It's Stone Fruit Season! The 5 Best Healthy Ways To Use Summer's Best Fruit
If you heard what sounded like a very loud shout of joy coming from the direction of Brooklyn, that might've been me—but I won't apologize, because stone fruit season is finally here. Stone fruits are arguably (who are we kidding—decidedly) the best of nature's bounty. They're riotously sweet, with complex, layered notes that taste like everything good in summer—sun warming your skin, leisurely bike rides, fragrant flowers wafting on a balmy evening. They're also super healthy, containing anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetins, and catechins, phenolic groups that work synergistically to combat inflammation and lower the risk for obesity and diabetes.
While Alice Waters famously serves an unadorned peach on a plate as a dessert option at her famed Chez Panisse—and certainly, eating stone fruit plain is a wonderful option—here are five more ideas to use the perfect pieces of produce in everything you eat:
1. Throw them on the grill.
This clearly works better for larger stone fruit like plums, nectarines, or peaches (cherries would be wont to slip through the cracks), but grilled fruit is one of the great joys of summer. Simply slice your stone fruit in half, remove the pit, and brush it all around with avocado oil. Add a sprinkle of salt, then put it directly on the grill grates. When dark marks form, flip it and grill the other side. Served with some organic ice cream and a drizzle of honey, it's the perfect summer dessert. Bonus: You can use cut stone fruit along with veggies and protein options on skewers—they add a hit of floral sweetness to almost any combination.
2. Make a crisp.
Crisps are like pies, if pies were way easier to make than they actually are. The ultimate impressive but lazy dessert, crisps can be made with any cubed stone fruit (leave the skin on, as it adds texture and nutrients!). To make one, simply use your hands to make a sandy dough from 5 tablespoons cold unsalted pastured butter (sub cold coconut oil if you're vegan), 1 cup rolled oats, ½ cup coconut sugar, ½ cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon of mineral salt. Toss your cubed stone fruit (cherries can be simply halved) in a bit of arrowroot (this make the sauce thicker rather than runny) and place in an 8-inch pie pan. Top with your crisp topping and bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until the top is browned.
3. Do it salsa-style.
Tomato gets all the salsa love, but other fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically fruits) make wonderful bases for the Mexican staple. I love tossing diced peaches with red onions, green peppers, lime juice, torn cilantro, avocado oil, paprika, and a generous pinch of sea salt. The result is as great as a dip for chips as it is a quick topper to elevate a simple pan-seared fish. You can also keep a jar on hand and toss it with lettuce to make an instant salad.
4. Sangria, baby.
If you want the perfect healthy-ish summer cocktail, slice up your stone fruit (any varieties work, and a mix is even better!) and muddle it with some fresh mint. Top it with organic white or rosé wine and let sit for at least four hours or up to overnight in the fridge so that the flavors permeate. Drink it with sparkling water as a spritz or on its own, as a delightful refresher.
5. Get ready for your new favorite salad.
I particularly love to use stone fruit in grain salads—I love sliced peaches and halved cherries mixed in with a tangle of spicy arugula and chewy, nutty farro. Sometimes I'll eat it with just a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and other times I'll go a little fancier with the addition of preserved lemon, harissa paste, or fresh herbs. Either way, it's the perfect dish to eat alone or to bring to a potluck or picnic—this crowd pleaser will win you compliments every time.
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.