But for those not born into the orchard, sometimes it can be hard to tell when fruits, especially stone fruits, are ripe. That's where I come in. Here's are some easy guidelines for how to choose ripe and delicious peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums every time. So you will never again have to waste your money on stone fruits that taste more like, well, stones.
Look: Ripe peaches and nectarines should have a pretty pink and yellow surface (plums should be red and/or purple, and apricots should be, uh, apricot). There should be no green or brown spots anywhere.
Feel:Without pressing too hard and creating bruises, gently squeeze the fruit with your whole hand (not just pressing in your thumb). The fruit should feel firm, but not hard, and should give just a little under light pressure. There should be no soft or liquidy spots anywhere.
Sniff: Hold the fruit up to your nose and take a whiff. With all stone fruits, there should be a soft, distinct, fruity aroma. If you don't smell anything, it's a dud- put the fruit down and slowly back away from the produce section.
Follow these rules, and every produce shopping experience will be peachy keen.
Note: Upon reading this post, my husband asked "Wait, what are stone fruits?" I gasped, but then remembered that the poor boy grew up in the Northeast, where the winters are harsh, the soil is rocky and most of the produce is imported. So if you are similarly disadvantaged, stone fruits are all fruits that have pits- peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. And cherries, actually, which come from Michigan, the other place I grew up. So, yeah, I know me some stone fruit.