How to cut a peach? Most of the time I don’t. When peaches reach their unmistakable glory in the height of summer, I have one main way of eating them: over a sink, the juice cascades down my arm while everything but the pit , disappears in my mouth. But once in a while there is a valid reason to cut a peach, for example for a fruit salad, pancakeOr shoemaker.
This guide will show you how to slice and dice your peaches into any shape you desire. It goes without saying that these methods also work for nectarines, apricots and plums; you will need to choose the cutting method depending on whether these fruits are size-stoned or cling-stoned, just like a peach.
Freestone and adherent stone peaches
Before we walk you through the steps for cutting a peach, it’s worth taking a moment to point out that there are two basic categories of peaches that can impact how you cut them: size stone peaches and adherent core. Most peaches I come across today are pruning pits, which are the easiest to deal with, but the cling pits still exist, so it’s good to be aware of them.
The difference between the two is exactly as their names suggest. Stone peaches have stones that easily separate from the flesh, while clinging stones will fight you every step of the way. This means that the method for cutting the flesh from a peach changes depending on the type of peaches you have. In the following guide, I will explain the most common method with freestones. At the end, I’ll show you how to tackle a clingstone peach.
How to cut a peach
Assuming, of course, that you made the crazy decision not to eat it whole.
Ripe peaches, as needed
If you are working with freestone peaches:
Cut the peach in half: All peaches have a seam that runs from top to bottom, which is what makes them look like cute little butts. This seam is your guide to where to cut: you can either slice along the seam to the core, rotating the peach as you go until you have completely gone around the core, or do rotate the peach 90 degrees so that you are still cutting in the same pole-to-pole direction as the seam but perpendicular to it.
The downside to cutting along the seam is that once opened, peaches cut in half along the seam will have the pits lying flat in one of the halves, and they will be slightly harder to grab and make come out, but the resulting halves will be wider, more shallow depressions left by the pit, which are more suitable for stuffing. They will also result in more symmetrical peach halves. If, on the other hand, you cut from post to post at 90 degrees to the seam, the pit will be easier to grab because its edge will stick out, but you will have two asymmetrical halves, one with the seam over it and one without. You choose what you like the most. I like symmetry.
Now turn the two halves you cut. They should separate, with one side still holding the pit and the other not. If you’re unlucky, you’ll get one of those peaches where the pit itself splits in two, but that’s no big deal.
Delete pit: Carefully remove the core from the half it is embedded in. Be careful not to damage the flesh too much when removing it.
Cut all difficult pieces: The pit sometimes leaves hard bits, so if you see any, cut them off with a paring knife.
Slice or dice: If slicing, place each peach half, cut side down, on a work surface. If you want slices of even thickness, make a series of vertical cuts straight up to the cutting board, whatever width you need. If you want wedges, you can make radial cuts.
If dicing, cut each peach half into planks of the size of dice you need, then stack the planks and make perpendicular cuts, first one way, then the other, to create the dice .
If you are working with clingstone peaches:
Since the sticky stone pits don’t detach from the flesh, you may end up crushing the flesh of a ripe peach while trying to twist the peach halves as described above. Instead, you can simply cut the flesh into lobes around the pit.
It helps to visualize the shape of the pit inside a peach for this: The pit is almond-shaped (not a coincidence, the almonds come from the pits of a very close peach), which means it is oblong. To cut around the pit as close as possible, you want to angle your knife almost as if you were cutting a diamond pattern in it from top to bottom.
This will yield two large lobes of flesh on each side, plus two smaller lobes that remain.
Cut off any extra flesh that is still clinging to the pit.