How to Incorporate the Best of Stone Fruit Season into your Summer Menus

June 30, 2021

Defined as a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a stone containing a seed in its center, stone fruit comes in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. Further, while stone fruit is the perfect hand fruit companion for the hustle and bustle of summer, don’t limit yourself or your guests to just this application alone. Stone fruit pairs well with a diverse array of ingredients, both sweet and savory. Here are a few of our favorite varieties and recipe ideas you should experiment with this summer:



Nectarines are the result of a natural occurring genetic mutation in peaches. Unlike peaches, they have smooth skin, and are firmer, smaller in size and more aromatic. Also sweeter than peaches, their name fittingly means ‘sweet as nectar.’

Premier Pairing: Elevate a generic entrée by making a nectarine-based sauce or salsa and serve topped over pork chops or swordfish. Thyme, mint and honey will make excellent pairings. You can also toss nectarines with shrimp, corn, tomato and tarragon dressing to make an excellent summer salad.



Rainier Cherries

Distinguished by their beautiful yellow and blush red coloring, Rainier cherries are a cross between the Bing and Van varieties. Sweet and complex with low acidity and a thin skin, they have the one of highest sugar levels of all stone fruit, giving them a creamy, almost caramel-like finish.

Premier Pairing: Pair Rainier cherries with goat cheese, olive oil and coarse salt on top of a crostini for an excellent bruschetta appetizer. For an option with more heat, sauté these cherries with onion and jalapeno for a unique salsa to top cheese and crackers, tacos, or even burgers. Wash it down with a refreshing Rainier Cherry Mojito muddled with mint, lime juice and sugar.


This sweet-tart fruit has a light velvet fuzz covering its golden-orange skin. Although having been around for over 4000 years, the origin of apricots is still unknown, as some claim India, others China or even Armenia.

Premier Pairing: We recommend serving this small stone fruit broiled and topped with fresh ricotta, pistachio and basil. Or to play up the possibility of Indian roots, make an Apricot Chutney Curry Chicken and serve with Basmati rice. For a quick fix, toss them on the grill and pair with prosciutto, brie and honey or country ham, burrata and radicchio.



Red Plums

Plums are thought to be the first type of fruit cultivated by humans. There are many varieties, but red plums tend to have a thin, tart skin that balances out their sweet flesh. Once harvested, they continue to ripen, and can have a succulent, almost melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

Premier Pairing: Red plums are great fresh or cooked. They work well in jam or chutney but can also star in more surprising recipes like ceviche or gnocchi. You can also try them in a compote for savory dishes, like roasted duck. Dried plums, or prunes, are a great way to enjoy this fruit year-round.



Peaches are likely the most popular stone fruit, but that doesn’t make them any less magical. Synonymous with hot, summer days, peaches have a fuzzy skin, and a soft interior when ripe - bursting with juice when you take that first bite. Pro tip: If they smell highly fragrant, they are ready to eat!

Premier Pairing: We suggest grilling, baking or infusing drinks with this summertime fruit. Pair with basil to refresh, cinnamon when sweetening, or a tangy cheese to create a surprising flavor contrast.


The best thing about stone fruit? Most recipes can use them interchangeably. Pick the ripest fruit you have, and the possibilities are endless.


Written by Marianna Marchenko