How to pick and eat the juiciest stone fruits

July 7, 2009 3:58:28 PM PDT
Peaches, plums, apricots: How to pick and when to eat the sweetest and juiciest stone fruits.

About stone fruits:
Stone fruit that is woven into the pit is called "cling." Fruit that has less fiber woven into the pit is called "semi-cling." And fruit that is free of the pit is called "free-stone."

White Peach
Peaches and nectarines are from the same family -- genetically they're the same except that nectarines have a recessive gene that makes them fuzz-less. Peaches come to us from China, via the Persians, along the trade routes of the Silk Road. The Chinese believed that peaches could confer immortality but the FruitGuys only promise that they're high in antioxidants Vitamin A and C.

Yellow Peach
To remove peach skin you can drop peaches in boiling water for 10-15 seconds then quickly remove them and dunk in cold water. The skin will almost "slide off" if you peel it after this process. Of course the skin of stone fruit in general is where many of the nutrients lie and, especially in certain plums, where the mix of sweet and tartness combine. Red color on peaches is an indication of more sunlight and thus more sugar in the fruit.

Saturn or Donut Peach
These squat, white-fleshed peaches are called by many names nowadays. You may hear them referred to as Donuts, Saturns, Saucers, or even Frisbee Peaches (actually I just made that one up but you can use it if you'd like.) They generally run up to 3 1/2 inches in diameter with a flat, round look that draws down and in at the center. The skin will be a pale yellow with a red blush. You can judge ripeness on this peach from both touch and smell. The aroma will increase as it nears perfection and the skin will yield when you squeeze it. I find that you don't want to let this fruit get too soft but should eat it when it begins to give to your touch but still has some firmness. These unique white peaches will be succulent and sweet.

White Nectarine
Peaches without the fuzz! Actually, nectarines ARE peaches but with a recessive gene that makes them a little sweeter and with a smooth skin. Cut down the seam, twist and separate.

Yellow Nectarine
Yellow nectarines tend to have more acid while white do not - thus the difference in the taste.

Mango Nectarines
Mango Nectarines has a wonderfully unique texture and taste. When ripe it is rich and soft like a mango that melts on your tongue and lingers with a demure honey-perfumed flavor. They are best when they begin to soften to the touch. The Mango Nectarine is believed to be a cross of two old-variety pale nectarine sports. Early California nectarines were green-skinned and white-fleshed. They were small but produced sweet-tasting varieties like the John Rivers, Gower, and Quetta. The look of the modern red-skinned nectarine came about in 1942 when Fred W. Anderson of Le Grand, Calif., introduced the Le Grand Nectarine. Since then, nectarines have been grown for deeper red color and larger sizes.

Apricots
The white apricot is a hybridized cross between a Moroccan and an Iranian apricot. It has a very pale-yellow skin color with a slightly-speckled and nearly peach-like blush at the top. The fruit inside is so juicy and refreshing that it tastes like some impossible combination of warm-apricot sorbet. When ready to eat, it has the juiciness and smooth texture of a perfectly-ripened peach but with a unique and indelible lightness.

Apriums
Apriums are 2/3 apricot and 1/3 plum. You should eat them when soft to the touch but don't let them get too soft or mushy as they will quickly move past their prime. Apriums look like apricots but also have a sweet/tart tart bite to them like early plums.

Red Plums
This red plum variety has a unique appearance with sweet, juicy red flesh.

Pluot
Pluots are a cross hybrid of plum and apricot, exhibiting more plum-like traits. They usually exhibit purple skin and dark red flesh.

About Chris Mittelstaedt
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
The FruitGuys

Chris Mittelstaedt is founder and chief executive officer of The FruitGuys, the industry leader in providing farm-fresh produce to the American workplace and now, the home. Chris started The FruitGuys in 1998 with the dream of developing a unique and viable business while advancing the wellbeing of people in the workplace. What started out as a two-person operation and an old Honda filled with fruit has become a multimillion dollar enterprise employing approximately 40 staff. Under his leadership, Chris and The FruitGuys have created a practical and proven method by which to address the rising costs of workplace healthcare and overall corporate productivity levels.

Today some of Chris' hobbies include: dressing as a banana while passing out fruit to people on the street; writing about the farmers and fruit that appear in The FruitGuys boxes; and promoting health prevention as a path to better health care.

Chris is the co-chair of the steering committee for ShapeUP San Francisco - mayor Gavin Newsom's initiative to help San Franciscans move more and eat healthier. Chris is also a former chair and an active member of the Worksite Wellness Committee for the CA Taskforce on Youth and Workplace Wellness. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children who remain his most critical and trusted fruit tasters.
Website: http://www.fruitguys.com


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