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Peach Varieties

Nectarines are a variety of peach

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Peaches

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
The peach is a member of the rose family, cousin to apricots, cherries, plums, and almonds. Nectarines are actually a fuzz-less, smaller variety of peach. Nectarines and peaches can develop spontaneously from each other via seed or sport bud.

The white-fleshed (which are actually a very pale yellow) peach varieties of France are seldom found in the U.S. and are greatly prized for their sweetness and quality.

Peach Varieties

Out of the hundreds of varieties of peaches, each can be classified as clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone. In general, most peaches are classified by how firmly the flesh attaches to the pit.

Clingstone: These are so named because the flesh clings stubbornly to the stone or pit. In the Northern hemisphere, this type is the first to be harvested, ripening May through August. The flesh is yellow, with bright red touches closest to the stone. They have a soft texture, and are juicier and sweeter -- perfect for desserts. This is the preferred variety for jellies, jams, and canning. Although clingstones are tasty eaten fresh, they are seldom found in the local market. The commercial industry uses clingstones for peaches canned in various levels of syrup.

Freestone: As its name implies, the stone is easily removed from this variety, making it a good choice for eating fresh. Harvest begins in late May and continues to October. This is the type most commonly found in your local grocery store. They tend to be larger than clingstones, with a firmer, less juicy texture, yet still sweet. They are excellent for canning and baking purposes.

Semi-freestone: This newer type is a hybrid of the clingstone and freestone. It is good for general purposes, both fresh and canned.

More about Peaches:

Peach Selection and Storage
Peach Cooking Tips
Peach Varieties
Peach Equivalents and Substitutions
Peaches and Health
Peach History
Peach Legend and Lore
Peach Recipes
Peaches Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Cookbooks

Stone Fruit: Cherries, Nectarines, Apricots, Plums, Peaches
Chez Panisse Fruit
The Farmer's Wife Guide to Fabulous Fruits and Berries
The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook
More Cookbooks
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