Moments of Perfection

Martha Stewart Living, July 2007

1. White Donut Peach
2. Yellow Peach
3. Yellow Plum
4. Green Plum
5. Purple Plum
6. Red Plum
7. Sugar Plum
8. Yellow Nectarine
9. White Nectarine
10. Pluot
11. Apricots
12. Sweet Cherries
13. White Cherries
14. Sour Cherries

Ripeness Guide
Named for the stonelike pit at their core, stone fruits -- also known as drupes -- are available in stores almost year-round but are at their seasonal best right now. The surest way to test one for readiness is to taste it, but your other senses also can guide you. A perfectly ripened fruit exudes a subtle but sweet fragrance from the stem end, appears plump, and has deeply colored skin; avoid those that have wrinkles, bruises, or tan spots. Pass over any peaches and nectarines that have a greenish undertone, which indicates they were picked prematurely. For immediate gratification, look for fruits that feel heavy for their size and yield slightly to gentle pressure; those that are unrelentingly firm (but not rock hard) can be coaxed to readiness if left at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag for a few days. Although best enjoyed without delay, ripe stone fruits can be refrigerated for three to five days.

See the Recipes
Chilled White Peaches Poached in Rose Syrup
Hazelnut Frangipane Tart with Apricots and Softly Whipped Creme Fraiche
Sugared Pluots on Crisp Anise-Scented Phyllo
Peach and Buttermilk Sherbet
Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea Cakes
Stone Fruits with Honey-Drizzled Soft Cheeses and Toasted Almonds
Sliced Stone Fruits with Muscat Sabayon


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