Stone fruits, also called drupes, are fruits that have a pit -- hence the word 'stone' in their name -- surrounded by a fleshy outer area. Stone fruits are usually low in calories, with an average of just 67 calories per cup of chopped fruit, and they contain less than one gram of fat. In addition, they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, A, potassium, and calcium. They are also great for improving digestion and lowering cholesterol, with their high fiber content.

With all these health benefits, stone fruits are definitely a category that should be plentiful in your diet. Here are 15 stone fruits you should be munching on:

1. Peaches

peaches

Peaches are known for their fuzzy skin and large pit. There are two kinds of peaches: clingstone and freestone. Clingstone peaches have a pit that clings to the flesh, while freestone peaches have a pit that easily falls away from the flesh. In addition, peaches come in yellow and white varieties.

One cup of chopped peaches contains 10 grams of vitamin C and 25 grams of vitamin A. The best way to enjoy peaches is to buy them fresh, so skip the canned peaches that contain loads of added sugar. The perfect peach is free of blemishes and bruises, and it doesn't contain green hues. It should be firm but should have a little give when squeezed. Unlike other fruit, this one does not get sweeter as it gets softer, this is because sugar production ceases when they are harvested. Peaches are great by themselves, but they're even better when added to oatmeal, cereal, pancakes or waffles. You can even grill them for grilling peaches brings out their flavor. Most commonly peaches are used in pies and cobblers.

This stone fruit is not only delicious, but it has numerous benefits. According to a study from Texas A&M, peach and plum extract is associated with a reduced rate of breast cancer cells. Talk about miracle fruit! Moreover, you can be pretty as a peach by eating them for peaches have the ability to increase the amount of collagen your body produces due to their high vitamin C content.

2. Plums

plums

It's perfectly fine to go plum crazy for plums. One plum has 10 grams of vitamin C and 17 gram of vitamin A and only has 46 calories. When choosing a plum, it should be heavy and its flesh should have some give. If bring home hard plums, you can ripen them by placing them in a brown paper bag. Also, like peaches, they don't sweeten as they soften. You can slice plums up and toss them in a salad, make desserts out of them or even put them on a sandwich. The dishes you can do with plums are endless. A 2017 study published in Advances in Nutrition, the prebiotic properties in plums combined with the probiotics in yogurt demonstrates protective associations against diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

3. Nectarines

nectarines

Nectarines are considered the cousin of peaches -- both have white and yellow varieties and can be either clingstone or freestone. The main differences between these stone fruits are their physical appearance, texture, and scent. Nectarines have a smooth skin and are more aromatic than their peach counterparts. When purchasing nectarines, be sure that they are free of bruising or punctures. The fruit should be plump and its color should be vibrant. One nectarine is around 88 calories and is high in essential vitamins and fiber. Nectarines can be added to almost anything, from sweet smoothies to delectable desserts. If you want to take your baking expertise to the next level, try crafting a nectarine upside down cake or nectarine frangipane tart. Furthermore, nectarines are high in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that is beneficial to skin, teeth, and bone health.

4. Apricots

apricots

Apricots can be identified by their soft, golden skin. One apricot is around 87 calories and is packed with vitamin C, A, and potassium. The perfect apricot is a bright orange-yellow color and is plump, firm, and should be slightly soft when squeezed. Be sure to avoid green or bruised apricots, or ones that are mushy. Ripe apricots can be enjoyed on their own as a delicious juicy snack or baked into pastries such as apricot crisps or a raspberry apricot cheesecake. Yum! Apricots also contain catechins, flavonoid phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory benefits.

5. Apriums

apriums on wooden surface

You might not have heard of this stone fruit before, but an aprium is a hybrid fruit that is about 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum. Apriums taste a lot like apricots, but are not as juicy. Like many other stone fruits, they are very high in vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and A. Apriums are also high in fructose and complex sugars, making them sweeter than their apricot cousins. Their flavor is often described as intense and unique, with the apricot-like flavor taking center stage. If you want to get your hands on a sweet aprium, be sure that it is free of a green tint and broken skin. The best apriums will have a bright, plump, and firm look and texture. Once you find a nice ripe aprium, slice it up and toss it in a salad or blend it up into a smoothie.

6. Pluots

pluots

Like apriums, pluots are a controlled cross-pollination hybrid between apricots and plums. But while apriums are 25 percent plum and 75 percent apricot, plouts are the opposite -- 25 percent apricot and 75 percent plum. This makes them look, feel and taste much more like plums than their aprium cousins. There are many varieties of pluots, but each variety of this juicy stone fruit has a relatively short window of peak ripeness -- only about three weeks. Like all stone fruit, they are harvested in the hotter summer months, therefore, you can only get your hands on pluots from July to September. If you are able to grab some, pluots taste delicious by themselves or you can bake them into a variety of dishes.

7. Cherries

cherries

Everyone is familiar with these cute little stone fruits, which are a delicious summer staple. One serving of cherries has around 82 calories and have 64 UI of vitamin A and 7 grams of vitamin C. Cherries are also high in antioxidants and melatonin. Therefore, if you're having a hard time getting some shuteye, just snack on a couple of cherries before bed. To ensure that you're getting the best tart cherries, purchase them when they're in their peak during the months of July and August. Cherries are commonly used in dessert dishes such as a classic cherry pie, but you can also toss them into a fruit salad and incorporate them in an endless variety of dishes.

8. Mangos

bowl of mangos

Although they don't have a large pit like the other fruits on this list, mangoes are still considered a stone fruit. Mangoes are high in fiber, folic acid, and vitamins A and C. When choosing a sweet and juicy mango, give it a sniff, for ripe mangos will smell sweet. Additionally, you can tell that a mango is ripe by its weight -- ripe mangos are heavier than unripe ones. Once you find a nice mango, enjoy it by itself or add to a fruit salad or tropical smoothie.

9. Green Almonds

green almonds

Many have never heard of this unique fruit. Green almonds are the non-processed version of the almonds you are familiar with. In other words, if this fruit were left on the tree to dry out, it would result in a regular almond. If you live in California, there's a great chance that you will find them in your local grocery store, for they are grown in California almond orchards. They have a signature sweet and tangy taste and has an almond flavor (of course). Green almonds are high in protein, healthy fat, and fiber just like regular almonds, so they make for a deliciously nutritious snack. To add, they can be eaten on their own on or blended in a green juice.

10. Lychees

lychees

Lychees have a very distinctive appearance -- their exterior is bumpy and a beautiful sunset red color. Its fleshy and translucent flesh also sets lychees apart from other fruit on this list. They have a sweet and tart flavor that is best described as a cross between a watermelon and a pear, with a tropical twist. Given their flavor, they are often used in cocktails like lychee martinis and mojitos, and they are often enjoyed as a snack with cream cheese.

11. Raspberries And Blackberries

raspberries and blackberries

While it may be hard to believe, raspberries and blackberries aren't berries at all, they are actually stone fruits. To explain, raspberries and blackberries are aggregates of drupelets. In other words, they are clusters of small stone fruits. Your mind is blown, right? Raspberries and blackberries don't only taste great, but they are great for your health, too. Raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as quercetin and gallic acid, which helps to fight against cancer and circulatory diseases.

12. Mulberries

mulberries

Another group stone fruits with mistaken identity are mulberries. Mulberries are considered stone fruit because they, like raspberries and blackberries, are clusters of drupes. This stone fruit is also known as a superfood with bountiful health benefits. They have the ability to treat ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, anemia, and arthritis, so take a stroll around the mulberry bush and grab a handful of this miracle fruit.

13. Olive

olives

Because their pit, olives are considered a stone fruit, but taste wholly different from any other fruit on this list. Olives are the perfect snack for anyone who prefers salty over sweet, and they pack some awesome benefits. They are high in vitamin E and powerful antioxidants. In addition, a Virginia Tech research team found that the olive-derived-compound oleuropein helps the body secrete more insulin, which is beneficial to your metabolism.

14. Coconut

coconut

Despite their name, coconuts are not nuts but are one-seeded stone fruits. Coconuts consist of three layers, and when you purchase a coconut from the grocery store, you're purchasing the hard, wood layer called the endocarp that surrounds the seed. Regardless of its form, whether shredded or extracted into oil, coconuts have a host of benefits including increasing the good HDL cholesterol.

15. Date

dates

Dates are a tropical fruit that many prefer to eat in their sun-dried form; however, you can enjoy fresh dates as well. Fresh dates are especially ideal for those interested in losing weight because they have fewer calories than dried dates. They also are high in essential nutrients like vitamin A and K, along with phosphorus and magnesium. Another positive about dates it that they can easily be incorporated in both sweet and savory dishes.

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