The Best Ways to Pit Stone Fruit

A few easy tricks to remove pits and start enjoying the summer's juiciest, most colorful fruits.
07/31/2013 10:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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: A few easy tricks to remove pits and start enjoying the summer's juiciest, most colorful fruits.

"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.

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 perpindicularly 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!


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