Summer's Nutritional Gift: Stone Fruit

Summer is an exciting time for backyard growers. Flowers are plentiful. Herbs are bountiful. and seeing vegetables grow and nourish your meals is extremely rewarding. At my home, we expanded our vegetable garden with a mini orchard. We started with an apple tree (at the request of my daughter when she was young), followed by a raspberry bush, peach tree, and plum tree. To date we have expanded our variety to include goji berries, persimmons, blackberry, blueberry and elderberry bushes. But I'll never forget the 2nd year after planting our peach tree. By that 2nd year, we had so many peaches, we were literally giving them away by the bag full!

Stone fruit is something I look forward to each year. While my crop won't be ready until late summer, I know that spring means organic stone fruit is right around the corner with our distributors at The Healthy Grocer. As soon as they hit the shelves, I head over straight away to make my purchase.

While the flavors and tastes of stone fruit drive our need to eat them (whether that's the juiciness of plums or the sweet/tart taste of peaches), our bodies are naturally drawn to the health benefits.

What are the different types of stone fruit?

Peaches traveled the trade routes of the Silk Road. The Chinese revered peaches for the belief that they gave the gift of longevity. Peaches are nutrient dense fruits, high in antioxidants, and confer a great supply of Vitamins A and C. Varieties include White, Yellow, and Donut. Cooking Tip: Drop peach in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Remove and put into bowl of cold water. Peel skin. And then follow your favorite recipe.

Did you know that Nectarines are from the same family as peaches? A gene gives nectarines their smooth skin. If you crave a sweeter nectarine, aim for the white variety.

According to Livestrong.com, "There are 1.51 g of protein in each average-sized nectarine." Plus, they are a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Plums have been one of my favorite fruits since I was a child. I've always enjoyed the tart taste of the unripe plum, as well as the sweet juices that burst out of each bite of a ripe plum. According to Dr. Axe, " are a good source of dietary fiber and help to regulate the digestive system." They also contain antioxidants, vitamins K and C, and potassium.

Dr. Mercola shares that "Already well-known in Greece in 60 BC, apricots were transported to Europe by Greeks who called them 'golden eggs of the sun.'" They are a good source of Vitamin A, contain vitamin C, and a modest amount of iron and calcium.

You can't go to countries like India and Sri Lanka without encountering mangoes on food vendor carts and many times on your plate. According to Medical News Today, "One cup of diced mango contains 100 calories, 1 gram protein, 0.5 grams fat, 25 grams of carbohydrate (23 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber), 100% of the daily need for vitamin C, 35% for vitamin A, 20% of folate, 10% of vitamin B-6 and 8% of vitamin K and potassium."

Cherries are treasured goodies. If you are a backyard grower, you can attest to how much effort goes into trying to get the cherries off the branches before the birds do. The U.S.D.A. shares that "Cherries are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and iron. Cherries are also a good source of fiber."

Bake them, poach them, cook them, make a syrup, or eat them raw. No matter how you like your cherries, we can all agree they are one versatile fruit!

Sources:

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/apricot.html

https://draxe.com/plum-benefits/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275921.php

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/everything-you-need-know-about-peaches

http://www.livestrong.com/article/48763-nectarine-nutrition-information

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/FN_Food$ense_2011-22pr.pdf

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