Nothing says summer like stone fruits—named for their hard pit—like peaches, plums, and nectarines.

But one member of the group—fresh apricots—often gets lost in the crowd. And that’s a shame, because it’s hard to beat their delicate flavor, slightly tart skin, and sweet interior. If the apricots at your supermarket don’t wow you, look for some perfectly ripe, sweet samples at your local farmers’ market through July.

Treat apricots like avocados: buy them when they yield slightly to the touch, let them soften in a brown paper bag on the counter, and, when ripe, store them in the fridge for three to five days.

These juicy little orbs supply more than pleasure. Expect a good dose of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E...all for just 70 calories in an official four-apricot serving.

Not content to just slice or nibble your fruit straight off the pit? Try adding slices to yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal. Or stir them into a hearty Moroccan chicken stew.

Apricots also add a delightful surprise to grain or green salads, like this one from our Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood:

Top 4 cups salad greens with 2 sliced apricots, half a sliced avocado, and 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds. Whisk together 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and ⅛ tsp. salt with a grind of black pepper. Drizzle over the salad. Serves 2.

Bonus: Keep your eyes peeled for dazzling apricot-plum hybrids—pluots, plumcots, and apriums—all summer long.

Photo: Anna Kucherova/