What is stone fruit?
Stone fruits actually get their name from the pit or “stone” in their center that is actually a large seed! Fruits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and mangos are well-known stone varieties, but cherries and even raspberries are classified as stone fruits!
The fruit is categorized by being either freestone or clingstone, which reference how much the flesh of the fruit adheres to the pit or the “stone”.
Simply put, freestone implies a looser connection in comparison to clingstone and though the pit won’t just fall out of a freestone fruit it will be markedly easier to remove!
Another difference between the two is that the clingstone fruits are juicer and slightly sweeter, which is ideal for canning and preserving.
Selection, ripening, and storage
The stone fruit’s skin should be smooth and plump and it should feel heavy for its size.
When picking out stone fruit at the supermarket, don’t worry about a few bruises as this indicates a ripe, tasty fruit that may actually be better than a blemish-free one!
The fruit’s aroma is a great way to test the ripeness without squeezing it, and the more aromatic the better.
Cherries should always be stored unwashed in a breathable produce bag in the refrigerator and other stone fruits should be also unwashed and kept in a paper bag. Once ripe, the fruit should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
If you want to peel the fruit maybe before cooking or baking but are having a hard time, try dropping the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then plunge it in an ice bath. The skin should almost fall off after this!
Ideas for enjoying stone fruits
Eat them out of hand like an apple! Be warned, they are pretty juicy so make sure you have a napkin or two around before digging in!
Chop and garnish ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Add to oatmeal, smoothies, or even cold cereal!
Mash them up and add a little lemon juice, raw sugar, and a pinch of warm spice like cinnamon; then just as you would a jam on toast or a scone – delicious!
What if my stone fruit becomes too ripe?
Easy! Your overripe fruit doesn’t have to go to waste – and it shouldn’t! Try making a single jar of jam if you have about half a dozen stone fruits hanging around.
You can also easily make a quick bread which is like banana bread but without the bananas and instead with your leftover stone fruit!
Freezing the fruit is always an option and it’s a great one if you will use them in smoothies in the future! Frozen fruit gives an extra creamy texture to your drink instead of a watery mess.
Try making a salad dressing with the fruit, some olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and seasoning all in a blender until smooth. This type of sweet dressing is fantastic with some salty nuts or cheese on your salad.
No matter which way you decide to use up your overripe stone fruit, you can’t go wrong with this delicious produce!