Melissa's Guide to Summer Stone Fruit

Melissa's Summer Stone Fruit is grown in the U.S. from late May to early October . Options include; peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines.   Specialty varieties  of these fruits are available as well and are among the most delectable of Summer’s stone fruits.  To name a couple, Plumcots and Apriums , both of these varieties get their name because of their unique characteristics.  These  particular varieties  are the result of cross breeding Plums and Apricots  during the growth process.

Stone fruit is a common name for the category of fruit, so-called because they contain a stone, or pit, at the center of the fruit. We have been enjoying stone fruits in the US for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.   Fans of Summer Stone Fruit  love to eat them out of hand, but of course, they’re also enjoyed in an abundance of sweet and savory recipes: like salads, sangrias, and of course pies and cobblers.

How to Buy

Most peaches, plums, and nectarines are picked before they’re fully ripe, to prevent bruising in transport. Look for fruit that is firm to the touch without brown spots or wrinkling. Don't be afraid to take a sniff—peaches, plums, and nectarines should smell as delicious as you'd expect them to taste.

How to Store

Leave stone fruits out at room temperature for a day or two to ripen; they’re ready when slightly tender to the touch—a firm press with your finger near the stem end will leave a slight dent. Once ripe, store stone fruits in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer, uncovered and unwashed, for up to five days.

How to Prepare

Wash stone fruits in cold water before using. To pit the fruit, slice through the flesh along the seam and in a full circle around the stone; then twist in opposite directions to separate the halves. Remove the stone with a knife end.

Freestone vs Clingstone

What is the difference between a freestone and clingstone type peach?

A freestone peach is one where the flesh (mesocarp) separates from the stone (endocarp).  When the fruit is cut in half, there is easy separation at the pit and the pit can be removed by hand.  It may even fall out if you tip the cut fruit over.  Freestone peaches are popular for home canning because their ease of preparation.  Clingstone peaches have flesh that clings to the stone.  When the fruit is cut in half, it is very difficult to separate the two halves because the flesh is stuck in the pit.  For commercial canning of nonmelting flesh clingstone peaches in California, machines are used to cut/separate the fruit.  Source: Clemson University

Stone Fruit Varieties (visual guide)

Plumcots / Pluots

Season: May through September
The best of both worlds, 1/2 Plum & 1/2 Apricot, all sweet, juicy flesh, all summer!

Yellow Nectarines

Season: May through September
Full of color and vibrant flavor, dripping with perfectly sweet, juicy goodness with no fuzz.

Yellow Peaches

Season: May through September
Full of color and vibrant flavor, dripping with perfectly sweet, juicy goodness with just a little fuzz.

White Nectarines

Season: May through September
Sweet and little bite of tart, just like a little angel with a little mischief with no fuzz.

White Peaches

Season: May through September
Sweet and little bite of tart, just like a little angel with a little mischief with a little fuzz.

Plums

Season: May through October
Big, bold and beautiful, heirloom varieties that will take you back in the day or simply make your day!

Apricots

Season: May through early June
New varieties of exceptional tasting limited crop stone fruits, don’t miss out on these treats of the summer!

Velvet Apricots* 

Season: May through June
Just an amazing piece of fruit! Crazy sweet with a delicate, irresistible flesh that everyone will love!



Hidden Gems: Cherry Plums, Velvet Sunrise, & Sugar Plums 
Season: Late June through July
Some are super sweet, some are sweet-tart, but every piece is a juicy, flavorful reminder of the pleasures of summer! 




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