Your Guide to Summer Stone Fruits

Around this time of year, it's good to make the most out of a number of fresh summer fruits and vegetables like watermelon, squash, corn, and strawberries. They're juicy, sweet, and overall taste the best right about now. Other summer fruits, also known as stone fruits, are also ones to embrace. Peaches, plums, apricots, mangoes, nectarines, and cherries are all considered stone fruits. You can always find these fruits at the grocery store, but they're in peak season from June until September or late summer.

They share a few common qualities: they're warm weather fruits, they have a hard pit or seed in the center, they have soft outer skin, and they all contain a number of health benefits. These fruits are also perfect for sweet and savory dishes and especially hold up well when grilling. Check out our guide of summer stone fruits to take advantage of this summer.

Peaches

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Peaches are native to China and are considered part of the stone fruit family due to the hard pit in the center. This fuzzy stone fruit is a popular one around this time of year. Peaches come in two different varieties: freestone varieties (the hard pit separates easily from the flesh) and clingstone fruit (the flesh clings to the hard pit making it harder to remove). Look for fruit with an outer skin that's a vibrant red-orange color and soft to the touch. Peaches also contain a number of health benefits and are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber.

Slice up a few of these beauties for a summer peach pie, toss a few halves on the grill for grilled peaches, or mix up a batch of peach iced tea (try it spiked too).

Plums

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One of my favorite stone fruits is plums. They're so juicy and you can't beat the variety of gorgeous colors. I always stock up on plums when I'm headed to the beach-they make the best refreshing and healthy beach day snack.

Plum varieties are broken into two groups: Japanese plums, which are basically red plums, black plums, and yellow plums. They're round and very juicy and what you would find at most grocery stores. European plums are smaller and oval shaped with yellow flesh and dark purple skin. European plums are commonly used for prunes or fruit spreads.

Plums and prunes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They're especially rich in vitamin A to help with strong bones as well being high in fiber. Plums are perfect in a tart for dessert or even sliced raw over ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Apricots

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Apricots, which are typically yellow and orange in color, are small but full of sweet flavor. They're great to use in baking and have a nice, thin outer skin. You can consume the fruit as is, but apricots are also commonly found dried.

Apricots are loaded with vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E and are a good source of dietary fiber.

Mangoes

If you're looking for a tasty and tropical stone fruit, mangoes are your best option. Once ripe, there really juicy and actually really good for you. They're high in vitamin A and vitamin C and can also help to improve digestion. Mangoes are pretty tricky to cut, so make sure you know what you're doing before slicing into one!

Nectarines


Nectarines are another delicious stone fruit which are pretty similar to peaches, except they have a smooth outer skin. Nectarines come in yellow and white varieties and just like peaches, freestone and clingstone fruit.

You don't want to miss stocking up on this amazing fruit- bake with them, eat them raw, throw a few on the grill, you name it! I love adding some sliced nectarines to sangria as well.

Cherries

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You know it's summer when the cherries come out at the grocery store! I can't get enough of cherry season, which is actually pretty short (May through August). There are two types: tart or sour cherries (Montmorency, morello) and sweet cherries (Bing, rainier cherries). Sour cherries are great for pie fillings or jams while sweet cherries are perfect for healthy snacking.

It's also said that some sour cherry varieties contain melatonin, which can help improve sleep.

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