Nothing beats a fresh, juicy summertime peach. You can tell a good one by the way the juice drips down your chin (making a napkin a necessity). But what if you want to enjoy one sliced, without the messy face? Or maybe you want to cook with them or freeze a few to preserve summer's goodness. If so, you need to get the pit out first. But pitting peaches doesn't have to be a chore, even if food prep isn't your favorite pastime. Just choose the right variety, develop your method, and soon you'll be pitting like a pro.
What Varieties of Peaches Are Easiest to Pit?
When pitting peaches, it's best to choose a variety that is considered "freestone," meaning the stone falls right off of the flesh when it's cut. Many store-bought yellow and white peaches fall into this category. One of the most famous is the Georgia peach.
Clingstone peaches—peaches that are harder to pit because the pit firmly adheres to the flesh—are mostly used for canning. The flesh of a clingstone tends to be firm, juicy, and flavorful. The Queencrest peach is a good example of a clingstone.
Peach aficionados who like the juiciness of a clingstone, but want easy pitting should choose a hybridized variety of peaches called "semi-freestone." The pit easily falls out of these peaches, but the flesh is juicy, similar to that of a clingstone. The Desert Gold peach is a favorite in this category.
How to Pit a Peach
Pitting peaches is a no-brainer, really. In fact, a little common sense will get it done. But here's the quick and dirty lowdown:
- Using a paring knife, pierce the peach at its stem attachment, slicing it along the seam all the way around the fruit. Your knife will naturally hit the pit and it will become your guide for stabilizing the cut.
- Place each half of the peach in either hand. Twist the halves in opposite directions.
- Pull the halves apart to reveal the pit.
- Pull the pit away from the flesh with your fingers.
Pitted Peach Ideas
After the pit is free, you can simply dig into this juicy wonder and eat it as-is. Or you can slice it, peel it and use it in a myriad of recipes. Try an unconventional approach and pop your peaches on the grill and then use them to top a salad or ice cream. The heat brings out the peach's sweetness to balance a spicy arugula salad or fancy up a frozen dessert. Or throw your pitted peach into a blender along with orange juice, yogurt, and a few leaves of fresh mint for a refreshing summer smoothie.
Feel like baking instead? A crowd-pleasing peach cobbler is a classic summertime dish (just like grandma used to make). Or you can freeze them to preserve summer's goodness. Come December, a delicious peach pie will be the hit of your holiday festivities.