In a more perfect world, you'd be able to bite or cute into a ripe peach and never have to worry about that rock-hard pit in the center. But without peach pits there are no peach trees, and we don't want to live in that world.
Fortunately, pitting peaches is pretty easy. You just need to follow a few basic steps to make sure you can remove the pit without bruising the soft ripe fruit or accidentally removing some of the peach flesh along with the pit. Here's what you need to do:
There's more than one type of peach! Some peach varieties are freestone peaches—peaches that separate easily from the pit—and clingstone peaches—peaches whose pits are firmly connected to the flesh.
There's no reliable way to tell if a peach is freestone or clingstone just by looking at it, so it helps to know some of the common peach varieties. Most peaches you'll buy fresh at the grocery store are freestone peaches, especially if you're buying sometime between late May and early October when these peach varieties are harvested (the harvest season for clingstone peaches can begin earlier in the spring).
Freestone varieties include both yellow and white peach varieties such as Baby Crawfords, Donut Peaches, Golden Jubilees, Nectars, Redhavens, and Santa Barbaras. Clingstone varieties include yellow and white peaches such as Halfords, Orange Clings, Strawberry Clings, Sunhavens, and White Heath Clings. As you can tell, clingstone peaches often—but not always—have "cling" in their name and are easy to spot.
Freestone and clingstone peaches are both excellent, though many prefer freestone peaches when buying them fresh, since they're much easier to pit. With clingstone peaches, sometimes it is easiest to simply cut around the pit, sacrificing some of the peach flesh in the process. Clingstone peaches tend to be preferred when canning.
It helps to make sure the peach is ripe before pitting it. Unripened peaches are not only less satisfying to eat, but their pits are also loath to loosen their grip on the firm peach flesh surrounding them. Need tips on ripening peaches? Check out 3 Easy Ways To Ripen Peaches.
Find the seam of the peach, or imagine a line along the outside of the peach that runs from stem, to bottom, and back to stem all the way around the peach. This is the line along which you will cut the peach, much the same way you would cut open an avocado.
With a sharp knife, cut into the fruit until the knife hits the pit, then pull the knife around the fruit along that seam or imaginary line so that you've cut the peach into two separate hemispheres around the pit.
Once you've bisected the peach around the pit, twist each half in opposite directions until you can easily pull one half away from the other. The pit will still be embedded in one half of the peach.
Use a knife edge or spoon to get under the tip of the peach pit and gently pry it away from the remaining peach half. Et voilà! You have pitted your peach.
If the pit is still difficult to remove, make an additional cut crosswise along the remaining peach hemisphere to cut it in half, then use the same gentle twisting method to separate the halves. You can repeat this process as needed until the pit is easy to remove from the remaining peach portion.
Got any peach pit tips of your own? Be a peach and let us know in the comments!