Stone Fruit

Get The Most Out of Your Stone Fruit from Backyard Eats

Harvesting Stone Fruit

When It’s Ready
  • Observe the fruit’s color and texture: Stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, and cherries, should have vibrant colors and a slightly soft texture when they are ripe.
  • Gently press the fruit: If it yields slightly to pressure but still holds its shape, it is ready for harvest.
  • Harvest when the fruit easily detaches: The fruit should come off the tree or stem with a gentle twist or tug.
  • Late summer, typically from August to September
When It’s Too Late
  • Overripe stone fruits become overly soft, mushy, and may develop bruises or signs of decay.
  • Regularly check your trees or plants to ensure you harvest them at the optimal ripeness.
How To
  • Hold the fruit gently and twist or give it a slight tug to detach it from the tree or stem.
  • Place harvested fruits carefully in a container, being mindful not to bruise or damage them.
  • Avoid stacking or piling the fruits too high to prevent crushing.

Varieties of Stone Fruit:

Cherries | Peaches


About Stone Fruit

Peaches are trees that can grow 10-12 feet tall for semi-dwarf varieties. They require full sun to thrive and consistent pruning, but not a pollinating pair.

Flowering/Fruiting Tendencies

Peaches are renowned for their stunning display of pink blossoms in spring, followed by an abundant harvest of juicy, aromatic fruits in summer. Home gardeners can expect prolific fruiting from semi-dwarf peach trees, making them a rewarding addition to any garden landscape.

Design Notes

Semi-dwarf peach trees offer both ornamental beauty and practicality in home gardens, with their attractive canopy of pink blooms in spring and lush foliage throughout the growing season. Their manageable size makes them suitable for smaller spaces, while their graceful branching structure adds visual interest to the landscape.

Care Notes

Careful attention to pruning is crucial for semi-dwarf peach trees to maintain an open canopy, promote airflow, and facilitate fruit development. Adequate sunlight, well-drained soil, and regular watering, especially during fruit development, are essential for healthy growth and bountiful harvests. Vigilance against common pests such as peach leaf curl or Oriental fruit moth, coupled with cultural practices like sanitation and proper tree spacing, helps ensure a thriving peach orchard with minimal intervention.

Newly planted perennials require some additional care to help establish and support the plants as they grow. Water newly planted perennials deeply at the root 2-3 times a week during the first growing season. Apply compost and wood chip mulch in the late winter/early spring.

Storing Stone Fruit

Fresh Storage:

For peaches or plums: store fruit at room temperature until ripe, then keep them in the refrigerator for up to five days

For cherries: refrigerate unwashed cherries in a breathable container or perforated plastic bag for up to five days

Long-Term Storage: Pit the fruits, slice them, and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring them to a freezer-safe container for up to six months.

Cooking With Stone Fruit

  1. Peach Cobbler: Slice fresh peaches and toss them with sugar, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Top the peaches with a sweet biscuit or crumble topping and bake until golden and bubbly. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  2. Plum Jam: Cook sliced plums with sugar and lemon juice until they break down and thicken into a luscious jam. Enjoy the homemade jam on toast, scones, or as a filling for pastries and cookies.
  3. Cherry Clafoutis: Arrange fresh cherries in a baking dish and pour a custard-like batter over them. Bake until the clafoutis is set and golden. Serve warm as a delightful dessert or breakfast treat.
  4. Grilled Nectarines: Cut nectarines in half and remove the pits. Grill them until they develop grill marks and become slightly tender. Serve the grilled nectarines with a dollop of yogurt or a scoop of ice cream for a simple yet flavorful dessert.
  5. Apricot Glazed Chicken: Mix apricot preserves with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a touch of vinegar. Brush the glaze over chicken pieces and bake or grill until the chicken is cooked through. The sweet and tangy glaze adds a delicious twist to the chicken.
  6. Stone Fruit Salad: Combine sliced stone fruits like peaches, plums, and cherries with mixed greens, crumbled cheese (such as goat cheese or feta), toasted nuts, and a light vinaigrette dressing. The combination of sweet and juicy stone fruits with savory elements creates a refreshing and vibrant salad.

Try These Stone Fruit Recipes:

Want To Learn More?

At Backyard Eats, we’re passionate about helping our clients discover and share the magic of homegrown good. Our Harvest Guides will teach you everything you need to know to harvest, store, and cook with fresh produce right from your own backyard! Our Harvest Toolkit Directory includes a list of all our step-by-step guides. Click below to give them a try!