Stone Fruits 101 – Everything You Need to Know

With the arrival of summer, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about so-called stone fruits. But you may be wondering:

What is a stone fruit anyway?

If you’ve ever enjoyed a peach or cherry, you’ve eaten a stone fruit. This family of produce, also known as drupes, are named for the pit, or “stone,” found in the fruit’s center.

Common stone fruits include peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, cherries, mangos, dates, blackberries, raspberries, and coconuts. Blackberries and raspberries are actually clusters of tiny drupes, each containing their own seed.

Additionally, coconuts are technically drupes because they have three layers, the inmost of which is a seed. The part that we typically buy at the store and consume is actually the “pit” of the coconut.

There are two subcategories of stone fruits– clingstone and freestone– based on how easily the pit separates from the flesh. Freestone pits are not fully attached to the flesh, so they fall out easily. Whereas clingstone pits require a little more elbow grease to remove.

On that note, how do you get the pit out?

Some drupe seeds are edible, like blackberries, but others must be pitted before enjoying. Freestone fruits are easy, as the pit should pop right out once you bite or cut into the fruit enough to expose it. However, clingstones can be trickier.

For larger fruits that are in season now, such as peaches, nectarines, and apricots, follow these instructions:

  1. Using a small paring knife, pierce the fruit near its stem until the knife hits the pit.
  2. Using the pit as a guide and stabilizer, run the knife in a circle around the fruit to divide it in half.
  3. Use two hands to gently twist the halves in opposite directions and separate them.
  4. If you cannot easily pick the pit out, carefully slice the half containing the pit into wedges lengthwise (like slices for a pie). Then, remove the slices one at a time until the pit loosens enough to detach easily.

How should stone fruits be eaten?

Choose your own adventure! Stone fruits are delicious when eaten fresh, right out-of-hand. Bite right in, as long as you’re careful of the pit, or slice them up to savor more slowly.

They also take baked goods to next-level deliciousness, from cobblers to cakes and everything in between. Check out a delicious recipe for homemade fresh peach cobbler here!

Be sure to check out the stone fruits in your fruit bin this week, including yellow peaches, white nectarines, and black plums! Not to mention, you can wow your coworkers with stone fruit fun facts while you snack.