Westlake Weekly Update 5.12.21
Featured Item: Stone Fruit
The most amazing thing happened the other day… I glimpsed my first cherry at my local market. Of course, as soon as I saw the bag of small ripe red cherries, Will Smith’s “Summertime” song starts playing on loop in my brain. If you haven’t noticed yet, I am very motivated by fresh produce and it usually has a soundtrack attached!
Working for a produce company, I am privy to all things fresh, and I know when seasonal items like peaches are coming, but it doesn’t stop me from getting giddy when I see my first stone fruit available for mass consumption.
And mass consumption will commence from May through the very last days, as I cling to my clingstone peaches!
One of the surest signs of summer is the appearance of stone fruits. You could almost say they are the essence of summer. We all have memories of a bowl full of peaches ripening on the counter, sticky sweet nectarine juice running down our chins, or spitting cherry pits in the backyard. We’re all familiar with these fruits, but do you know what they are?
Here’s what you need to know: stone fruits or drupes are sweet fleshy fruits with a large stone or pit within. Most people think the stone is the seed, but actually, the seed is protected inside the pit!
They are often sweet in flavor, thin-skinned, low in calories, and offer a nice helping of vitamins and nutrients. The most common stone fruits are nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries. Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know about each.
I could never choose a favorite. It’s a real Sophie’s Choice moment for me. But let’s start with cherries because they are the smallest but mightiest of the bunch. Powerful for the nutritional punch they pack! They’re a real summer treat with a super dose of vitamin C. They are linked to massive health benefits like heart health to exercise recovery. Plus, they even aid in better sleep! So stop with the over-the-counter sleep aids, and try a bowl of cherries before bedtime!
Peaches are loaded with natural goodness too. One medium peach (58 calories) delivers 17 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin C and some vitamin A and potassium. Peaches are fantastic for baking into tarts, crumbles, and blending into ice cream. Last summer I discovered white peaches, and I felt kind of bad because they took over my fruit bowl! They have a pretty pink blush, and they’re slightly sweeter and less firm than their yellow counterparts, which makes them a favorite for eating fresh or, better yet, with a nice firm cheese.
Now a common mistake I see people make is buying peaches when they meant to buy nectarines. It’s an easy mistake to make. They are varieties of the same species–but a nectarine’s smooth skin differentiates it from its fuzzy look-alike. Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C. A medium one delivers 13 percent of the Daily Value-plus potassium and vitamin A, all for just 62 calories.
I could write a whole page just on plums. They are so varied and complex. They range in color from silky black on the outside to bright green. The complex flavor is mainly due to the sweet flesh alongside the tart taste of the skin. Plums can almost do anything in the kitchen. Besides eating it fresh, they can be baked, grilled, roasted, or stewed! And they’re no stranger to the pickling pot! They are full of flavor, yes, but also full of antioxidants!
Last but certainly not least is the small sweet apricot! They are slightly overlooked next to their larger or brighter cousins, but these petite fruits are just as flavorful and nutritious. When perfectly ripe, they are sweet like a peach but with a few sour notes. They are also sturdy enough for use in everything from snacking to cooking. Bonus…one cup of fresh apricots has about 75 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and plenty of vitamin A and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that’s good for healthy eyes and skin.
No matter your favorite, these seasonal summer fruits come in like a soft, warm breeze but leave soon after we pack away our favorite pair of shorts. They’re a sweet reminder of summers long gone and summer days yet to come. Stone fruits are sweet, low in calories, and full of natural goodness. Whether you hear the music in your head or not, your taste buds will sing with each bite!