1. Paint the outside of each mason jar with chalk paint and let dry for one hour before applying another coat.
For a fruit whose lifeline is just a few days, and whose growing season is just a few weeks, peaches go back a long, long way. They have been cultivated in the U.S. for hundreds of years, but are originally native to China, where they have been grown for more than 2,500 years. They, along with nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, olives and even almonds are known as drupes or stone fruits. A stone fruit is classified as any fleshy fruit with a single seed or pit in the center.
Types of Peaches
There are many individual types of peaches and nectarines, but the two major types are the yellow and white flesh varieties. Yellow peaches and nectarines have a yellow background with a pink to red blush; their flesh is deep yellow with a good balance of sweet tart flavors. Yellow peaches are best eaten when the flesh yields to gentle pressure. White peaches and nectarines have a creamy background with a pink to red blush overlay and creamy yellow flesh. They are usually less tart than their yellow counterparts and are ready to be eaten when still firm and crunchy. The white variety also ripens faster than the yellow.
Like peaches, plums also originated in China, though most of the ones sold in the U.S. are known as Japanese plums. This variety is usually small and round and comes in a variety of skin colors ranging from red, black, green and purple. Plums generally have tart skin with sweet flesh but some varieties are sweet inside and out. All three are nutrition powerhouses, full of vitamin C and A and potassium!
How Peaches Are Grown
Although peaches, plums and nectarines are harvested April through October and peak in June, July, August and September, the growing process is a year-round effort. In the winter, there are no fruits on the trees but growers are busy pruning the trees and measuring “chill hours,” which are the hours the outdoor temperature drops below 45°F (but not below freezing). Basically, these fruit trees need sleep to prepare for the next year’s crop. Chill hours can affect all stages of the growing process from pollination to harvest. The number of chill hours needed ranges from as little as 350 to as many as 900, but a total of 800–850 chill hours is considered optimal.
In the spring, the trees enter the bud and bloom stage. Once they are in full bloom, the pollinated blossoms start growing fruit. Peach and nectarine trees are self-pollinating but plum trees rely on bees and the wind to be pollinated. By the summer the orchards are ready to give up their bounty with some late varieties extending the harvest through the beginning of fall.
How to Choose a Ripe Peach & How to Ripen PeachesThe juicy yet firm flesh of peaches, nectarines and plums hold up well to heat, making them ideal for the grill, where their sugars will be developed and caramelized by the flames. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a fun, unexpected barbecue treat.
Simple Snickerdoodle Body ScrubIf cold season dryness is plaguing your skin, give this coconut sugar body scrub a try! It will help exfoliate and moisturize dry skin. For a 60-second pseudo manicure/pedicure, scrub mixture into your hands or feet for one minute, then rinse in warm water and pat dry. You won’t believe the difference! (Note that this mixture is a bit too coarse for the face and is meant for body use only. Also, if you’re using it in the tub or shower, know that the coconut oil can make things a little slippery!)
- 1/2 cup Big Tree Farms Vanilla Coconut Sugar
- 1/3 cup Sprouts Coconut Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- In a food processor, combine coconut sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg until creamy and smooth.
- Transfer to a jar with a lid. Store at room temperature for up to one month.
- To use, gently apply a small scoop of the scrub to dry skin and rub gently to exfoliate and moisturize. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
- If your mixture separates, simply stir it a bit with your finger before using.
Soothing, Calming Oatmeal Face MaskIf your skin is feeling a little dry or irritated, this soothing oatmeal mask will do the trick! Oatmeal calms inflamed or dry skin, and coconut oil adds a natural layer of moisturizer that will hydrate dry skin without clogging pores. If you need a little help clearing up a breakout, you can also add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the mixture!
- 1/2 cup Oatmeal (quick cooking or old-fashioned)
- 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Coconut Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Honey
- Optional scent add-ins: 1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract and/or nutmeg
- Pulse oatmeal in a blender or food processor until fairly fine (no big pieces).
- Add coconut oil, honey, vanilla and nutmeg (if using). Stir to combine until smooth.
- Transfer to a jar with a lid and store at room temperature for up to one week.
- To use, spread 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture over a clean (freshly-washed) face and let sit for at least 5–10 minutes. Rinse off and gently pat your face dry.
Soothing Body SoakThis soothing, detoxifying body soak is great when you’re tired, sore or overwhelmed. Try experimenting with various oil combinations for a different effect—cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus for a dose of fall aromatherapy, lavender for a relaxing effect, or a combination of peppermint and orange for an energy boost.
- 1/2 cup Sprouts Epsom Salts
- 1/2 cup Baking soda
- 10 drops Favorite essential oils
- Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and massage together with your fingers. (This will help distribute the oils evenly.)
- Transfer to a jar with a lid and store for up to one month.
- To use, scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into a warm bath, sit back, and enjoy! Soak 20–40 minutes, for best results!
Healthy Living Blogger and Recipe DeveloperEmily lives, loves and cooks at One Lovely Life, where she shares healthy recipes and inspiration for living a happy, full life. You’ll find fresh, vibrant, allergy-friendly recipes that don’t feel like they’re missing anything. In addition to healthy recipes on her blog, you’ll find made-over sweet treats, book recommendations and tips for living a life you love.
What You’ll Need:
- Aura Cacia Essential Oils (we recommend lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree)
- Sprouts Baking Soda
- Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
- White distilled vinegar
- Clean distilled water
- Toilet brush
- Spray bottles
- Cotton cloths
Disinfecting Surface CleanerWipe away grime with this gentle, yet effective surface cleaner. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to disinfect walls, doorknobs, crib rails, and so on. If desired, add 5–10 drops of essential oil, per 2 cups of mixture. Dampen a sponge mop or cloth with the mixture and get to work!
Mirrors and WindowsTo give your windows and mirrors a smudge-free shine combine 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 cups of water. Add 12 drops of lemon essential oil for added fragrance. Pour the ingredients into a clean spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surface and wipe with a clean cloth.
Multipurpose CleanerFrom the stovetop to the countertop, keep your home clean, fresh and safe with this multipurpose “greener” cleaner. Take an empty spray bottle and combine 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap, 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water. We recommend lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender essential oils to create a sweet and wholesome scent. Put the cap on and shake well.
Toilet CleanersFor regular toilet seat wipe downs, straight vinegar will do the trick. For tougher jobs, combine 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray the bowl and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet. Then, scrub with a brush and flush.
Bath and ShowerThe best way to prevent soap and scum from building up is to regularly spray the bath and shower walls with vinegar. For a deep cleaning, make your own soft soap cleaner with baking soda and Castile soap. Use the baking soda in place of scouring powder. Sprinkle it liberally on porcelain fixtures and rub with a wet rag. Add a little soap to the rag for more cleaning power.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Mason jars
- Chalk paint in your preferred colors
- White chalk
- Clear acrylic spray
2. After the jars have completely dried, use sand paper to take the paint off of the raised, designed areas of the jar.
3. Rub white chalk over jar to create a distressed look.
4. Seal jars by spraying thoroughly with clear acrylic spray and let dry for at least two hours.
5. Once dry, add your mom's favorite fresh flowers.
Summer is in full swing and what better way to celebrate the season than with a DIY Ice Cream Float Bar? Kids will love the option of creating their own recipes and adults will enjoy the nostalgia of this diner delight. Keep cool with these tips on how to create the perfect ice cream float bar.While you can’t go wrong with traditional vanilla, mix things up by providing a variety of flavors like mint chocolate chip or strawberry. You can find a number of dairy-free ice creams that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Sneak in an extra serving of fruit by dicing up fruit popsicles as a colorful option. Save time by prepping your ice cream the night before, by pre-scooping and freezing on a cookie sheet. Keep your frozen treats cool by serving the containers on ice.
Along with good old root beer, be sure to offer a variety of sodas for guests to mix and match flavors. To keep things even more interesting, add cold brew coffee, flavored seltzer water, sparkling lemonade and even kombucha to the mix. Be sure to display some adorable patterned straws for an added touch of color.
To make your ice cream float bar extra special, you’ll need more than just a cherry on top! Fresh fruit, crushed graham crackers or marshmallows are just a few of our favorite toppings. Stop by our Bulk Department to pick up just enough dried fruits, chocolate or gummi bears to make your guests’ floats even more unique.
Give guests inspiration by creating a chalkboard with different recipes for one-of-a-kind pairings. Don’t know where to start? Here are some recipes that we’re loving.
- Mint Mocha – 2 scoops mint chocolate chip, cold brew, chocolate sauce drizzle
- Strawberries & Cream – 2 scoops strawberry, 1 can cream soda, fresh strawberry garnish
- S’mores – 2 scoops chocolate, 1 can root beer, whipped topping, graham cracker crumbs and mini chocolate chips
- Strawberry Lemonade – 1 strawberry popsicle, sparkling lemonade, crushed mint leaves
- Blueberry Kombucha – 2 scoops vanilla, 1 blueberry kombucha, fresh blueberries
Some hosts are so easy to shop for: bottle of wine or scented candle. But if you’re trying to stay within a holiday budget or think of a creative gift idea for the person who “has everything”, these gifts are the perfect solution.
Gifts in a jar are festive, heartfelt, easy and delicious. Not to mention, cost effective for you! Simply layer the ingredients in a jar, add a ribbon and tag, and you have a simple but stylish gift.
For an easy shortcut to homemade jar gifts, simply visit our Bulk Department and find your favorite soup mix. Pour the mix into a jar and be sure to include cooking instructions on a gift tag.
Give the gift of baking by attractively assembling all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies, muffins or brownies in tall glass jars. Use pretty ribbons to tie on the recipe, along with a wooden spoon or whisk for an extra special touch. Friends will be encouraged to easily bake their own treats that come from the heart, not a box!
- 1 cup Packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup White sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 8–10 minutes. Allow to cool, then enjoy!
Bulk Candy & Nuts
Our Bulk Department is a snack lover’s paradise. Fill a mason jar with an assortment of candy, dried fruit and/or nuts, tie it with some beautiful wired ribbon, and you’re on your way. For the avid hiker on my holiday list, I combined six of my favorite bulk ingredients to make a trail mix that’s full of energy, flavor and texture. You could certainly layer each ingredient separately for a more artistic presentation.
- Dark chocolate chips
- Dried cranberries
- Dried cherries
Now that winter is almost upon us, it’s “root vegetable” season in the Sprouts Produce Department. Things that you may have ignored all year long, like yams, beets, turnips and parsnips, are suddenly much in demand for soups, stews and savory dishes. However, the colorful fruits of fall aren’t quite done yet. In fact they can be used to make some very dramatic displays throughout the holiday season.
Fruity Flounces & Flourishes
As you gussy-up your house for the holidays, there’s no need to go to the craft store. Just head to the Sprouts Produce Department for a one-stop shop! Apples, pomegranates, citrus fruit and pears are easy alternatives to fragile glass and crystal knick-knacks, and best of all, they are eco-friendly and don’t require storage once the festivities have concluded. Simply discard in the trash, or better yet, add them to the compost heap.
Check out these simple ideas for some fresh food frills:
Apples are a quick, inexpensive way to add whimsy to your dinner table. Use your very best handwriting or print out names on small name cards. Cut a small slit in the top of the apples and insert the place card. Place a finished apple at each place setting. Alternate red and green apples for a festive color scheme. Try this technique with pears and pomegranates too.
Choose small sturdy fruits that will last, such as small limes, lemons, tangerines, apples and pears. Generously coat each piece with egg wash and shake off the excess. Roll in white granulated sugar and let dry. Arrange the sugared fruit on a decorative cake stand dusted with more sugar for a snowy feel. Add a few pillar candles for added drama. It’s perfect as a centerpiece for your holiday buffet. Use the sugar-and-egg white technique to frost evergreen boughs and pine cones, too.
Fill clear glass vases of various sizes halfway full with fresh, whole cranberries and place on a mantle or table. For variety, fill clear glass cylinder vases halfway with water and add the berries. Cranberries are buoyant so they will float; add a floating candle for glowing warmth. Cranberries will last up to two weeks in water.
Bundle whole cinnamon sticks and secure with a rubber band. Tie a bow using colored, decorative ribbon around the bundle and cover up the band. Leave a loop or insert an ornament hook for easy hanging.
DIY ice cream bars are a fun and easy answer to entertaining this summer. Not only do they allow friends and family to make their favorite ice cream creations, but a simple ice cream bar is sure to let you enjoy your gathering without the hassle. If you’re trying to escape the heat, host a summer barbecue, or craving a frozen dessert—look no further!
Pick Your Ice Cream
These days there are so many frozen treats to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an ice cream that’s made with organic ingredients, a non-dairy alternative made from coconut or a traditional fresh-churned vanilla, you’re sure to find an ice cream you can enjoy while shopping at Sprouts.
Choose Your Toppings
When it comes to toppings for your ice cream bar, the Sprouts Bulk Department just can’t be beat. We have hundreds of bins and barrels brimming with scoopable goodies. For a decadent ice cream bar, snag a bag of dark chocolate covered blueberries or milk chocolate toffee. If you want to give your guests a taste of traditional sundaes, grab a scoop of roasted peanuts or pecan pieces. See all the choices the Bulk Department has to offer.
We promise there’s nothing tastier than fresh produce with your bowl of ice cream. This summer you can find mountains of fresh produce to pair with the perfect frozen creation: sweet peaches, tangy cherries, juicy plums … strawberries, blueberries, blackberries … bananas, pineapples … need we go on?
Every good ice cream bar needs a few special toppings. Browse through our grocery aisles and you’ll find a few goodies you can’t leave without. Here are a few treats to help inspire your DIY ice cream bar.
- Sprouts Organic Shredded Coconut – Pairs well with banana, dried mangos and macadamia nuts.
- Sprouts Old-Fashioned Vanilla Wafers – Pairs well with raspberries and glazed pecans.
- Sprouts Snickerdoodles – Pairs well with peaches, caramel sauce and butter toffee peanuts.
- Sprouts Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel & Sea Salt – Pairs well with fresh cherries and roasted almonds.
Set the Table:
Now that you have the perfect treats for your ice cream bar, why not snazzy up your table? Stout mason jars can be transformed to make the perfect sundae bowls and small metal pails are ideal containers to hold ice cream bar toppings. No matter your style, and whatever flavors you favor, get creative and enjoy!
Give the gift of baking by attractively assembling all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies, breads or brownies in tall glass jars. Use pretty ribbons to tie on the recipe, along with a wooden spoon or cookie cutter for an extra special touch. Don’t forget to print out and attach the recipe cards to the jar mixes!
Here are a few tasty suggestions to get you started.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 1/2 cups Coconut flour
- 2 tsp. Ground ginger
- 1 tsp. Ground cloves
- 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Ground allspice
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 cup Brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Solid coconut oil, melted
- 2 Eggs
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted coconut oil, brown sugar spices and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in coconut flour.
- Scoop cookie batter onto prepared baking sheet using a small ice cream scoop or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies
- 3/4 cup Softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups Brown sugar
- 3 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1 Egg
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1 cup Dried cranberries
- 1 cup White chocolate morsels
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a medium pan with parchment paper.
- Soak cranberries in bowl with hot water for 3 minutes. Drain water from cranberries.
- Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Carefully mix in cranberries and white chocolate morsels.
- Press mixture evenly into pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!
- 1 2/3 cups Flour
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. Ground cloves
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Sprouts Canned Pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Chocolate chips, optional
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and water. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips if desired.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 55–65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2/3 cup Cocoa powder
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Crushed peppermint sticks
- 1 1/4 cups Flour
- 1 pinch of Salt
- 1 cup Butter
- 1/4 cup Boiling water
- 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing excess paper to overlap the edges.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and sugar; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add the cocoa powder and salt. Add the boiling water and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is paste-like. Add sugar, vanilla and butter, mix using an electric mixer until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
- Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish, batter consistency will be thick. Smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies are cooked through. Cool in the pan or a wire rack for 1 hour.