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What's in Season? Stone Fruit

07/02/2014 12:35PM ● Published by Style

What do peach pies, cherry tarts, plum cobblers and apricot compotes all have in common? These delicious treats feature stone fruit as the star ingredient. While they don’t actually have a stone at their core, members of the stone fruit family all have a hard seed inside that is covered with a soft outer flesh. Low in calories and a great source of vitamins, stone fruit is a heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. The exquisite orange flesh of a petite apricot delivers a heavy dose of beta-carotene, which is excellent for maintaining good eyesight and immune function. Sweet, with a delicate aroma, two peaches contain as much potassium as a banana. Don’t like the fuzziness of a peach or the somewhat tart taste of a nectarine’s outer flesh? While these tasty fruits are nutritious without their skin, the outer layer provides insoluble fiber that is beneficial to your health.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

When shopping for stone fruit, keep in mind that this type of fruit tends to ripen shortly after it’s been picked. It’s best to look for fruit that is a bit firm (if you’re not planning to eat it right away). The perfect piece of stone fruit should be a bit tender when touched lightly. If, by chance, you haven’t devoured this fruit once it’s ripened, most stone fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a few days. No matter where you decide to keep it, avoid plastic bags to eliminate conditions that may cause mold. The most important advice to note about stone fruit is that you should enjoy all varieties as much as possible during the limited time it’s in season.

DID YOU KNOW?

This delicious fruit can be enjoyed in Placer County from late spring through early fall. Even though stone fruits vary in size, texture and taste, most of them can be interchanged in many recipes. Once cooked, stone fruit is an excellent accompaniment to almost any dish.

— Susan Belknap

For details on where to buy Placer County farm-fresh produce, wine, meat and local products, visit placergrown.org.

Barbecued Chicken with Grilled Nectarines

Recipe by PlacerGROWN Chef Courtney McDonald

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2 whole farmers’ market chickens, each cut into eight pieces with the bone remaining
  • 2 cups Snow’s Citrus Court Mandarin Orange Grill Sauce
  • 6 yellow or white firm-ripe nectarines
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Several hours before serving the chicken, marinate chicken pieces in 2 cups of the mandarin orange grill sauce. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat 30 minutes prior to grilling. Halve the nectarines, and remove the pits. Toss the nectarines in olive oil and honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the chicken over indirect heat until thoroughly cooked. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter to rest while the nectarines cook. Allow the grill to return to temperature, then evenly place the nectarine halves on the grill, with the open sides facing downward. Grill until nicely caramelized for about 2 minutes. Flip the nectarines over and cook on the other side for an additional 30 seconds to heat through. When the nectarines have finished cooking, arrange on top of the cooked chicken and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.


HOW TO PAIR WITH WINE

This barbecued chicken with grilled nectarines recipe by Foothill Farmers Market Association/PlacerGROWN Chef, Courtney McDonald is the ideal summer meal, with the freshness of ripe stone fruit complementing moist grilled chicken. Placer County Rosé wines are the ultimate pairing; the fruity characteristics these wines possess couple perfectly with the lush flavors of the nectarines. The Sangiovese Rosé from Lone Buffalo Vineyards, Syrah Rosé from Secret Ravine Vineyard and Winery, and the Pinot Noir Rosé from Wise Villa Winery, all feature luscious flavors of strawberry with hints of cherry and spice. Full flavored and slightly acidic with crisp finishes, makes them a great option for pairing with this fabulous summer dish.



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