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5+ Types of Peaches

31 July 2022

Peaches are sweet, juicy and bright. Here’s what you need to know about this luscious fruit.

Types of PeachesPhoto By Canva

Peaches are the very definition of summer; they’re sweet, juicy and deliciously tart. What’s not to love? The thing with peaches is that they’re a big family. Let’s talk about every peach and how they’re different. Spoiler alert — they’re all fantastic.

What Are Peaches?

Peaches are fruits from a tree first domesticated in Eastern China, most probably around 2000 BC. Some sources suggest people already grew the meaty fruit since 6000 BC! Peaches, of course, have evolved as growers have bred them to create sweeter, juicier fruit. That’s where all the peach varieties available today come from.

For this quick guide, when we say peach, we’re talking about both peaches (the furry kind) and nectarines, those with smooth peels or “skins.” Peaches and nectarines are actually the same species, but they have been bred for different purposes — we love them both!

What Are The Different Types of Peaches and How To Use Them?

There are hundreds of peach varieties, and dozens are commercially available worldwide. Still, when we talk about the fruit category, we can classify them into two main groups: freestones and clingstones. Freestones, as the name suggests, have a loose stone, pit or seed. Clingstones, on the other hand, have flesh adhered to the pit. Semi-freestone varieties also exist.

It’s easy to see why people who enjoy eating peaches by the bite prefer freestone varieties, leaving clingstone peaches for the pulp, juice and canning industries. Exceptions exist, of course, but these are the most common peach varieties in both categories.

5+ Types of Peaches

Talking about the most prominent peaches is no easy feat, as some varieties are more widespread in some countries than others. When it comes to peaches, every continent has its favorites.

Having said that, some peaches and nectarines are overwhelmingly popular and available in almost every market. These are the six most popular peach varieties; they all have unique personalities.

As mentioned above, some peaches are best enjoyed fresh as-is. Others are fantastic for baking projects. Some peaches are odd-looking, and others are wonderful to admire. There’s a peach on this list for you.

1. White Peach

This variety has been growing in popularity, and why wouldn’t it? The pink peach with a pale pulp is as beautiful as it is delicious. These are amongst the sweetest and juiciest peaches on the market, and they’re not nearly as tart as other popular varieties.

White peaches are so good looking they’re often used as ornamental pieces in fruit baskets. Sadly, since this variety is quite delicate, it’s not ideal for baking projects. Enjoy white peaches as fresh as possible on their own or in salads. These are clingstone peaches, but you’ll have a lot of fun nibbling the meat off that pit.

2. Yellow Peach

Yellow PeachesPhoto By Canva

For decades, yellow peaches have been a synonym for the fruit category — they’re widely available and versatile. This is the fuzzy variety you’ll most likely find in your local grocery store.

When ripe, yellow peaches are addictively sweet but always have an acidic bite. This acidity makes this variety ideal for jams, preserves and canned peaches. Acidity is a natural preservative that makes any canning project much more stable and safer.

If you’re not into furry, fuzzy peaches, yellow peaches might not be for you, but it’s hard to argue this variety is not delicious.

3. Babcock Peach

This lesser-known peach variety is more common than you think, and chances are you’ve tried it more than once. This is one of the most cherished peaches in the baking world, and it’s because of the fruit’s sweetness and acidity. Tartness is necessary to counter sweetness in bakes and desserts, from pies to cakes. Without it, your peach tart would be cloyingly sweet.

This variety goes back to 1920 in California, and it likes the sun, so you’ll find Babcock peach orchards in warm, sub-tropical regions. This is also a popular variety to have in your backyard, as it is easy to grow.

4. Donut Peaches

Donut PeachesPhoto By Canva

These donut-shaped, squat peaches are a freestone variety, so they’re an easy grab-and-go snack for a quick bite. Donut peaches are never too large, sweet, tart or firm (they can be very sweet when fully ripe.) For many peach lovers, they’re just right.

Some people indeed find donut peaches uninteresting, but the best things in life are often subtle. Also known as flat peaches and UFO peaches, this peach variety is quite old. It was introduced to the USA in the early 1870s and has been grown by orchard enthusiasts since then.

5. Snow Peaches

This is another pretty peach. As the name suggests, this fruit’s flesh is snow white. It’s also mildly sweet and never too tart. The flesh, though, can be pretty firm if the peaches are not fully ripe.

Snow peaches don’t grow in the snow. In fact, the varietal is primarily found in warm regions, where it ripens early, mainly in late Spring. This, of course, means snow peaches are ideal in fruit salads. Don’t expect these to be as juicy or flavorful as yellow peaches, but they’re charming in their own way. Taste snow peaches alongside any other varietal, and chances are you’ll like it the most.

6. Nectarines

NectarinesPhoto By Canva

Let’s give nectarines their spot on this list, not only because their glossy, baby-face skin is a delight, but because they’ve been climbing the popularity ranks since they were introduced to the mainstream market.

Nectarines are firm and not overly sweet or sour. These are fantastic in the kitchen, as they can handle the heat without falling apart or making a mess. Try grilling sliced nectarines and see what we mean.

Nectarines are also aromatic, so you know right away when someone slices one a few feet away from you. The fruit’s perfume is also compatible with a wide range of flavors, especially other fruit.

What’s Better Than Peaches?

Peaches come in all flavors and sizes. Sure, some are better snacks, and others make fantastic desserts and jams, but all peaches are delightful. Peaches, though, are not always available. Most varieties are ripe in spring and early summer, but that’s not all that bad — that’s why we have canned peaches to enjoy all year.

Try as many types of peaches as you can. It’s okay to have a few favorites but give every variety a chance. If something is common in all peach varieties is that they rarely disappoint.

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