Summer means stone fruit, glorious stone fruit. AHO subscribers are about the luckiest bunch of folks, having access to the best organic stone fruit grown by Uncle Vern himself. Many of us just grab the fruit straight out of the box (or some might have enough patience to let it sit in our AHO bag until we get home) but for those of you with patience enough to let it ripen just right on the counter you might have experienced occasional difficulty cutting into it and removing the pit. Stone fruit (think Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Pluots, Apricots, Apriums, Cherries – to name a few) all with a pit inside, come in either freestone, semi-clingstone, and clingstone varieties. Wait, huh? Let’s dissect these funny terms and how best to slice open your fresh fruit to save you the frustration of removing the pit and while keeping the fruit intact.
Freestone, Semi-Clingstone, Clingstone varieties
Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, most of us wouldn’t be able to identify one of these varieties just by looking at it from the outside. In fact, in most cases unless you happen to know your farmer and what variety of stone fruit they grow (hey lucky us, AHO subscribers do!) you might not find out until you cut it open.
A freestone fruit will have an easily removable pit (as in it basically falls out as soon as you cut it open). A semi-clingstone fruit, or a clingstone fruit has a pit that is tightly attached to the flesh of the fruit (ie. it “clings”) and can be quite difficult to remove. Freestone fruit tends to be better for canning because its easy to prepare, and some claim that clingstone fruit tend to be sweeter. We will let you be the judge of that, but let’s talk about how to best slice open your stone fruit so you can get to eating already.
Tips for Cutting Open Your Stone Fruit
The typical assumption is to slice your stone fruit down the line or indentation that runs from the stem to the base of the fruit. We will let you in on a little tip. The easiest way is to slice the fruit perpendicular to this indentation, along the horizon of the fruit, and then twist the fruit until it separates from the pit.
Once the fruit is separated in two, then you slice the half with the pit again, perpendicular to indentation, and twist again. Even the most stubborn pit should easily be removed.
Peeling Your Stone Fruit
Peeling stone fruit is great when you are making pies / cakes / smoothies or basically anything where you don’t want the skin of the fruit to join in. The process is quite simple, and works best when the fruit is ripe. Start by cutting a little “X” on the bottom of each piece of fruit.
Set a big pot of water on the stove and boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, drop in the whole fruit for 20-30 seconds.
Be sure to have a big bowl of ice water at the ready. Once the fruit has been blanched, plunge the whole fruit into the ice water for about a minute.
Remove the fruit and place on a clean cutting board. Grab hold of those “X” marks on the bottom of the fruit and peel the skin. If properly blanched the skin should remove almost in one piece. Now your fruit is ready for slicing and blending and all the fun recipes we have available for you to make!