The extensive rain we’ve had in Stephenville this year has been great, but it brings with it an unfortunate problem for peaches. Split Pits.
Split pit is a defect in peaches that occurs when the fruit enlarges too quickly, thereby creating a void or hollow center inside the seed or around the seed. The result of this is a peach that often splits into the open air near the stem, opening a path for fungal or insect pests to invade. A peach with a split pit is unmarketable. It looks funky and offputting. While the flesh on the outside of the peach may be just fine, everyone expects to see a picturesque pit at the center of the peach surrounded by rich red colored flesh. Split pit peaches don’t look exactly “picturesque” on the inside.
What Causes Split Pits?
Some cultivars of peaches (types of peaches) are more prone to this defect than others, but it isn’t simply a matter of cultivar. Excessive rain (hello Stephenville, TX 2019), excessive irrigation, and thinning can cause it. Regardless of the cause, the result is a peach that typically just gets thrown away.
Earlier ripening cultivars are more prone to this defect. The crop we had with split pits this year is the cultivar “Harvester” which should ripen about mid June. These pictures are from late May.
Is it safe to eat split pit peaches?
Depending on the severity of the split pit, your peaches may still be great to eat! If the peach hasn’t split all the way to the stem, opening up the inside of the peach to the outside air then you likely don’t have any mold in there. If there isn’t any mold, there is little reason for concern about the suitability of the fruit for consumption. However, if there is mold, it isn’t advisable to eat that peach. Mold can be unsafe to consume, so it’s safest to just toss that peach and reach for another that isn’t split all the way to the open air.
So How Do You Tell Which Peaches Have Split Pits Inside?
Because not all split pit peaches will split all the way to the stem, it can be hard to tell which ones have a split pit. The answer is in whether or not that peach should be ripe yet. A peach with a split pit will ripen faster than normal. These peaches pictured in this post should have ripened for another 2-3 weeks, but they’re already ripe and ready to eat.
So What Do You Do With Split Pit Peaches?
Personally, I’m making Peach Cobbler and Rainey is going to make Peach Sweet Tea. There’s still plenty of good to be had in these peaches if you don’t mind cutting out the weird parts.
Regardless, we can only eat so many of these peaches ourselves and they’re unfit to sell. We are giving them away. If you’d like to come out and pick some, you can have them for free. We will only be doing that May 27th-31st (2019), and only if you call ahead of time – so please don’t just drive up and start picking peaches off the trees!