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    Stone Fruits of Summer

    Then there are those fruits knows as stone fruits. These fruits include those from the fruit trees within the genus of Prunus. Peaches, plums, cherries, apricots are just a few and are at their best in the summer. To select these fruits at their peak, Whole Foods Market, a national retail supermarket that specializes in organic produce, offers these tips:

    • Look for peaches with skins that have a background color of yellow or warm cream. Avoid rock-hard peaches and choose those that yield slightly to pressure along the "seam." These peaches will soften in a few days if kept at room temperature. Avoid dark-colored, mushy, or bruised peaches.
    • Plums should be plump and well-colored for their variety. The fruit is ready to eat when it yields to gentle pressure. Plums ripen well off the tree at room temperature.
    • Cherries should be glossy, plump, hard, and dark-colored for their variety. Pack loosely to minimize bruising.
    • Apricots should be plump and orange-colored and should yield to gentle pressure. Avoid those that have shriveled skin or bruises or those tinged with green.

    Stone fruits are delicious as is, or prepared in cobblers and crisps, pies and tarts, or preserves. For simple preparation, poaching is an easy and quick method to preserve ripe fruit; eat alone or serve over ice cream or frozen yogurt, or on pancakes. Grilled fruits are also a good addition to a meal. Fruits cook quickly on the grill, usually taking only a few minutes to soften slightly. Eat as is or serve over ice cream.

    By adding a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet, you'll not only be livening up your meals with tasty ingredients, but also boost your nutrient quotient. Cucumbers, for example, may be 95% water (which makes them a good natural diuretic), but they're rich in vitamin E; tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, and phosphorus; and sweet corn is a good source of vitamin C as well.

    Fruits are no less nutritious, apricots, for example, are a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, and potassium; blueberries and blackberries are rich in fiber; melons provide much needed vitamin C; and peaches are a good source of vitamins A and C themselves.

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