Stone Fruit season has arrived.
Stone fruit season has just arrived in Mzansi. Photo: Hortgro

Stone fruit season is here! Be prepared to see them everywhere – at the shop, in your house and eventually in your mouth. Why? Because they are delicious. Wait, what are stone fruits? They are defined by the single hard pit that can be found within the centre of the fruit. Peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and nectarines are all considered stone fruits.

Richard Hurndall, research and technology manager at Hortgro, says that “stone fruits are harvested from September to March, and can still be available from storage in May and June.”

The climate plays a major role during the harvesting period of any fruit. Hurndall added, “As a general rule, the climate diversity of South Africa, as well as cultivar diversity, gives a wide harvesting window for any product type.”

Stone fruits are defined by the single hard pit that can be found within the centre of the fruit.

So how is it possible that stone fruits, also known as drupes, are available all year long? Well, when it is not stone fruit season in South Africa, the fruit are imported from Spain and Italy.

Just like black and white, stone fruit also has an opposite partner. It is called pome fruit. Pomes are characterised by the small pits they contain in the centre of the fruit. Apples, pears, Asians pears, persimmons and quince, as well as loquats, are all pome fruits. December through May pome fruits such as apples and pears are harvested.

An interesting thing that Hurndall revealed is that some of these fruits are stored until the next season. It is put away within a controlled atmosphere to maintain the freshness of the fruits. “Several varieties can be stored in sound condition until the next season in low oxygen conditions – the fruit is literally put to sleep.”