If you’ve ever strolled through a farmers market, or farm-to-table recipes you’ve probably come across the term “stone fruit”, often in reference to peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries. It all makes sense since these fruit have a pit resembling a stone. But there more to this story: there are many more fruits that are actually stone fruits. And delicious recipes await, both sweet and savory.
Pit = Stone
Stone fruits are fruits that possess pits at their core. These fruits, officially known as drupes, have a fleshy outer layer called the mesocarp (the juicy flesh), which is covered by a skin or exocarp (the exterior skin). In the center is a hardened endocarp, forming the pit or stone, which encapsulates a seed. Well-known examples of stone fruits include peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, and pluots (a hybrid plum-apricot; if you see these at the market, by all means try them).
What Do Peaches, Lychees, Blackberries & Mangoes Have In Common?
Surprisingly, there are other fruits that fall under the category of stone fruits. Dates, mangoes, coconuts, green almonds, lychees, and olives are technically classified as such. Additionally, mulberries, blackberries, and raspberries are also considered stone fruits.
How Are All These Fruits Related?
You may be wondering about berries and their relationship to stone fruits. Botanically speaking, a berry is a fleshy fruit that originates from a single ovary of an individual flower and contains multiple seeds. Cranberries, blueberries and bananas fall under this classification, as do grapes, tomatoes, and avocados. Blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries do not qualify as true berries.
Let’s Talk Blackberries, Raspberries & Mulberries
Blackberries, raspberries and mulberries, despite their name, are not true berries. They are actually aggregate fruits that belong to the drupe or stone fruit family. Each individual blackberry, raspberry or mulberry is composed of tiny drupes, known as drupelets, with each drupelet containing a single seed. Strawberries are also aggregate fruits, but they are achenes, not drupes, and a topic for another discussion.
Poisonous Pits? What’s The Deal?
The seeds of stone fruits contain a potentially harmful chemical called amygdalin. According to the National Capital Poison Center, if the pit and seed are crushed or chewed before swallowing, amygdalin is released and can be converted by the body into cyanide. This information might raise concerns.
According to Medical News Today an adult would have to eat 50 to 60 apricot kernels to deliver a lethal dose of cyanide. Cyanide poisoning can occur at much lower levels, however. That said, apricot and cherry pits, in particular, have been used in cooking throughout the ages. They provide an almond-like flavor, which some people love.
Recipes Using Apricot Pits
According to ApricotPower.com “in Egypt, people consume ground apricot kernels with coriander seeds and salt to make a traditional snack called dokka. Europeans often put a kernel in a jar of jam or jelly to enhance the flavor. Italians often crush the seeds to make their famous Amaretti di Saronno cookies. And Asians stock apricot kernels in the spice aisles of the grocery store.”
Their website has recipes as varied as a pesto, marzipan, a Bavarian cream, and others.
Stop Being Clingy
There is even more odd nomenclature surrounding peaches. Have you ever heard the terms “freestone” and “clingstone” and wondered what they mean?
They are quite literal. Freestone peaches have a pit that is free-floating, meaning it is not attached firmly to the flesh. It is very easy to halve a freestone peach, and separate the flesh from the pit.
Conversely, clingstone peaches have a pit that clings quite stubbornly to the flesh. If you are making a pie, opt for a freestone peach!
Stone fruits are at their peak during the summer season, typically from mid-May to mid- to late-August. It’s time to cook and bake with stone fruits!
Grilled Tomato Peach Salsa
This Grilled Tomato Peach Salsa came about after we had been grilling fruit (to great success) and had some extra peaches around. The smoky flavor from the grill elevates the simple ingredients. Get the recipe for Grilled Tomato Peach Salsa.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Strawberry Peach Coconut Crisp
This gluten-free and vegan Strawberry Peach Coconut Crisp features strawberries and yellow peaches nestled under a brown sugar oat crisp topping – that happens to be made with coconut oil. Coconut flakes are added to the topping, too. With or without a dollop of lactose-free or vegan) vanilla ice cream or yogurt, this is a fantastic homestyle dessert, that also happens to be very easy to make. Get the recipe for Vegan & Gluten-Free Strawberry Peach Coconut Crisp.
Balsamic Chicken with Peaches
Juicy chicken thighs, peaches, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and rosemary come together in our one-pan Balsamic Chicken with Peaches. This recipe is based upon our incredibly popular Maple Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Blueberries. If you love that dish, you gotta try this one. CLICK FOR RECIPE.
Peach Blueberry Crostata
Blueberries and peaches go beautifully together and here they are nestled in a slightly sweet crostata crust. Easier to make them a pie or a formal tart, you simply roll out a disc of pastry dough and fold the edges up over the fresh fruit. Get the recipe for Peach Blueberry Crostata.
Peach Iced Tea
This Peach Iced Tea is as refreshing as it is pretty, and easy to make. It begins with a sugar sweetened peach purée. You can stir this purée into black iced tea, as we did for the images, or it works beautifully in green or white tea, too. Get the recipe for Peach Iced Tea.
Iced Tea with Mango
Our Low FODMAP Iced White Tea With Mango is simply chilled low FODMAP white tea, optionally sweetened, served with low FODMAP amounts of fresh, juicy mango. Like our recipe for Low FODMAP Iced Green Tea With Passionfruit, this one almost doesn’t need formal direction, but we want to make sure you get portions right for the white tea and mango. Get the recipe for Iced Tea with Mango.
This recipe Peach Crisp has a basic version and one gussied up with ginger and pecans – your choice! You are going to love the juicy peach filling and crisp, golden brown, buttery brown sugar oat topping and the whole shebang is super simple to make. Get the recipe for Peach Crisp.
Ginger Peach Dutch Baby Pancake
If you are looking for a more classic approach to the beloved Dutch Baby Pancake, we have that too, but this one features peaches and ginger! Get the recipe for Ginger Peach Dutch Baby Pancake.
Duck Breasts with Peaches & Red Wine
Duck breasts might be pricier than chicken, but they are so easy to make and are a great choice for a fancy dinner for guests, when time is short. Our Duck Breasts with Peaches & Red Wine is very straightforward and will impress your lucky diners. Get the recipe for Duck Breasts with Peaches & Red Wine.
Blackberry Peach Chutney
Our Blackberry Peach Chutney is super easy to make and is a perfect accompaniment to pork or poultry, in particular. Blackberries, peaches, brown sugar, scallion greens, apple cider vinegar and allspice make a sweet, sour and tangy chunky condiment that even non-cooks can prepare. Keeps well, too. We also like this chutney offered on a cheese board; try some with brie! Or schmeared on a grilled-cheese sandwich! Get the recipe for Blackberry Peach Chutney.
Peaches & Cream Popsicles
Popsicles, or “pops” are not just for kids! These Peaches and Cream Popsicles with Raspberries are beloved by kids and adults alike. They are creamy and a little sweet, but not too sweet. And the mashed raspberries add color, texture and flavor. I was almost going to call these “peach melba” after the famous peach and raspberry dessert, but I couldn’t resist the “peaches & cream” title. Get the recipe for Peaches & Cream Popsicles.
Blackberry Maple BBQ Sauce
The puréed blackberries create a rich purple color and the maple syrup adds balanced sweetness to the smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. This will become a family favorite. Get the recipe for Blackberry Maple BBQ Sauce.
Olive Oil Muffins With Goat Cheese And Raspberries
These moist muffins are a bit sweet and a bit savory. Quick to whip up using olive oil, the batter is then dotted with bits of goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and raspberries for an unexpected but delectable combination. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Muffins With Goat Cheese And Raspberries.
Rhubarb Raspberry Crostata
A crostata is a free-form tart and as such, they have a more casual air to them, as opposed to those made in a tart pan. For this Rhubarb Raspberry Crostata, you will need a batch of our easy Crostata & Tart Crust and a bunch of fresh rhubarb as well as fresh raspberries. The natural tartness of the rhubarb and sweetness of the raspberries work beautifully together. Get the recipe for Rhubarb Raspberry Crostata.
Smooth Move Smoothie
This smoothie combines raspberries with spinach, peanut butter, and frozen banana for a healthy, frosty, and tasty combination. Get the recipe for Smooth Move Smoothie.
Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Cake
This truffle cake is very easy to make and looks like it came from the bakery. Raspberries are buried in rich dark chocolate batter for a spectacular combination. Get the recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Cake.
Chocolate Raspberry Buche de Noel
Christmastime at our house means buche de Noel – or Yule log. Every year we come up with a new combo; this combination of dark chocolate and raspberries is a favorite. Get the recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Buche de Noel.
The Berries Pie
We are blueberry pie fans, but the first time we tasted this pie that combines blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, a new craving was born! Encased in a flaky crust, this pie tastes like summer. Get the recipe for The Berries Pie.
This low calorie dessert is simply spectacular to behold. Glistening red gelatin is jam packed with fresh berries and molded in a loaf pan. A refreshing dessert or snack on a hot day. Get the recipe for Berry Terrine.
Mixed Berry Slab Pavlova
Looking for a berry filled dessert to feed a crowd? This is the one to choose! A variety of berries, crisp, sweet meringue, and whip cream folded together with yogurt. The slight Thang of the cream mixture works beautifully with the sweetness of the berries. Get the recipe for Mixed Berry Slab Pavlova.
Cornmeal Berry Snack Cake
This snack cake could not be easier to whip up, no mixer needed. Sort of like a sweet cornbread – half bread, half cake -buttery, soft and studded with raspberries and blueberries. You can prep the batter in the time it takes the oven to preheat. We love this for breakfast or brunch, but it makes a great snack mid-day, too. Get the recipe for Cornmeal Berry Snack Cake.
Chocolate Marbled Pavlova
This pavlova is marbled with chocolate and filled with kiwi and raspberries, in addition to whipped cream. An easy to make dessert that tantalizes the eyes as well as the palate. Get the recipe for Chocolate Marbled Pavlova.
Cranberry Raspberry Cheesecake Trifle
Trifles are fantastic do ahead dishes, and this one combines whipped cream and cream cheese for cheesecake texture and flavor. The sweet and tart combo of cranberry compote and raspberries is unexpected and spectacular. Get the recipe for Cranberry Raspberry Cheesecake Trifle.
Champagne Gelee With Raspberries
Eat your champagne? Yes, you can! Here we lightly gel sparkling wine with gelatin, and suspend raspberries within the edible, golden dessert. Perfect for a special celebration. Get the recipe for Champagne Gelee With Raspberries.
Cannoli Cream With Berries
If you are a cannoli fan, or even if you are not (like me) you have to try this dessert. Lightly sweetened ricotta, orange zest, and shavings of dark chocolate combine to dollop on fresh berries. Elegant and so easy you barely need a recipe. Get the recipe for Cannoli Cream With Berries.