'Freestone' stonefruit and berry crisp

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

'Freestone' stonefruit and berry crisp

Marlene Gonzales of the Lone Oak Ranch has taught me many things at my hospital's farmers' market over the years. I just learned from her that different varieties of stonefruit become "freestone" at different times. It's sort of like humans who go through puberty at different ages.

The summer heat in the Central Valley has only recently caused the flesh of peaches and nectarines to pull away from the pit just a little to make it easy to remove them. When the peaches first came to our market this season, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't just halve them, twist, and have the two halves come apart like the middle of last summer. I sometimes ended up with peach mush in my hands. Thank you, Marlene. She also demonstrated getting the pit out easily from a freestone fruit. I have managed to do this wrong for years. She cuts the fruit around the equator, twists the halves apart, and pops the pit out with her thumb. I've been cutting along the polar route, and, given the slightly oblong nature of the pit, it wasn't as easy. Now that is very easy, I used my newfound skill to make a great freestone stonefruit crisp for family and friends last night.

Because Marlene's fruits are so sweet, I cut down on the sugar. I also used half the butter which left the topping a little dry in spots but it stirred in with the bubbly fruit juices and was still great. This is wonderfully tasty and not too sweet. Enjoy.


  • 6 cups combination peaches, nectarines, and strawberries cut into chunks and blueberries
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) frozen unsalted butter or butter substitute, cut into tiny pieces (Tip: Using frozen butter makes it much easier to cut it into tiny bits to mix into toppings like this otherwise, at least for me, the pieces stick together)


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine the fruit mixture and add to a 9 ingh pie plate. 
  3. Combine the topping mixture and sprinkle over the fruit. 
  4. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until most of the top is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 302
  • Total fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg
  • Sodium: 18 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 48 g
  • Dietary fiber: 4 g
  • Total sugars: 28 g
  • Protein: 5 g