All About Stone Fruit
The peachiest season
Nothing says spring like a freshly ripened peach, sweet-tart apricot, or vibrantly red cherry. It’s almost as if sticky fingers and peach juice-stained chins are the official uniforms of warmer weather! Stone fruit season begins mid-to-late April and runs until October. While you might see peaches and plums at your local supermarket, at Sigona’s you won’t see stone fruit until a few weeks into the season. The first stone fruit of the season is small and lacks the developed flavors of fruit harvested a few weeks later (around mid-May). “It’s usually the weather” Robbie Sigona, produce buyer and director of the stores explains. “Compared to fruit harvested later in the season, early stone fruit has been growing when the weather is a lot cooler. This means it has a bit of a hard time developing the sweetness we’ve come to expect from a ripe peach or apricot.”
A fun fact, the first fruit to be eaten on the moon was a stone fruit, enjoyed by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 moon mission. A peach to be specific. Stone fruit get their name from their stone-like pit. Peaches, plums, apricots, dates, mangoes, cherries, coconuts, and olives are stone fruits. There are also endless hybrids like plumcots, apriums, and pluots. Ever wondered about the difference between a plumcot and an aprium? It’s all in the name! Pluots are plum dominant apricot and plum hybrids, while apriums are apricot-dominant apricot and plum hybrids.
To make things more complicated, stone fruit are further categorized by their pits, clingstones and freestones. These terms refer to the level of attachment between the flesh and the pit. Freestones have an easily removeable pit and are well suited for baking. While clingstones can also shine in a pie, they usually require a knife and some patience. The quickest way to get your clingstone peach fix? Your teeth!
Stone fruit hall of fame
Here are some stone fruit favorites:
- Peaches. Peaches are one of the best parts of spring and summer. Peaches come in yellow and white varieties. Best known for their balance of sweetness and acidity, white peaches are milder and sweeter, and are ideal for eating out of hand. Yellow peaches have more acidity and are good for both cooking and snacking. Saturn peaches get their name from their unique shape. Saturn peaches are as wide as yellow and white peaches, but flatter, giving them a donut-like appearance. They are sweeter than their yellow and white counterparts. Because of their size, they are great for eating out of hand.
- Cherries fall into two categories: sweet and tart. Sweet cherries are great for snacking or for sauces or jams. Tart cherries need a little help to sweeten up, which makes them ideal for baking.
- Nectarines are firmer, sweeter, and often juicier than peaches. The most notable difference? The lack of fuzz!
- Apricots are a quintessential California fruit. Apricots have velvety, sun-colored skin, and are sweet to slightly tart. They're one of the most perishable stone fruits. Most harvested apricots end up dried, which makes the fresh one a real treat.
- There are many varieties of plums, making it one of the most varied stone fruits. Plums can be green, yellow, black, or deep purple. Their taste can be anywhere from sweet to tart. Plums have smooth skin often covered with a natural “bloom." The bloom is a whiteish edible layer that helps to protect the fruit from insects and bacteria.
Although stone fruit season lasts for five months, each variety makes a short appearance! Show off your seasonal favorites by tagging us on Instagram @SigonasOffice!