Peaches and nectarines: they are available in the same season, but what is the Difference Between Peach and Nectarine? Learn more about these stone fruits and how you can use them in cooking and baking.
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I was FASCINATED when I started doing research about the Difference Between Peach and Nectarine fruit. I always thought they were rather different, although part of the stone fruit family like a plum or apricot. But turns out they have a lot in common!
Did you know! Peaches and nectarines grow on the SAME trees! Technically a nectarine is a genetic mutation to a peach which causes the slight variations. In order to grow a nectarine, you need to grow a peach tree that is known to have the genetic variation of growing nectarines.
Difference Between Peach and Nectarine – Appearance
The main physical difference between a peach and a nectarine is the skin. They have the same skin colors but a peach has a fuzz, while a nectarine is smooth. The fuzz makes the color of a peach much softer and less vibrant.
You can eat the skin from both a peach and nectarine, however the peach fuzz brings a little funky texture and therefore is more commonly peeled than a nectarine.
Difference in Flavor
The difference in these stone fruit seems to vary a lot in opinion. Some say that nectarines are more flavorful and easier to eat while less sweet than a peach. And that a nectarine has a firmer flesh. Some also think that nectarines do not have much flavor until they are ripe, while a peach is more consistent through the ripening process. Bur regardless, if you have a fruit that is not ripe, it is best to NOT refrigerate it because it can cause the fruit to become flavorless and mealy.
But the tree and farm that the peach or nectarine comes from can make a big difference. Some say they do not notice a distinction, and some would say the opposite as above. It is difficult to note the true difference unless you are lucky enough to try both from the same tree. But generally speaking, you can assume the above until you try them for your own.
Coloring on the inside is very specific to a particular fruit. These pictures show a peach with some pink in it, which I love, but most of the peaches I have had this season look just like the nectarine without the pink. More variation due to the tree and farm!
Cooking with Peaches and Nectarines
You can swap peaches and nectarines for each other in any recipe based on what you like.
To peel a peach or nectarine, you can cut a small x with a knife in the bottom of the fruit and place in a pot of boiling water just for 30 seconds or so. Then plunge them in ice cold water to prevent them from cooking and peel once cooled.
My trick, however, is I just use a peeler. I find it works really well and takes off minimal fruit in addition to the skin. The riper the fruit, the more difficult it is, but just move the peeler back and forth like a saw if needed. Much faster and easier method, in my opinion.
Unripe peaches or nectarines? Place them in a bag with an unripe banana for a day or so and their ripening will speed along.
Now that you know all about the Difference Between Peach and Nectarine, let’s get cooking! Find recipe inspiration below! And remember, you can swap peaches for nectarines and vice versa!