Summer Stone Fruit Health Benefits
There’s nothing that reminds me more of summer than biting into a juicy peach. I also have really clear memories of packing the cooler full of plums to head down to the beach with my parents as a kid. Stone fruits are just symbolic of summer. Nectarines, cherries, mangoes, apricots, peaches and plums all fall under the name “stone fruits.” That’s because they contain big, hard seeds (relative to the size of the fruit). Most of them are in season from June-August, here’s a guide to stone fruit health benefits and the most common, delicious varieties: (1)
Plums come in shades of purple, yellow, green, red or black. They’re a great source of Vitamin K and an excellent source of Vitamin C. (2)
Tree-ripened cherries are sweet and juicy. The ones with the deepest red color are usually the sweetest. There are several cherry varieties but the ones you’re most likely to encounter are:
- Bing cherries—Large, heart-shaped and deep maroon in color, Bing cherries are firm, crisp and exceptionally sweet.
- Rainier cherries—Amber colored and blushed with pink, these extra-plump cherries are super-sweet and delicate. Scuff marks on the skin are a sign of high sugar content so beware if you’re watching your intake. (3)
Pluots are hybrid of plums and apricots. They’re really sweet due to high sugar levels and are available in a wide range of varieties. They’re high in Vitamins A and C! (4)
Peaches & Nectarines
Peaches may be white or yellow. The white variety—which is actually a creamy golden hue—is usually smaller and a bit sweeter than the deep rich yellow peach. Peaches and nectarines are a good source of Vitamin C!
There are two varieties of peaches and nectarines:
- Clingstone peaches and nectarines—They tend to be juicier and sweeter than freestones but are less convenient to prepare.
- Freestone peaches and nectarines arrive in late July and last through September. These fruits are great for out-of-hand eating because they can be split in half by hand!
Apricots have peaches’ plump shape and plums’ tartness. They spoil quickly so refrigerate them quickly after ripening! Apricots are an awesome source of Vitamin A and a good source of potassium. (6)
Mango comes in different shapes and sizes depending upon cultivar types. The flesh is juicy, orange-yellow in color and its flavor is sweet with mild tartness.Mangoes are rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds. (7)
Sam Swensen & Suja Juice
1. “Stone Fruits: Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apricots, and Cherries.” Penn State Extension. 2015. http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/stone.
2. “Plums & Prunes.” The Word’s Healthiest Foods. 2015. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=35.
3. Moore, Sarah. “Difference Between Rainier Cherries & Bing Cherries.” Home Guides. 2015. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/difference-between-rainier-cherries-bing-cherries-75330.html.
4. “Plumcots (aka Pluots®).” Plumcots (aka Pluots®). June 1, 2015. http://familytreefarms.com/products/plumcots/.
5. Layne, Desmond. “Different Kinds of Peaches.” – Dr Desmond Layne : Extension : Clemson University : South Carolina. 2015. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/video_everything_about_peaches/different_kinds_of_peaches.html.
6. “Apricots.” The Word’s Healthiest Foods. 2015. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3.
7. “What Are the Health Benefits of Mangoes?” Medical News Today. June 15, 2015. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275921.php.