What are Stone Fruits?
Botanically known as drupes, stone fruits contain one pit/stone which is enclosed within the flesh. You will mostly find the stones with either free-standing or clingy stones. Here are 6 splendid stone fruits and their shelf life:
These fragrant fruits belong to the family Rosaceae, and are part of the Prunus species. Plum cultivation is widespread globally, in all temperate zones.
Currently, China tops in plum production. There are two major plum varieties, from which hundreds of minor varieties exist. Flavors range from fragrant sweet to tart. Dried plumes are notably known as prunes.
Nutritionally, plums are loaded with potassium, vitamin C, carbohydrates in form of fruit sugar as well as dietary fiber.
How long do fresh plums last? (In the fridge)
Fresh, ripe plums are highly perishable. As such, refrigerate them to extend their shelf life. Store in plastic bags and consume within 5 days.
Shelf life of plums (in the freezer)
For a longer shelf life, freeze fresh plums. You can freeze whole, cut or pureed plums. When freezing, first immerse the plums in sugar syrup. This helps to retain flavor, texture and color. Pack them in airtight containers.
Well frozen plums have a shelf life of 1 year.
How long do dried plums last? (In the pantry, fridge or freezer)
In as much as prunes have a long shelf life, they can spoil due to poor storage. Unopened bags of prunes keep well in the pantry, fridge or freezer.
In the pantry or fridge, they remain in good quality for up to 1 year.
On the other hand, well frozen prunes last up to 2 years.
You may be fond of garnishing your cocktails with them. Like plums, these vibrant drupes are found in temperate regions. Cherries can either be sweet or tart.
Popular sweet cherries include Bing and Rainier. Tangy, sour varieties like Montmorency are popularly incorporated in both baking and savory dishes. On the other hand, sweet cherries make a wonderful snack.
Besides being sold fresh, cherries are mostly packed in syrup. This is because they deteriorate fast.
Cherries are nutritionally packed with vitamin A, C, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, folate and magnesium.
How long do fresh cherries last? (At room temperature)
Like plums, fresh ripe cherries have a short shelf life. Consume within 3 days at most.
Shelf life of fresh cherries (in the fridge)
For a longer shelf life, refrigerate fresh cherries. Pack them in plastic bags when well dried. Refrigerated cherries keep well for up to 10 days.
How long do frozen cherries last?
For long-term storage, freeze cherries. Pack them in sugar syrup or dry sugar, either when whole or cut. Sour cherries don’t have to be packed in sugar.
Well frozen cherries can last from 8-12 months.
Originally from Asian regions like China, lychees belong to the soapberry family, from the species Litchi chinensis.
They thrive in tropical climates and are popular in Asian and Indian cuisines. They have a pink-red hue, are sweet, with white glossy flesh.
Lychees are touted for their immune-boosting properties due to vitamin C. Additionally, they have high water content, contain antioxidants as well as minerals.
How long do fresh lychees last? (At room temperature)
Due to high water content, consume fresh lychee fruit within 4 days. They have a tendency of browning when exposed to air and moisture.
Shelf life of commercially processed lychees
Lychees rarely comes as fresh, as they deteriorate soon after harvest. As such, their surfaces are dipped in safe chemicals. These chemicals not only preserves their color, they help prolong their shelf life.
Additionally, the nutrients and texture remain intact. After processing, they are kept at optimal cool temperature of 4°. When you buy such, ensure you retain such constant temperatures during storage.
These types of lychees last up to 1.5 months.
Nothing denotes summer vibes like a juicy slice of mango. Though globally widespread, these tropical delicacies are natives of India.
Nowadays, mangoes are among the most consumed fruits in the world. There are hundreds of mango cultivars, both parents as well as hybrids. As such, what is popular in your region may not be the case elsewhere.
Nutritionally, mangoes have abundant supply of vitamin C, A, B6, dietary fiber, magnesium as well as potassium.
Oozing of creaminess, they are pleasantly eaten on their own, made into chutney, butter, juice or tossed into smoothies and baked products.
Shelf life of ripe mangoes (at room temperature)
Mangoes continue to ripen even after harvesting. As such, place them on a cool, dry area until soft.
At room temperature, whole, ripe but firm mangoes keep well for up to 5 days.
How long do mangoes last? (In the fridge)
Whole ripe mangoes last longer when refrigerated. At best, they last for 2 weeks.
On the other hand, sliced and peeled mango leftovers are only good for 1 week. Lack of skin makes them lose texture and nutrients quickly.
Shelf life of frozen mangoes
You can freeze pureed (pulp), whole and sliced mangoes. However, it is not ideal to freeze whole mangoes with the pit on.
When freezing, use heavy-duty wraps or bags to prevent freezer burns, especially for whole ones. Additionally, pack them in small batches that can be used at once.
Well frozen mangoes have a shelf life of 1 year.
How long do dried mangoes (jerky) last?
Certain mango varieties are ideal for drying. Mango leather (dried) has a fairly long shelf life. You can easily dry at home, with the help of sunlight, dehydrator or oven. Take a notch higher and season some mango slices with chili before drying.
Well dried mangoes last up to 2 years in the refrigerator.
I don’t know what’s with stone fruits and China, but peaches are also natives of the same.
Nonetheless, other ancient regions where peaches prevailed include Iran, Japan and Turkey.
Nowadays, besides China, peach cultivation is rife in almost half of the states in U.S.A.
Peaches can have reddish-yellow or white flesh. They give off a sweet fragrance. The skin is synonymous for being fuzzy/frayed.
Peach varieties which have smooth textured skin are commonly called nectarines.
Nutritionally, peaches are packed with dietary fiber, vitamin A and C. Additionally, they contain small amounts of potassium and magnesium.
Shelf life of fresh peaches (in the fridge)
Like other fresh drupes, whole, ripe peaches are extremely perishable. Therefore, they are best consumed as soon as purchased.
For instance, when left on the counter, ripe peaches last for 4 days. On the other hand, refrigerated peaches remain in good quality for 1 week at most.
How long do peaches last? (In the freezer)
For long-term storage, freeze any leftovers. Well frozen peaches last up to 9 months.
Another Chinese native, you can easily mistake apricots for peaches. Suffice to say, plums, apricots, peaches and cherries all belong to the Prunus genus.
Apricots are relatively smaller than peaches. You will know them by their orange-goldish hue. Their sweetness range is lower than plums and have velvety skin.
Apricots are popularly sold as dried, but fresh ones are also readily available.
Owing to their orange hue, apricots are rich sources of vitamin A, which facilitates healthy eyes. Moreover, they contain powerful antioxidants like catechins and quercetins, dietary fiber and potassium.
How long do fresh apricots last? (In the fridge)
Fresh apricots are delicate. Therefore, when left on the counter, consume within 3 days. As such, opt to refrigerate. Well refrigerated apricots last up to 10 days.
Shelf life of frozen apricots
Low temperatures are ideal for storing delicate fruits. They minimize metabolism which hastens decay. Freeze both whole and cut apricots.
They remain in top shape for 6 months, although you can safely consume them when frozen for 1 year.
How long do dried apricots last?
Dried apricots are ideal for pantry or fridge storage. In the pantry or refrigerator, they keep well for 6 months. You can opt to freeze unopened bags, in which case they will last up to 2 years.
Shelf life of canned drupes
Unopened canned fruits, whether the listed drupes or others, remain in good quality for up to 2 years. On the other hand, opened ones spoil quickly. Refrigerate and consume opened cans within 1 week.
How do spoiled drupes look like?
It is fairly easy to identify spoilage in fresh drupes. Look out for:
- Mushy, sunken flesh
- Visible mold growth
- Black/brown spots
- Pungent smell
In case of dried fruits, spoilage pointers include:
- Change in appearance, most notably the color.
- Mold growth
- Shriveled texture