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5 Stone Fruits You Haven't Put on Your Menu Yet

July 9, 2019

Although most people are familiar with peaches, plums and the standard red cherry, the stone fruit family has many lesser known members. Also known as drupe, and defined as a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a stone containing a seed in its center, stone fruit comes in all shapes, sizes, textures and colors. Further, while stone fruit is the perfect hand fruit companion for the hustle and bustle of summer, don’t limit yourself or your guests to just this application alone. Stone fruit pairs well with a diverse array of ingredients, both sweet and savory. Here are a few of our favorite varieties and recipes you should check out this summer:

 

Donut Peach

The Donut Peach is distinguished by its squat, round shape and a dimpled center, hence its appropriate name, although unfortunately it has no sprinkles. Much sweeter than the yellow peach, their velvet yellow-white skin is flushed with a rose coloring, revealing creamy, low-acidic flesh that becomes more and more juicy as the fruit ripens.

Premier Pairing: Grill this peach with watermelon and top with a balsamic reduction or let it star in Panzanella paired with arugula, fresh herbs and parmesan.

 

 

Pluot

As its name suggest, this drupe is a hybrid, three quarters plum and one quarter apricot. Borrowing the best qualities of both parents, pluots are best enjoyed at peak ripeness when they become sweet and juicy. Looking to give your dish a fun name? Smooth, pink-yellow-purple speckled skin also gives pluots the nickname dinosaur eggs.

Premier Pairing: Similar to tomatoes with their tight, thin skin and tender flesh, pluots go great with mozzarella in a spin off the traditional Caprese Salad. For a brunch entree, try them in a Monte Cristo with Swiss and turkey, and for dessert, soak them in sweet wine and top over ice cream.

 

Nectarine

Nectarines are the result of a natural occurring genetic mutation in peaches. Unlike peaches, they have smooth skin, and are firmer, smaller in size and more aromatic. Also sweeter than peaches, their name fittingly means ‘sweet as nectar.’

Premier Pairing: Elevate a generic entrée by making a nectarine-based sauce or salsa and serve topped over pork chops or swordfish. Thyme, mint and honey will make excellent pairings. You can also toss nectarines with shrimp, corn, tomato and tarragon dressing to make an excellent summer salad.

 

 

Rainier Cherries

Distinguished by their beautiful yellow and blush red coloring, Rainier cherries are a cross between the Bing and Van varieties. Sweet and complex with low acidity and a thin skin, they have the one of highest sugar levels of all stone fruit, giving them a creamy, almost caramel-like finish.

Premier Pairing: Pair Rainier cherries with goat cheese, olive oil and coarse salt on top of a crostini for an excellent bruschetta appetizer. For an option with more heat, sauté these cherries with onion and jalapeno for a unique salsa to top cheese and crackers, tacos, or even burgers. Wash it down with a refreshing Rainier Cherry Mojito muddled with mint, lime juice and sugar.

 

Apricot

This sweet-tart fruit has a light velvet fuzz covering its golden-orange skin. Although having been around for over 4000 years, the origin of apricots is still unknown, as some claim India, others China or even Armenia.

Premier Pairing: We recommend serving this small stone fruit broiled and topped with fresh ricotta, pistachio and basil. Or to play up the possibility of Indian roots, make an Apricot Chutney Curry Chicken and serve with Basmati rice. For a quick fix, toss them on the grill and pair with prosciutto, brie and honey or country ham, burrata and radicchio.

 

 

The best thing about stone fruit? Most recipes can use them interchangeably. Pick the ripest fruit you have, and the possibilities are endless.

 

Written by: Marianna Marchenko