone. Ripe nectarines have a sweet, flowery smell.
How to store them: Like peaches, nectarines need to stay on your counter until you use them, unless they’re already ripe. Ripe nectarines should be unwashed and placed in a plastic bag inside your fridge.
Best uses: Grill them. Add them to a pie. Make them into jam. Freeze them for sorbet. Or you could always make our Nectarine & Blackberry Crostata!
How to pick them: When choosing a plum, pick it up and hold it in the palm of your hand. It should be heavy and firm, but not hard. The skin should be slightly dusty and richly colored, with no brown spots. If bought already hard, simply place them in a paper bag on your counter to let them soften.
How to store them: Just like peaches and nectarines, plums should be left at room temperature until ripe. Then they can be stored in the refrigerator, preferably in a sealed container or plastic bag, where they will last another 3-5 days.
Best uses: Just like the other stone fruit, the possibilities for plums are endless. Bake them into a pie, put them in a tart or toss them into a salad.