A Stone Fruit Primer

Peaches and Nectarines
There are many individual varieties of peaches and nectarines, but really they fall into one of two categories: yellow and white flesh. Yellow peaches and nectarines are ready to eat when they yield to gentle palm pressure and have a balance of sweet and tart flavors. White peaches and nectarines are naturally less tart and can be ready to eat when still firm and crunchy.

Plums
Plums generally have tart skin and sweet flesh. As plums ripen and soften, the skin becomes less tart and the flesh sweeter. Plum flavor can’t be judged by color; whether red, black, purple, yellow or green, each one has a unique flavor.

Pluots
Pluots are hybrid fruits that are part plum and part apricot. They have smooth skin like plums, and there are about 20 varieties in the world, which vary in size, skin color and flesh color. The skin can be solid, striped or speckled, and colors range from yellow-green to black. Pluot flesh can be anywhere from white to red.

Apriums
The aprium is another plum and apricot hybrid, but its heritage is mostly apricot. Like apricots, apriums have slightly fuzzy skin. Pluots and apriums are known for their sweetness and flavor; the sugar content of these fruits is much higher than that of a plum or apricot alone.

Clingstone, Freestone and Semi-Freestone
Stone fruits can be clingstone, freestone or semi-freestone. In clingstone varieties, the flesh holds fast to the pit, while the flesh of freestone varieties is easily separated from the pit. In semi-freestone varieties, the fruit’s flesh easily separates from the pit when the fruit is fully ripened.

As a general rule, early-season peaches and nectarines are clingstone, moving to freestone in the peak season. Late-season peaches are generally freestone and late season nectarines return to clingstone. Most plum varieties are clingstone.

A Stone Fruit Primer

Peaches and Nectarines
There are many individual varieties of peaches and nectarines, but really they fall into one of two categories: yellow and white flesh. Yellow peaches and nectarines are ready to eat when they yield to gentle palm pressure and have a balance of sweet and tart flavors. White peaches and nectarines are naturally less tart and can be ready to eat when still firm and crunchy.

Plums
Plums generally have tart skin and sweet flesh. As plums ripen and soften, the skin becomes less tart and the flesh sweeter. Plum flavor can’t be judged by color; whether red, black, purple, yellow or green, each one has a unique flavor.

Pluots
Pluots are hybrid fruits that are part plum and part apricot. They have smooth skin like plums, and there are about 20 varieties in the world, which vary in size, skin color and flesh color. The skin can be solid, striped or speckled, and colors range from yellow-green to black. Pluot flesh can be anywhere from white to red.

Apriums
The aprium is another plum and apricot hybrid, but its heritage is mostly apricot. Like apricots, apriums have slightly fuzzy skin. Pluots and apriums are known for their sweetness and flavor; the sugar content of these fruits is much higher than that of a plum or apricot alone.

Clingstone, Freestone and Semi-Freestone
Stone fruits can be clingstone, freestone or semi-freestone. In clingstone varieties, the flesh holds fast to the pit, while the flesh of freestone varieties is easily separated from the pit. In semi-freestone varieties, the fruit’s flesh easily separates from the pit when the fruit is fully ripened.

As a general rule, early-season peaches and nectarines are clingstone, moving to freestone in the peak season. Late-season peaches are generally freestone and late season nectarines return to clingstone. Most plum varieties are clingstone.

Raw Milk Cheese vs. Pasteurized Milk Cheese: Which Is Better?

Researchers at France’s Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique made the same cheeses from both raw and pasteurized milk. The raw-milk versions developed flavor sooner, and the flavor was richer and more complex. Their conclusion: “Pasteurization altered the biochemistry and microbiology of ripening and thus the texture and flavor of the cheese.”

While most cheesemakers agree that fresh, high-quality pasteurized milk is better than low-quality raw milk, raw milk will produce a more complex cheese than pasteurized milk. In fact, many cheesemakers use both raw milk and pasteurized milk techniques.

Do raw milk cheeses taste better? Try a Colston Bassett Stilton or Cow Girl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and taste for yourself. Truly, the cheese is only as good as the milk and the cheesemaker. But here are a few rules of thumb when buying cheese:

  • Buy local.
  • Taste before you buy.
  • Buy less and more often.
  • Purchase from cheesemongers who know their business and rotate product, like Central Market
  • Ask your cheesemonger how to store a specific cheese.

Whether your preference is raw milk or pasteurized milk, Central Market has more than 600 at any given time. And remember: cheese is milk’s leap to immortality!

Raw Milk Cheese vs. Pasteurized Milk Cheese: Which Is Better?

Researchers at France’s Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique made the same cheeses from both raw and pasteurized milk. The raw-milk versions developed flavor sooner, and the flavor was richer and more complex. Their conclusion: “Pasteurization altered the biochemistry and microbiology of ripening and thus the texture and flavor of the cheese.”

While most cheesemakers agree that fresh, high-quality pasteurized milk is better than low-quality raw milk, raw milk will produce a more complex cheese than pasteurized milk. In fact, many cheesemakers use both raw milk and pasteurized milk techniques.

Do raw milk cheeses taste better? Try a Colston Bassett Stilton or Cow Girl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and taste for yourself. Truly, the cheese is only as good as the milk and the cheesemaker. But here are a few rules of thumb when buying cheese:

  • Buy local.
  • Taste before you buy.
  • Buy less and more often.
  • Purchase from cheesemongers who know their business and rotate product, like Central Market
  • Ask your cheesemonger how to store a specific cheese.

Whether your preference is raw milk or pasteurized milk, Central Market has more than 600 at any given time. And remember: cheese is milk’s leap to immortality!