As our Nanaimo produce manager Al describes in his latest Produce Report, June marks the beginning of stone fruit season in this part of the world! That means fruits like apricots, plums, peaches, and, of course, cherries are ripening as we write and so we thought you might be interested in learning a little bit more about them. Known by botanists as ‘drupes’, stone fruits grow their seeds inside a ‘stone’ that's surround by the juicy deliciousness we humans and other animals love to eat. So the pit of an apricot, say, is not a seed itself but contains and protects a seed. The two basic types are ‘freestone’ and ‘clingstone’, which are pretty self explanatory—with freestone drupes the flesh of the fruit is not attached to the stone (helpful for making pies, etc.) and with clingstone fruits, it is. Surprisingly, raspberries are also a form aggregate stone fruit, with each little tiny section constituting what’s referred to as a ‘drupelet’!
We have to say this month we are particularly excited to see BC Cherries hit our produce aisles. Long recognised as being super tasty as well as super fun—the double cherry is pretty much iconic at this point—cherries also have a number of significant health benefits, especially if they have been organically grown. First of all, for a fruit they have a really low glycemic index score of 22, making them easy on your blood sugar levels. (0-55 is considered low.) They are a good source of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A to be used for healthy skin and mucus membranes, to support our immune system, and for good eye health and vision. They have quercetin, a flavonoid with anti-carcinogenic activity, and last but not necessarily least for anyone struggling with sleep disorders, they are one of the few dietary sources of melatonin! And peaches, plums, nectarines and the like are all generally good sources of vitamins A, C and E, as well as dietary fibre, potassium and antioxidants.
Most stone fruits are a fantastically versatile food, appearing in cereals, salads, desserts and savoury dishes of all sorts while being perfect to eat just as they are, easily accompanying you on picnics in the park, the beach, or to be scarfed down as a wonderful snack right in your kitchen :) Enjoy the abundance of the season!