Peaches vs. Nectarines + Tips for Storing

I eagerly await peach and nectarine season every year. Not only do I eat as many as possible during the season, I freeze peaches for enjoyment through the winter. Peaches/ Nectarines are in my top 5 favorite fruits for sure - maybe even my top 2.

peaches
What is the difference between a peach and a nectarine?
Taste-wise it's hard to tell the difference. Nectarines tend to be firmer and some people say they are more aromatic. Genetically speaking, peaches and nectarines are almost identical. Peaches have a dominant gene that gives them their fuzzy skin, nectarines have a recessive gene that gives their smooth, fuzz-less skin. Although, peach growers have been cross-breading to produce less fuzzy peaches.
peaches vs nectarines
Because of the fuzz, many people prefer to peel peaches or eat nectarines instead. With a ripe peach for fresh eating, I prefer to pull the peel off between my thumb and a knife. You can also drop the fruit into boiling water for a about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then you can slip the peel off. This method is best when canning or cooking the fruit.
Both peaches and nectarines come in clingstone (flesh "clings" to the pit) and freestone (doesn't cling). Both fruits also come in yellow and white flesh varieties. Usually, they can be used interchangably in recipes.
How to store peaches and nectarines:
Stone fruit continues to ripen after it's picked. So sometimes we get peaches or nectarines that are still quite firm and not yet ready to eat. Because peaches ripen so quickly and bruise easily, this is handy for both farmers and consumers. Consumers get to enjoy peaches on their peak ripe day when the flavor is the best. Farmers have less loss from bruising in transit.
To allow your fruit to ripen, place it on the counter, stem side down. Some people suggest putting the fruit in a paper bag. Always ripen fruit in a single layer and check daily for ripeness. When ripe, the fruit will be aromatic and give slightly to a gentle squeeze. Once the fruit is ripe, enjoy it! You can also move the fruit to the fridge but only for a couple days as peaches tend to lose flavor when they are stored in the fridge for longer than a couple days.
peach in jar
Peaches are excellent for canning and jamming.
As the peach season rolls on, look for bulk peaches in the Local Pumpkin store if you'd like to preserve some. I also order them in bulk for freezing. I just stick the whole peach in the freezer, no peeling or dicing.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy peaches and nectarines (besides fresh eating, of course) are in crisp; cut up on pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream; on salad; and grilled with honey cinnamon sauce or whipped cream. If you want more stone fruit inspiration, be sure follow Local Pumpkin on Pinterest.

Local Pumpkin Produce Box is a local, family-owned business that delivers weekly produce boxes to the Tri-Cities, Washington area, including fruit boxes to local businesses. 

Local Pumpkin Produce Box provides a connection between the local farmers and your table, enabling you to eat healthier, support local and not even have to leave your house. If you are interested in more information or would like to sign up for your own box, click here.

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