How long should stone fruit stay on the tree?
Well, as fruit ripens, it’s natural sugar levels increase. A fully ripe fruit is at its peak sugar levels, and that makes it juiciest, with its most intense flavour. It also softens the flesh of the fruit, so it’s firm but yielding, soft but textured.
Stone fruit should only be picked when it has reached that minimum level, which can be measured. Then it will continue to ripen off the tree and will reach full maturity – hopefully in your fruit bowl!
Fruit picked too soon – for example to allow for interstate transport – will never ripen properly.
Typical signs of fruit picked too early is that it goes very quickly from hard to mushy, so it’s good to eat for only a short time. In fact, a single fruit can ripen unevenly, so it’s rock hard in places and mushy in others. The flesh may be mushy or floury and lack the texture of real fruit. The best indicator however is taste. Properly matured stone fruit tastes like summer heaven.