This week, we're celebrating stone fruit. From smoothies and salads, to sour cocktails and sundaes, there's no reason not to enjoy stone fruit all day long. We're also sharing tips for how to ripen, store and preserve stone fruit for the duration. And finally, a massive new product launch to look out for this fall--you might be surprised by the focus of the launch!
Produce of the week: Stone Fruit
There's something irresistible about the beckoning pyramids and trays of fresh peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots on display these days. And it seems like our choices have truly grown over the years.
When I was younger, I only remember having a few options. Peaches and nectarines were the stars of the show, with plums and apricots playing supporting rolls. Of course there were red cherries too, but rarely white or yellow ones.
Head to the grocery store or market today, and you can select doughnut peaches, white peaches and nectarines, even hybrid pluots. We're all about the new colors, shapes and sizes stone fruit season brings. And we're always looking for the best ways to cook with these fuzzy fruits.
How to cook with stone fruit
When it comes to cooking with stone fruit, the possibilities are as endless as their shapes, sizes and colors. From cold to hot, sweet to savory, summer is the time to experiment with stone fruit at every meal.
Let's cover some of the best stone fruit recipes.
Top No-Cook Stone Fruit Recipes
- Strawberry Peach Bruschetta
- Vegan Peach Basil Coconut Yogurt
- Chocolate Cherry Beet Popsicles
- Peach Smoothie from She Wears Many Hats (sub non-dairy yogurt for vegan)
- Ripe Peach Popsicles from The View from Great Island
Best Stone Fruit Salad Recipes
- Vegan Grilled Peach Caprese Salad
- Nectarine Avocado Salad from Oh My Veggies
- Peach Blueberry Panzanella Salad
Best Stone Fruit Cocktail Recipes
- Bourbon Peach Smash
- Cherry Vodka Soda from How Sweet Eats
- Apricot Honey Bourbon Sour from Gastronom Blog
- Cherry Old Fashioned Smash from Creative Culinary
Best Stone Fruit Dessert Recipes
- Apricot Oat Bars (gluten free and vegan)
- Blueberry Nectarine Bread Pudding (gluten free and vegan)
- Gluten Free Stone Fruit Crisp from Oh She Glows
- Balsamic Stone Fruit Sundaes from Cookie and Kate
- Vegan Stone Fruit Galette from Occasionally Eggs
Food Waste Tip: How to Store and Preserve Stone Fruit
How to ripen stone fruit quickly
If you end up with not-quite-ripe stone fruit, there are a few tricks to ripening things up quickly. Store peaches and their cousins in a dark space, like a paper bag, kitchen drawer or cabinet. Check them every day, and after 2 to 3 days they should be ripe.
If you're in a serious rush to make a cobbler, you can always throw a banana or apple in there with the stone fruit. These fruits emit ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process for everyone.
How to store fresh stone fruit for the longest shelf life
Peaches, apricots, nectarines and cherries can all be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge once their ripe. They will last for at least a week, if you don't eat them all first.
Before they ripen, though, it's best not to store stone fruits in the fridge. The cold temps can make them get mealy, which isn't good for eating raw or cooked. That's with the exception of cherries, however. Cherries have the shortest shelf life in the stone fruit family, so don't buy more than you'll eat within a few days, and store them in the fridge to maximize freshness.
How to preserve stone fruit for the whole year
There are many ways to preserve stone fruit so you get some of that sweet summer flavor all year long.
Freezing is a great, and super simple, way to preserve summer fruit all year long. It's best to remove the skins before freezing. That way, when you want to whip up an apricot smoothie or a nectarine tart in the middle of winter, you won't have the sad texture of frozen-then-cooked fruit skin interrupting your meal.
To easily remove stone fruit skin, bring a pot of water to a boil. Then quickly dunk each fruit into the boiling water for no more than 30 seconds. Let the fruits cool until you can easily handle them and simply slide the skin right off.
After peeling your fruit, slice them into manageable pieces (they'll be much harder to cut once frozen!) and divide between sealable bags.
Stone fruits are some of the best fruits for canning. You can jar them on their own, with your favorite spices, or turn them into summary jams and marmalades to spread on toast.
Here are some of our favorite recipes to preserve stone fruits:
- Canned Fresh Peaches from Simple Bites
- Habanero Nectarine Jam from The View from Great Isle
- Apricot Preserves from Ball Canning
- No-Recipe Cherry Jam from David Lebovitz
And don't forget the all-important canning jars!
Currently Happening in the Food Industry
While we're still soaking in every last juicy drop of stone fruit season, a prominent member of the next harvest made headlines this week. In a lengthy (but worth it) and enticing California Sunday article, Brooke Jarvis covers the newsworthy rise of a new apple breed: The Cosmic Crisp.
This long awaited fruit, fathered by apple industry leader Bruce Barritt, a man who foresaw the fall of the Red Delicious long before his colleagues, will be launched this fall in Washington State. The launch, fueled by a $10.5 million marketing budget, has been called “the largest launch of a single produce item in American history.”
And with good reason. This new apple is a cross between the trendy and tasty (but difficult to grow) Honey Crisp, and the highly shelf-stable and reliable Enterprise. As Jarvis describes it, "The Cosmic Crisp has flesh that’s creamy white, is so dense that the apple feels heavy in your hand, and has a flavor that is pleasant, a bit more sweet than zing."
In addition to its unparalleled taste and much-applauded crunch, those Enterprise genes live on in the Cosmic Crisp. The breed lasts so long that 7 months post-harvest, each bite is as sharp and satisfying as it is fresh from the tree.
It will be interesting to see how this sort of well-funded disruption in the industry, driven by flavor and stability, will cross into other crops. While apples, with their ubiquity in grocery stores throughout the year, are certainly a crop to pay attention to, its fruit and veggie neighbors have preservation issues of their own. Farming industry leaders may learn from the breeding and research behind the Cosmic Crisp and apply similar methods to their own crops.
For now, look out for the great Cosmic Crisp at a market near you this fall, and if you have 10 minutes, give Jarvis' article a read. It covers much more about the turning tides of the apple industry and what to expect from producers in today's changing environmental and economic landscape.