Sweet plums and peaches are great on their own, a good source of potassium and a sweet low-cal snack with only 40 calories each. But you can also use them as the foundation of dishes perfect for summer entertaining.
When it comes to picking out the best stone fruit, look for firm, unblemished skins — no scratches or bruises. If they\’re firm to the touch, let them rest on a countertop or windowsill or in a basket for four to five days until ripe.
If you love fruit pies, but not their calorie overload, fruit crisps are a great swap. They\’re lower in calories because they have only a streusel topping, no pie crust. This also makes them easier to prepare.
Stone Fruit Crisp
4 plums, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or cinnamon
1/2 pint raspberries
For the streusel:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the plum slices in a large bowl along with the lemon juice, vanilla and ground black pepper (for a spicy kick) or cinnamon (for a sweet kick). Toss well. Arrange plums in an 8-inch square baking dish, overlapping them slightly, and then sprinkle with the raspberries.
In a clean bowl, use a pastry blender or fork to mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter and rolled oats until well combined. Sprinkle over the fruit and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden and the berries are bubbling. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 4 servings
For a twist on traditional salsa, this fruit-based variation really satisfies.
Stone Fruit Salsa
1 pound ripe peaches, plums or a mix, pitted and diced
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and stems
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss well and refrigerate for about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. Use as an accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish, or as a dip for whole-grain pita wedges or crackers.
Yield: 4 servings
Read more about stone fruit on the website of the Produce for Better Health Foundation.