Aw summer … the one time of the year where we can sink our teeth into some delicious, juicy stone fruit. Whether you prefer munching on cherries or biting into peaches and plums, stone fruit are absolutely delicious when they are consumed at their peak of ripeness. Unfortunately, that window of opportunity is quite short — unlike apples and oranges, stone fruit do not have a long shelf life.
So how long do you have before your apricots and nectarines go bad and what tips should you follow to keep stone fruit at their prime? We have you covered.
Allow apricots to ripen at room temperature in a paper bag for 2 to 5 days. When the fruit is soft, it is ready to eat. Unripe apricots can be stored at room temperature up to 5 days. Refrigerate ripe apricots in a sealed container up to one week.
Cherries are ready to eat when purchased and can be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to three days. Did you know that cherries can lose more quality in one hour at room temperature than a day in the refrigerator? Also put off washing the cherries until you are ready to eat them, as moisture can be absorbed where the stem meets the fruit and lead to splits or spoilage.
For unripe nectarines, store on kitchen counter at room temperature, away from sunlight. Ripening a nectarine takes a day or two. If you want to speed up the process, pop it in a paper bag. Once you’ve got fresh, ripe nectarines, storing them in the refrigerator will only extend their shelf-life by a day or two.
Keep peaches unwashed and stem-side down on the counter, preferably in a single layer to avoid bruising. Once ripe, transfer to the fridge. Be aware that extended time in the fridge will dehydrate the fruit, making the texture less appealing. If it gets to that point, you might want to make peach butter.
Plums are extremely perishable. Storing ripe plums in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer will prolong their eating life — they should keep for 3 to 5 days.