How-To & Diy

The Best Ways to Pit Stone Fruit

July 17, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: In place of a heart of gold, stone fruits have a hard pit. With a few easy tricks, remove that pit and start enjoying the summer's juiciest, most colorful fruits.

Stone fruit, from Food52

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"Drupe." It's a word that sounds like it might be an insult.

To call something a drupe, however, is really more of a compliment. A drupe is a fruit in which a hard pit or stone is surrounded by a fleshy, edible outer layer that we humans eat -- and enjoy.

Thus, to label something a drupe is to associate it with tangy mangoes, candy-sweet dates, and the fruit that's the brightest and juiciest of all this time of year: stone fruit. We're talking peaches, cherries, nectarines, plums, apricots, and their lovechild, pluots.

Stone fruit, from Food52

While stone fruit are perhaps the most famous of drupes -- anyone who takes a bite of a ripe, farmer's market peach in August can understand why -- they are also the most pesky. It's hard to resist shouting "You stupid drupe!" when you're trying to remove a plum pit that's clinging on for dear life.

We're going to help you stop using drupe as an insult by showing you the easiest ways to remove a stubborn pit.

First, pop open that drupe. Stick a sharp knife into the fruit along the seam that runs from top to bottom until you feel the pit. Run the knife around the pit at the midpoint of the fruit so that you have two equal halves.

Twist the two halves in opposite directions (as you would an avocado or an Oreo) until you feel the flesh detach from the pit.

If the stars have aligned in your favor, you'll be able to use your thumb to pop the pit out of the flesh with no problems.

But if you're living a less charmed life, chances are that the pit won't want to give up its prime real estate so easily. In that case, use a paring knife to cut around the pit and pry it out. A spoon -- or for small stone fruit, a melon baller -- can also be used to dislodge the pit.

Don't fret about removing the pit if you're aiming to slice the stone fruit. Simply slice the fruit into wedges before detaching the pit and you'll have perfect segments for a peach salad or a peach tart.

If you need chunks of stone fruit and you're having trouble removing the pit, score the entire fruit by first making several slices from top to bottom, then cutting perpendicularly to those segments. Run your knife along the pit to pry the fruit off in cubes. (The Kitchn has a great demonstration of this trick.) Use the chunks in a summer peach cake or a plum avocado salad.

Or, if you can't fathom fighting with the pit, just sink your teeth into a ripe stone fruit. The juices will run down your chin and your hands are bound to get sticky, but you'll understand why drupes are, arguably, the best fruits of all.

Do you have any tips for dealing with stone fruit? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lisa Nett
    Lisa Nett
  • Chris Van Houten
    Chris Van Houten
  • mrslarkin
  • imadok
  • meraviglia
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Lisa N. July 19, 2013
I pit cherries with a paper clip! I am curious to try the drinking straw method, but sadly there are more paper clips than drinking straws in my arsenal.
Chris V. July 17, 2013
Thanks for the advice! I pit cherries by poking a drinking straw through the cherry from top to bottom- it's just the right size to push the pits out without mangling the fruit.
Brette W. July 18, 2013
We have a similar trick!
mrslarkin July 17, 2013
The difference in peaches - freestone vs. cling - will determine the ease of pitting your fruit. Sadly, i have yet to discover how to tell one from the other.
Sarah J. July 17, 2013
Thanks for this wonderful resource!
imadok July 17, 2013
When I twist the two halves like an oreo, it just mashes wherever I am holding on, and the two halves refuse to separate. Any tips for that issue?
meraviglia July 17, 2013
Typo: (The Kitchn has a great demonstartion [sic] of this trick.)
Sarah J. July 17, 2013
My keys must've been a bit sticky from all that drupe juice -- thanks for your sharp eyes, meraviglia!
Angela B. July 17, 2013
This is a great post! I like the Oreo bit -- I'll likely think of that whenever I'm cutting stone fruit from here on in.
Kenzi W. July 17, 2013
Also love the Oreo bit!
Sarah J. July 17, 2013
Thank you Angelia and Kenzi!
Kristen M. July 17, 2013
It IS just like an Oreo. I never thought about that before. Thanks for the super handy tutorial, Sarah. Long live drupes!