California is a blessed landscape of prosperous farming grounds year-round. This past Thursday, June 21st, was the first day of summer 2018 – when the sun is hot and the produce is sweet. Luckily for Californians, it’s #stonefruitseason, and these beautiful fruits can be prepared numerous ways. With a plethora of farmer’s markets and enticing produce all over Los Angeles, here are the best of the best southern California summer stone fruits and how to enjoy them…
Apricots appear as one of the smaller stone fruits, aside from cherries, and their sweetness and acidity make them absolutely delicious. Though they can be enjoyed as is, apricots are more popularly enjoyed dried or as jam. By making a homemade apricot jam, there are endless possibilities to brighten the usual morning toast or elevate the next party-pleasing charcuterie board (apricots pair best with softer, milder cheeses such as mozzarella, ricotta or goat cheese). To make an apricot jam, simply combine lemon juice, water, sugar and pitted, peeled apricots in a pot, boil until fully incorporated. Jars of homemade apricot jam are even a wonderful summer party gift for guests and hosts.
The great thing about peaches is their juiciness and sweetness, and when it comes to these summer stone fruits and how to enjoy them, grilled is the way to go. Since peaches do give off so much liquid, the natural sugars in the fruit caramelize beautifully when grilled and become gorgeously tender. They only take about 4-5 minutes, grilled cut side down, and they can be enjoyed by themselves, added to festive summer salads or even put over vanilla ice cream – yum.
Nectarines are commonly mistaken for their fuzzy friend the peach, but they are a stone fruit all their own and are delicious when baked. Even though nectarines are in season during the summer as all other stone fruits, if they are not yet ripe and a craving has ensued, baking nectarines can speed up the process. Plus, they are completely scrumptious. Add honey, vanilla, brown sugar or whatever variety of drizzles come to mind and bake the fruits cut side up for about 10-15 minutes until tender with crispy edges.
Cherries can be enjoyed all on their own, and most of us probably end up eating way too many in a single sitting. It is undeniable that on a hot summer day or cool summer night that a slice of fresh cherry pie sounds like the perfect choice. Not to give too much credit to Warrant for their popularization of the delectable dessert, but they did choose a wonderful one for a song title. Whether the crust is homemade or not (I highly advise homemade, it really is easy), a cherry pie filling is just as simple. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cherries and a debatable choice of extract, and you’ve made a perfect summer treat – just don’t forget the fresh whipped cream.
Take advantage of the beautiful bounty of California this summer and enjoy all of these ideas for summer stone fruits and how to enjoy them…