As the summer progresses, the opportunities abound to enjoy fresh stone fruit in peak season. In order to experience these sweet fruits at their best, it’s important to know the best way to select and store them. Our friends at Family Tree Farms, a family-owned company that provides quality California-grown stone fruit, gave us a few tips.
When choosing yellow or white peaches, look for either a yellow or creamy white background with no green. But, if you are purchasing the flat variety of peaches or nectarines, a green cast on the fruit is perfectly normal and is not an indication of ripeness. The sweetest nectarines will have “sugar spots” on them, a sign that the fruit is so packed with sugar that it is crystallizing on the skin.
Storage of all three types is the same and depends on how you prefer to eat the fruit. If you like them firm, purchase them firm and eat within a day or two, do not refrigerate. If you prefer soft and juicy peaches and nectarines, leave them out at room temperature until they are your desired softness. You can then refrigerate the fruit and they will remain in that stage for up to a week.
Plums and plumcots (or pluots) are similar and the same rules of thumb can be applied to both. They come in a variety of colors, from black to bright green. Look for fairly firm fruit with a slight give and avoid ones that appear “watery” or have shriveled skin. They often have a white coating called “bloom”, which is a natural protective coating produced by the fruit. It is harmless and does not affect taste, but can be removed with a cloth before eating. Keep your plums or plumcots at room temperature until they reach the desired softness, and then refrigerate. They will last for a week or more in a refrigerator.
Apricots and apriums (a cross between apricot and plum) are picked at their best size and sugar, but may still be changing color. If the fruit has a slight hint of green on the skin, keep at room temperature for one or two days to ripen. When they are soft, they can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.
Just remember these quick tips and you’ll be savoring stone fruit at their best throughout the season!