Plus, how to pick them at the grocery store.
Peaches Getty 9/4/19
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Are nectarines the same as peaches? As it turns out, there is a difference between the two stone fruits—but it’s a small one.

Peach vs. Nectarine

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A nectarine is just a peach without the fuzz.

They’re both considered stone fruits, which means they have large, hard seeds in the middle. Though they’re alike in almost every way, a single recessive gene is responsible for the nectarine’s smooth skin, which contrasts with the distinctive fuzzy skin of a peach.

“At first glance, the nectarine (Prunus persica nucipersica) looks like a peach (P. persica) that has lost its fuzz,” according to The New Southern Living Garden Book.” Recent evidence suggests, however, that the nectarine evolved first.”

Both fruits come in golden, red, pink, and peach (duh) hues. They both come in both freestone and clingstone varieties.

Peach Recipes

Credit: Greg DuPreeFood Styling: Rishon HannersProp Styling: Thom Driver

Find more peach recipes here.

Are They Interchangeable in Recipes?

So, if they’re so much alike, can you substitute one for the other? It depends.

Peaches and nectarines taste extremely similar—so much so that it’s unlikely anyone will ever notice if you use nectarines in your peach tart or pie.

However, there are a couple things to keep in mind before you make the switch:

  • Peach skin is ever-so-slightly thicker than nectarine skin, which makes it a bit more difficult to use unpeeled in cooked desserts.
  • Many people believe nectarines are sweeter and more aromatic than peaches. While this may sometimes be the case, the differences in taste will probably not be distinct enough to make an impression on the average fruit eater.

Whether you’re shopping for nectarines or peaches, look for firm, fragrant, bruise-free fruits with vibrant colors.

Nectarine Recipes

Beet Salad with Nectarines and Peppers
Credit: Greg DuPree

Greg DuPree

Read more about nectarines here.