What's one of our favourite things about summer (aside from the obvious, summery cocktails, ice cream and homemade popsicles)? Stone fruits. Stone fruits—technically called drupes—are any fruit that contain a hard pit (or stone) in the centre of the fruit. Obvious examples are peaches, nectarines and plums, but lesser thought of stone fruits include mangoes, cherries and even avocados.
So, why do we love them? Aside from being seriously delicious, sweet and juicy during the summer months (when they are often grown locally and at their peak), stone fruits are low in calories, have a high water content which boosts hydration, contain loads of fibre which aids in digestion and offer a serious dose of vitamins, antioxdant and phytonutrients. Keep reading for the low-down of some of our fave summer stone-fruits.
Nectarines are basically a peach, minus the fuzzy skin. A littler deeper red in colour and incredibly sweet and juicy when ripe, nectarine's are high in potassium and beta-carotene so they help improve your eye sight. Nectarine's are awesome when eaten fresh, but they also hold up incredibly well to roasting and grilling. Roasted or grilled nectarine's are a perfect pair with grilled pork or chicken.
Plums are an awesome source of antioxidants (which help prevent and reverse cell damamge), fiber and they are a great source of vitamin C. When ripe (and at their peak), plums are incredibly sweet and delicious. They are wonderful eaten fresh, but also are supurb when roasted or grilled on the BBQ. Serve grilled or roasted plums with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream for a sensational summer dessert!
Smallish, round and a bright orangy, yellow, reddish fruit, apricots are a potent source of beta-carotene (which helps to protect your eyesight) and vitamin C (which helps ward off colds and flu bugs). Apricots also help reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure as they are a great source of phytonutrients. Apricots are delicious fresh, but are also one of the most common dried fruit. Eat fresh apricots whole and toss dried apricots into your granola or over some oatmeal with nuts, seeds and berries.
Have a tendancy to sweat the small stuff? Try eating more peaches. Peaches contain a natural sedative that can actually make you feel more chilled out (which, let's be honest, most of us need!) and they can also help you sleep better like cherries. Peaches are sweet and juicy when ripe and they have a slightly fuzzy skin. Peaches are also very low in calories, high in water content and they are a great source of fiber.
With the popularity of avocado toast literally steam-rolling the food industry over the last 2 years, most people know that avocado's are not only delicious, but they are extremely healthy for us too. Avocado's are brimming with potassium (even more than a banana) which is an important mineral that works alongside sodium for smooth electrical transmission in the brain and nervous system. It's been shown that foods rich in potassium can also help reduce depression, anxiety, fogginess and forgetfulness. Not very common among fruits, avocado's are also packed with protein, with a single avocado providing 4 grams of this muscle-building amino acid. Avocado's are not only beneficial to our health and well-being when we eat them, they also play a key role in healthy skin care. The antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturize dry skin, treat sunburns and maybe even minimize wrinkles! Try tossing cubes of avocado into your salad, or thinly slice it and use to top your sandwhich or burger. We also love avocado's mashed with lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno to make a delicious guacamole. Fun fact: Avocado's are actually a fruit, a berry in fact.
Mangoes are one of summer's most delightful fruits and they contain many added health benefits to boot. They fight cancer, alkalize the body, aid in weight loss, regulate diabetes, help digestion, clean your skin, and make the perfect snack. Toss them into fruit salad or blitz with yogurt and a banana for a tropical smoothie. Having a Mexican-inspired dinner party? Finely dice mango with shallots, lime juice, cilantro and red chili for a fiery mango salsa.
Cherries are one of nature's wonder foods, and did you know that cherries can actually help you catch more zzz's? That's because cherries are very high in melatonin, a substance which helps your body regulate its natural circadian rhythm. Cherries are small, plump and typically a bright red or purple colour. They are at their peak during summer months when they are sweet and delicious, but stay clear of them during the winter months when they will not taste so yummy.