The Pits

Share this post

By Chris Mittelstaedt

children diggingIt’s summer and I’m 12. We’ve been riding around the block for the last month on our banana-seat bikes. We are a motorcycle gang, with playing cards duct-taped to the back struts of our bike frames, clicking against the spokes menacingly, like souped-up game show prize-wheels letting anyone watering their yard know we are not to be trusted. We’ve carved forts out of bramble mounds along the train tracks that run past the Big Hill. We’ve played jailbreak so many times, we can’t think of any new jails to break. The ennui of summer is starting to set in—Mom wants me outside, and Dad won’t let me use the chainsaw. He does, however, agree to let me use the shovel. “Can I dig a hole in the backyard?” I ask. My friends and I dig out the old sandbox and get three feet down. We cover the top with plywood and leave a small opening for an entrance. After sitting in dirt and leaning against wriggling worm-walls, we decide to carpet. We gather old rug samples and nail them onto the sides of the structure. We need a secret escape tunnel. It should connect to an underground city”

Ah, the future—when you’re 12, it can even live in a pit. And the future does quite literally live in the pits of stone fruits. The pits of peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries each contain a seed that is the plant’s genetic future. Here are some interesting facts about stone fruit pits:

1. Pits are derived from the ovary wall of the flower as the fruit develops on the tree.

2. Pits contain both an outer shell and an inner seed. It’s the inner seed that needs to break through the shell when planted (or sprouted) in order to start a new seedling that will become a tree. Unlike veggie seeds, which sprout quickly when planted, stone fruit seeds need cool weather dormancy to inspire their sprouting process. Some gardeners do this naturally in pots outdoors; others use refrigeration.

3. Planting a stone fruit tree from seed does not necessarily mean it will be exactly like its parent. While peach and apricot trees planted from seed tend to grow like their parents (and produce the same variety of fruit), there are cases where nectarine and plum trees produce variant fruit. Nature likes to experiment!

4. The seeds (kernels) of apricot pits are used to flavor the liqueur Amaretto. However, these pits aren’t to be eaten, as they contain trace amounts of a compound that can release cyanide into the body. (The fruit is fine to eat, just not the pit.) Luther Burbank, the famed hybridizer of stone fruit who brought us the plumcot, is said to have tried to naturally hybridize a nectarine tree with an almond tree to produce a nectarine with an edible (almond tasting) pit.

Check out our mix pages at fruitguys.com/mix to see what summer fruit is available in your region.

Enjoy & Be Fruitful!

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
Food:
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019
Food:
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.