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The Many Benefits of Stone Fruit

What is stone fruit? Learn about the multiple health benefits, as well as how to use stone fruit in the kitchen, with this expert guide and stone fruit list.

Summer isn’t truly summer until you’ve taken a bite of a perfectly ripe peach. Imagine it now: deliciously sweet flesh, the juice dripping down your chin. Honestly, is there anything better? Across the country, local farmers markets are offering a bounty of ripe, delectable stone fruit, from peaches and plums to cherries, apricots, and nectarines. Since these fruits ripen in the summer, enjoy them while you can!

Create this Summer Fruit Skillet Cobbler, with a variety of stone fruit. 

What Is Stone Fruit?

Stone fruit got its name because of the large, hard seed hidden inside the fruit’s sweet and juicy flesh. Another term is “drupe,” and it can also be used to describe the fruit of the genus Prunus. There are even different classifications of drupes, depending on how easily the stone can be removed from the fruit!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Mix features cherries, another stone fruit!

There’s truly a rainbow of options available today, and while the grocery store has more typical varieties, the farmers market is where you can really open your eyes to a world of new stone fruits! Just last week, I found lime-yellow colored Dolly Plums! From the palest blush of pink to the inkiest blue, these fruits come in a vast array of colors, enriching their beauty—and nutrition. 

Stone Fruit List

These are the major types of stone fruit, however there are hundreds of varieties of each type. While some options on this list are easily expected, others may surprise you!

  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Pluots
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Dates
  • Mangoes
  • Lychees

This Rustic White Peach Pecan Tart pairs peaches with pecans, marmalade, and cinnamon. 

What Are the Benefits of Stone Fruit?

Stone fruit has some intriguing health benefits. These fruits may potentially promote cardiovascular and metabolic protection, and even aid in exercise recovery, according to emerging research. These benefits may well be due to the colorful plant compounds known as phytochemicals, which paint the flesh of these fruits. Scientists have discovered concentrations of anthocyanins, procyanidins, and flavanols—particularly in their peels—so don’t throw that peel away! These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, which may help protect against chronic disease.

 So, get ready to plunge into summer’s harvest of these delicious fruits! 

Top Tips to Serve Up Stone Fruits

Try stone fruit on your next porridge bowl, such as this recipe for Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats.

1. Sliced Over Morning Porridge. 
Peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries—add a gorgeous pop of color to start the day off on a high and tasty note. Try mixing them into your cereal too. 

This delicious Zucchini Carrot Smoothie features fresh peaches.

2. Whiz Them Up!
Add chunks of your favorite stone fruits and blend them into a healthy, delicious smoothie. This is a great way to use up fruits that are a little overripe too. Try blending up frozen apricots, peaches, or cherries for a refreshing blast of cool on a warm day. Don’t be afraid to mix and match with other fruits and veggies for an unlimited source of flavor combinations. 

Try stone fruit in salads, such as this recipe for Nectarine Panzanella Salad featured in my book California Vegan.

3. Toss Stone Fruits into Salads
Bring new life to your go-to green salads and whole grain salads with tart cherries, sweet plums and peaches, golden apricots, or beautiful nectarines. They pair well with leafy greens and chewy whole grains, like farro. Garnish with your favorite nut or seed for added crunch and presentation.

Try serving grilled peaches as a side to savory dishes, such as a mushroom loaf or lentil patties.

4. Stone Fruits and Savory
This is a match worth making. Adding cherries, plums and peaches to savory dishes, such as pilaf or tofu curry brings out flavor in unexpected ways. You can cook them into your dishes for a more subtle effect, or you can mix them in just before serving for a fun burst of flavor and color too. 

This Apricot Almond Tart highlights stone fruit in a dessert. 

5. Make Fruit-Forward Desserts
These fruits are the star of summer desserts in my home. Peak season flavor means no sugar is needed—the best way to taste the flavors of summer peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries. Tarts, galettes, and pies showcase beauty as well as flavor, but what’s not to love about baking them into muffins, breads, and crisps? 

For other ideas, check out these recipes:

Peach Rosemary Olive Oil Crisp
Mango Carrot Ginger Smoothie
Creamy Peach Yogurt Parfait
Pistachio Cherry Coconut Crisp
Coconut Cherry Dark Chocolate Waffles

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