Tip Of The Week

July 11, 1999

Apples and pears, especially summer (early crop) varieties, grow perceptibly softer and sweeter after they've been harvested.

Not so with apricots, peaches and nectarines -- known as stone fruits because they contain a single pit, or stone, instead of a core with multiple seeds, as in apples and pears. Stone fruits will soften after picking, but they'll never get any sweeter; which is why they should be selected for optimum ripeness.

Ripe apricots are blushed with color, slightly soft and fragrant. Ripe peaches and nectarines (a fuzzless peach variety) give off a peachy perfume. Their color can range from creamy to yellowish to red; neither should show any green. Stone fruits should feel firm but yield slightly to gentle pressure; avoid hard or mushy fruit.

-- Cole's Cooking A to Z

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