You probably just read “What is the difference between a peach and a nectarine?” and are feeling pretty sure you’ve got the answer to the titular question. It’s fuzz, right? That’s the difference.
Well, essentially yes. Peaches are just furry, unshaven versions of smooth-as-a-baby’s-bum nectarines but these two summery fruits actually share a gene variant which accounts for why they’re so similar (as well as that one major difference). Let’s get down to the science behind this age-old peach vs. nectarine query.
As we’ve established, peaches have a soft, fuzzy coating on their exterior, which results from a dominant allele (a variant form of a gene). Nectarines, unlike peaches, have a recessive variation and, thus, have smooth skin. They also tend to be firmer and smaller in size than their peach cousin.
Otherwise, peaches and nectarines are rather similar, indeed. They both come in yellow and white varieties and can be either freestone (meaning that the pit easily comes free from the fruits’ flesh) or clingstone (meaning the pit sticks tightly to it).
In terms of cooking, peaches and nectarines are nearly interchangeable, given their juicy, sweet flavors. Just be sure to peel the peaches. No one wants fuzz in their pie, after all!
Peach & Nectarine Recipes
If you’re looking to use these juicy stone fruits in desserts, check out the below recipes for ample inspiration for all your pie, crisp, and cobbler needs. We also love adding these summer fruits to salads, drinks, and more. Try making them all before peach season is over!
This recipe is so simple, even the most amateur baker can master it. Top the flaky pastry with some vanilla ice cream for a complete dessert experience that’s out of this world. Get our Easy Peach Cobbler recipe.
This fruity addition to a traditional Caprese Salad is perfect for summer. Even toss in some tomatoes for added flavor and texture if you’re feeling adventurous. Get Joanna Gaines’s Peach Caprese Salad recipe.
Related Reading: 14 Savory Stone Fruit Recipes
Again with the pecans! I guess there’s no better nut to complement the pride of Georgia. Try making this one for Thanksgiving to give the holiday a well-needed hint of summer (or break it out for Christmas in July). Get our Peach Pie with Pecan Streusel recipe.
Emile Henry Ruffled Pie Dish, $29.99-$49.99 from Williams Sonoma
Perfect for all your summer baking.
Pecans and brown sugar give this crumble a nutty edge—one that will have you constantly asking for seconds. The brandy and honey brushed on the fruit doesn’t hurt either. Get our Grilled Nectarine Crumble recipe.
Related Reading: How to Grill Dessert All Summer
Grilled peaches are equally good; you can turn them into dessert too, or pair with fragrant fresh sage and chicken sausages (or any other grilled protein you want). Get our Grilled Peach Sage Skewers recipe.
If you want to get the most out of your nectarines this summer, try baking them whole with this impressive recipe, which stuffs the fruits with pistachios, ginger and buttery white wine sauce. It’s a more sophisticated dessert that’s still perfect for picnic weather. Get our Pistachio and Ginger Baked Nectarines recipe.
Try these Peaches ‘n’ Cream ice pops this summer for a delicious, easy-to-make treat. If you’re a fan of Creamsicles, make sure to test out this recipe! Get our Peaches ‘n’ Cream Ice Pop recipe.
Related Reading: Inventive Ice Pop Recipes That Break the Mold
Popsicle Molds, Set of 6, $9.99 from Walmart
These reusable ice pop molds will serve you well all summer.
Not even barbecued chicken is immune to the charms of stone fruit. Try sweetening up your grill game with this homemade barbecue sauce which pairs nectarines with chipotle for a balancing act of smoky and sweet. Get our Chipotle-Nectarine Barbecue Sauce recipe.
If you’re sick of baked goods featuring peaches, than this recipe is for you. Try making your very own soft serve for a chiller approach to summer’s best fruit. Get our Peach Frozen Yogurt recipe.
Fresh rosemary pairs surprisingly well with peaches, and this rustic dessert is easy to assemble thanks to store-bought puff pastry. Get the Peach Rosemary Galette recipe.
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