Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries are referred to as "stone fruits" because the seed is very large and hard. But don’t let the large seed fool you, stone fruits contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision, skin, hair and nails, and boost your immune system!
SELECTION Gently squeeze any stone fruit; they should yield to gentle pressure when ripe. Look for richly colored fruits with no brown spots or blemishes. Choose peaches with firm, fuzzy skins and nectarines with smooth skin. Peaches and nectarines should have no green or wrinkly patches.
STORAGE Store unripe fruit in a paper bag; when ripe, store at room temperature for use within 1-2 days. Wrap cut up fruit tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating for use up to 3-4 days. To save fruit for future use, coat cut fruit with lemon juice to prevent darkening. Place in airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze for use up to 10-12 months.
PREPARATION The easiest way to cut a stone fruit is by simply cutting the fruit in half from top to bottom, twisting, and then popping out the pit. Then you are ready to cut the fruit halves into slices or thick wedges. If you want them peeled, it's easy enough to run a paring knife between the flesh and the peel of each wedge or slice.
WAYS TO EAT Like other fruits, stone fruits are wonderful eaten out of hand. They can also be roasted, baked, broiled, or sautéed. For a delicious snack or side dish, warm some fruit using one of these cooking methods, then add a little cinnamon. Or cut the fruit in half, coat with butter and sugar, and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.