Soft fruit in season

nectarinesThe stone fruits – plums, nectarines, peaches and apricots – are in season now, so make the most of them while you can. Members of the Prunus genus (part of the Rose family), these delicious fruits are rich in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants, according to HS guest blogger, Dr Susan Aldridge,  freelance writer and editor based in London, with an interest in medicine, health, science and food/nutrition. Beta-carotene gives apricots and peaches their yellow colour, while anthocyanins make plum and nectarine skins red. The stone fruits, although sweet, are classed as low to medium glycaemic index and so will help control blood sugar.

Of course, taste and texture of stone fruits can vary – we’ve all had a ‘woolly’ apricot or a tasteless peachy. To avoid disappointment, don’t buy pre-packaged fruits that may have been picked early and stored for a long time so the ripening process is arrested. Try an independent greengrocer and buy individual fruits instead. And it’s a good idea to check the origin of the fruits and go for a grower as local as possible (even if that’s not in the UK) for better texture, aroma and flavour.
For a very healthy snack, team stone fruits with nuts – apricots and brazils, peaches and walnuts and so on…and maybe add in some cheese to make a light and easy picnic meal (apricots and Manchego is a pa recommend apricots and Manchego). And I’ve put together three recipes to make the most of these seasonal soft fruits.

Peach melba smoothie

Till now, I would never put a peach in a smoothie. Why? On a trip to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, I was offered ‘peach nectar’ and have never forgotten the grey-beige colour and gloopy texture. I’m glad I decided to drop this prejudice, because the following smoothie, which brings together the peaches and raspberries of a classic Peach Melba dessert, is a lovely pink-orange colour and tastes delicious.

Serves one
250g carton of raspberries
Two peaches, stoned and sliced
One tsp matcha powder
One tsp chia seeds
One tsp cacao powder
One tsp linseed meal
One tsp turmeric latte powder
Nut milk (I used cashew nut milk) to top up
Blend all ingredients. I left this overnight in the fridge and it was fine the next morning but I suggest not leaving it longer than that as peaches do brown.

Nectarine Greek salad

I know some people think fruit in salad (apart from fruit salad, of course) is a bit weird but, trust me, this works.

Serves four (or two people twice – leave the salad without dressing, nectarines and avocado in the fridge overnight and add them in the next day)
Two nectarines (I used one yellow fleshed, one white fleshed), sliced
One pot of deli olives
Two peppers (yellow/orange, red/orange), chopped small
One red onion, chopped
250g feta cheese, cubed
100g plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
Half cucumber, sliced

Flaxseed oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and fresh basil and mint to dress.
Mix all ingredients and toss with dressing and herbs.

Summer fruit crumble

I’m always experimenting with crumble mixes – different flours, sugars and additives, such as nuts and oats – and I think this one works well with the seasonal stone fruit mixture.

Serves four
Two peaches, stoned and sliced
Six plums, stoned and sliced
Two nectarines, stoned and sliced
Ten apricots, stoned and sliced
One tsp. cinnamon
One tbsp. sugar
One tbsp. coconut blossom nectar
For the topping:
30g nuts, chopped
40g oats
100g spelt flour
75g butter
One tsp. cinnamon
One tbsp. sugar
One tbsp. coconut blossom nectar

Mix the chopped fruit with the sugar. Rub the butter into the crumble mixture to create a rough crumb. Then top the fruit with the crumble and bake at 180oC for 20 minutes or until browned.

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