When the farmers' market teems with peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots in late summer, there’s one question on everyone’s minds: What’s the best way to get the pit out of a stone fruit?
TikTok has recently supplied an unconventional answer: needle-nose pliers. The method involves opening the pliers and plunging them into the fruit on opposite sides of the stem to grab, twist, and extract the pit.
While this pliers technique has generated plenty of buzz on social media, and a quick test proved that the method worked, we wondered if this is truly the easiest way to extract a stone fruit’s pit. How many people really have clean pliers available in their kitchen the moment a peach needs pitting? Could we find a method that was just as effective but didn’t require any speciality equipment? With these questions in mind, I stockpiled pounds of stone fruit in the test kitchen and set out to find the quickest, cleanest way to pit them.
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Four Methods for Pitting Stone Fruit
I gathered a variety of stone fruit—peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots—and pitted each using the following four methods.
The pliers hack: extracting the pit by inserting needle-nose pliers around the stem and pulling the pit out
Slicing on the seam: slicing the fruit vertically (from stem to bottom) and pulling the pit out of one side
The equator cut: the tried-and-true Cook’s Illustrated method of slicing the fruit around the equator and twisting the halves in opposite directions to release the pit
The chopstick push: another unconventional trick that involves inserting a chopstick into one end of the fruit and pushing the pit out through the other side
The Best Method for Pitting Stone Fruit
After testing every method on every fruit, I found that determining the best method depended on the intended use for the fruit.
To make jam, many methods work equally well. If you want to keep your fruit whole, or if you want beautiful clean cuts, such as for a fruit salad, certain methods won’t work at all. Here is a summary of my findings.
Now that you can pit your stone fruit without fear, one final note on these summer treats: They must be fully ripe before they are put in the refrigerator. Unripe stone fruit that is refrigerated will not ripen any further, and will only turn mealy and disappointing. So ripen your stone fruits on the counter, remove those pits carefully, and enjoy these summer days while they last.