Stone Fruit Season Is Upon Us!

In just a few weeks, Spring will give way to Summer. We’re so fortunate in Queensland – almost everything is in season at this time of year, especially during the hottest months. What makes it even better is that the lead-in to Summer also marks the beginning of stone fruit season.

There’s a reason why so many people call this a ‘dribblicious’ time of year – nothing makes your mouth water like delicious Aussie stone fruit.

With an output of over 100,000 tonnes of apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums, sweet and colourful summer stone fruit is a huge export industry for growers. Australia provides what’s known as ‘counter-seasonal’ summer fruit for the Northern Hemisphere but it’s us lucky locals who get the best deal where the fruit is freshest and tastiest.

Stone fruit ripens at room temperature and tastes its best then. You can place it in the fridge when fully ripe to keep it longer but don’t let it go too long. And when eating, let it warm back up to room temperature beforehand. It gives the best flavour.

Of course, there are instances where freezing your fruit is a good thing – when it comes to real fruit icy poles! Here’s a recipe the kids are sure to like and it requires only one cup of any fruit you fancy and two cups of 99% fruit juice to make six. A good thing about this recipe is it’s considered ‘green’ by the Healthy Kids Association which means it’s acceptable in schools that encourage healthy eating.

The recipe linked above suggests strawberries, mango, blueberries, cherries, kiwi fruit and pineapple as the principal ingredients. Want to add peaches to the mix? You can but you’ll need to peel them first (and remove the stone – of course!). But just how do you peel a peach without making a sticky mess?

It’s simple and it’s revealed in this video.

Blanching can be used on apricots and plums as well, and is a great way to prepare fruit for making pies. You can also blanch tomatoes to peel them and many vegetables too, but not for peeling. If you are looking to serve cooked vegetables cold, such as in a salad, and want them to maintain their bright, natural colours, blanching does the task. You can do it with asparagus, green beans, broccoli and carrots among others.

Did you know you can also grill peaches?

Here’s Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ricotta from the Summerfruit Australia website with a fast-to-table prep and cooking time of just 15 minutes. You’ll need:

  • Eight yellow peaches, halved and stones removed
  • Two tablespoons caster sugar
  • Two tablespoons maple syrup
  • Two teaspoons butter
  • 100g fresh ricotta cheese
  • One teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract

For the preparation method, and for other mouth-watering recipes such as Chicken, Kaffir Lime And Apricot Skewers, and Chinese Stir Fry with Plums, visit the recipe link.

Of course, there’s a whole range of exotic fruits coming into season now as well such as Black Sapote and Mangosteen which you can find at Yuen’s.

Black Sapote is a Mexican native known sometimes as Chocolate Pudding Fruit. The reason is that it tastes like chocolate – but only when entirely ripe, otherwise it tastes slightly bitter. The skin is bright green and shiny at first, going brown as it ripens, then black when perfect to eat.

Australian Tropical Fruits reveals it’s just like peaches – not to be refrigerated until ripe. They say:

Ripe fruit or pulp may be refrigerated for a few days, however, freezing is better. Frozen whole fruit or pulp retains its subtle flavour for more than six months, and frozen pulp is suitable for use in any recipe.

They also note it makes a delicious ice cream which, being chocolatey, your littlies will enjoy. Grown-ups might appreciate that the flavour of Black Sapote is ‘enhanced’ by:

… the addition of a little rum, vanilla, cream or coffee liqueur (Kahlua or Tia Maria).

Now that’s tempting.

As for Mangosteens, they’re not related to mangoes. However, these south east Asian beauties are known as the ‘Queen of Tropical Fruits’ and are not only tasty but are high in calcium, phosphorus and Vitamins B and C. Easy to open too – just twist then scoop out the flesh. It brings a new meaning to ‘fast food’.

Meanwhile, on the vegie front, horticulture association AUSVEG suggests the weekly grocery shop is on the way out – but people are eating more fresh vegetables. It’s down to a rise in a shopping style that was popular years ago and it’s making us healthier too by doing fruit and veg shopping in two or three quick ‘drop in’ visits through the week.

The study showed more frequent shops – say just one extra trip per week – can increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by 3.8 servings per week.

They suggest people are increasingly treating markets as ‘extensions of their fridges’ to avoid waste by buying too much.

It might also reflect that we’re sometimes prone to planning menus too far ahead then forgetting what we have in the fridge or cupboard.

So if you’d like to make dropping into Yuen’s a more frequent proposition, we’re sure we can help you on the road to better health in a tasty – not to mention ‘dribblicious’ – way! See you soon.