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For the Love of Stone Fruit

What is stone fruit?

Known in botany as a drupe, a stone fruit consists of fruit that surrounds a large, hard “stone-like” seed and are available from June through September. Native to warm climates, stone fruit flowers bloom in early spring. If there happens to be a spring freeze, the colder climates damage the crop. Stone fruit have 3 specific descriptions based on the how strongly the fruit clings to the pit.

Cling: Fibers of the fruit are strongly woven into the pit.

Semi-cling: Fruit fibers are somewhat woven into the pit.

Free-stone: Fruit is free from the pit.

Stone Fruit

Typical Types of Stone Fruit

Peaches

Peaches

Fuzzy soft skin and sweet flesh, you can choose from 3 common peach varieties: yellow, white or saturn (donut) peaches. You can tell the difference between yellow and white peaches by the color of their skin. According to an article, What’s the Difference? White and Yellow Peaches, yellow peaches are a deep yellow color with a red or pink blush, while white peaches are pale and pink. The article goes on to describe the difference in flavor, “…the golden flesh of the yellow peach is more acidic, with a tartness that mellows as the peach ripens and softens. White-fleshed peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft.” Saturn or donut peaches are named because of their flattened, round shape. This peach variety is considered free-cling with a very sweet flavor. “…they are descendants of the flat-peach varieties that are native to China,” according to a description from Specialty Produce.

Nectarines

Nectarines

Almost identical to the peach genetically, the one main difference is the lack of fuzz on the skin of the fruit. According to the article, What’s the Difference Between Peaches and Nectarines, “Nectarines…express a recessive gene that results in no fuzz growth on the outside, and smooth skin. They tend to be smaller, firmer, and more aromatic than peaches, but they can also be more susceptible to diseases. Like peaches, they can be freestone or clingstone, and they also come in white and yellow varieties.”

Mango

Mango

Grown in the tropics, mangos are harvested while they are green, but matured. There are 6 varieties of mangos, including: honey, Francis, Haden, Keitt, Kent, Tommy Atkins, and Palmer. Each variety is available at different times of the year. Mangos taste very sweet and have a distinct aromatic smell. Mango.org lists several facts, including some of the following:

• Mangos are one of the most popular fruit worldwide

• Mangos provide 100% of your daily Vitamin C

• Squeeze gently to judge ripeness

Mango can be tricky to slice if you are not accustomed to it. You can watch this video, How to Cut a Mango, for the best results.

Plums

Typically smaller in size than previously mentioned stone fruit, plums are both sweet and tart to the tongue. Its coloring varies and can be any of the following: yellow, crimson, blue or green depending on the cultivar type. Best between the months of May-September, you can determine a ripeness by applying a gentle pressure and a sweet aroma. Dried plums are better known as prunes. Read more plum details here.

Apricots

Apricots

Apricots are also a small-sized fruit of a golden, orange color. An apricot’s velvet skin texture gives way to a sweet or tart flavor. Many enjoy this fruit in its dried form. There are several apricot-plum hybrids: plumcots, apriplums, plouts, or apriums. Apricot is noted for being superior for skin care and is found in many cosmetics because of its properties. Learn more about the benefits of apricots.

Cherries

Cherries

The smallest of the stone fruit listed, cherries range from bright red to dark crimson in color. The pulp surrounding the seed or pit can be tart or sweet depending on the cultivar. According to an article, Cherry Fruit Nutrition Facts, “Although several species of cherries exist, two popular cultivars are wild or sweet cherry and sour or tart cherry.” The cherry season lasts from May to August.

Extend the Shelf Life of Your Stone Fruit

NatureSeal for Fresh Cut Produce keeps several types of stone fruit from browning for up to 7 days. That means that you can have fresh, sweet juicy stone fruit on hand for snacking all week long. So take advantage of that sale and stock up, without the worry of it going to waste before you can enjoy. Viva summer!

What is your favorite stone fruit? Comment below or visit our Twitter page and tweet us using hashtag #StoneFruitLove