THE season for juicy, delicious plums, peaches and nectarines is here so be sure to get your share of nature’s ultra-versatile summer bounty that packs a nutritious punch.
With the peach and nectarine season already in full swing until March next year, and plums making their appearance on supermarket shelves through to April, you are spoilt for choice with these sumptuous summer gems. Known collectively as stone fruit as they all have a pit or stone in the centre, each of the three fruits comprises several varieties of varying colours, tastes and textures, that ripen at different times throughout the season. Plums can vary from yellow, red to dark purple depending on the time of the year, while peaches and nectarines range from yellow to a rosy blush with white or yellow flesh. With such a wide variety, you will want to try them all.
Stone fruit are at their most satisfying when enjoyed perfectly ripe. Be sure to test the fruit for optimal ripeness by lightly pressing the skin. If still firm to the touch, allow them to ripen in a fruit bowl or place them in a pierced paper bag at room temperature. Only keep the fruit in the fridge once completely ripe to safeguard their sweet, juicy flavour.
Plums, peaches and nectarines are naturally sweet, low-kilojoule super fruit with a low glycaemic index (GI). They are high in fibre and abound in health-giving potassium and vitamins A, C and E, all-powerful antioxidants that protect against disease. No wonder peaches were deemed symbols of long life in ancient China.
While a plush peach or plum is delicious all on its own, stone fruit can spruce up your summer kitchen creations. Whether you slice or dice them, grill or roast them, they are delicious in salads and add succulent flavour to Sunday roasts, yummy desserts and cakes. Blend them into smoothies for a healthy treat or turn them into peachy cocktails to enjoy on the patio. Be sure to make stone fruit a lunch box staple for the whole family.
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