Home Lifestyle and Culinary Tips Nectarine vs Peach: What Is the Difference?

Nectarine vs Peach: What Is the Difference?

by Emily
Nectarine vs Peach

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To me, summer means eating my weight in peaches, plums, and nectarines while sitting under the shade of my porch. When I’m not eating these juicy summer fruits like an apple (skin on), I’m cooking with them in my kitchen–if you want to try making some of my peach recipes, try making my banana peach smoothie or peach Caprese salad

Recently, I started recipe testing with nectarines. Like peaches, nectarines have a sweet and juicy inner flesh. So, as I was working with both fruits, I started to wonder, what are the differences between the two? 

Nectarine vs Peach: What Is the Difference?

At first glance, you will note there is a main physical difference between the two fruits. While peaches have a soft, fuzzy outer skin, nectarines have a smooth, fuzzless outer skin. Surprisingly, these two fruits are almost genetically identical. There is only one gene variant between the two which leads to the difference in the skin.

But, before we get into that, let’s learn a bit about these individual fruits.

What Is a Peach?

Peaches are a soft, juicy type of fruit that was most likely domesticated in China many, many years ago. This fruit has a soft, fuzzy outer skin that differentiates it from nectarines.

There are two overarching types of peaches–On one hand, the fruit can be freestone, which means the pit can easily break away and fall from the flesh. On the other hand, they can be clingstone, meaning the pit remains stuck to the flesh and is hard to remove. Also, peaches can come in yellow or white varieties! 

Finally, genetically, peaches have a dominant allele which results in that soft, velvety outer skin. 

Peaches are eaten fresh or cooked into pies, preserves, jams, and jellies. How do you like your peaches? 

Sliced peaches on a white board.
Photo Credit: The Matter of Food
Beautiful Peaches

What Is a Nectarine?

Interestingly, the nectarine is a type of peach! I didn’t know that, did you? 

A nectarine is a smooth-skinned peach that grows in the warmer regions of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. This genetic variant of peaches was also most likely to have been domesticated in China more than 4,000 years ago.

Like peaches, they can be freestone or clingstone. Also, nectarines can have red, yellow, or white flesh. You may notice that nectarines tend to be smaller and firmer than the fuzzy peach alternative. 

While peaches have a dominant gene, nectarines have a recessive gene. This recessive gene results in a smooth, glossy outer skin without the velvety fuzz.  

Finally, nectarines are delicious when eaten fresh or cooked. You can often find nectarines in jams, jellies, preserves, and pies. How do you like your nectarines? 

So, nectarine vs peach: what is the difference?

Ripe nectarines piled onto one another.
Photo Credit: Jose Antonio Alba 
Ripe Nectarines

Nectarine vs Peach

In the end, nectarines and peaches are genetically identical except for that one single gene variant. Like we stated above, peaches have a dominant gene that creates the velvety outer skin. On the other hand, nectarines have a recessive variety which makes their skin smooth.  

So, the difference between the two fruits is quite superficial. You can use the two fruits interchangeably when cooking with them. I will note that the nectarine skin tends to break down more easily when cooked, so you rarely need to remove it. On the other hand, peaches often need to be peeled before making items such as jams or pies. So, if you want to skip the peeling step, just use nectarines! 

In the end, both fruits taste incredibly similar. So, just pick whichever of the two looks and smells better when shopping next time! 

Finally, below, we listed some of our Amazon picks of different peach jams and preserves you may enjoy!

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Nectarines vs Peaches!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about the difference between nectarines and peaches. If so, let us know in the comment section below. Also, we would love to hear about which of the two you prefer!  

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our comparison articles as well as our favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage. 

Carving A Journey Comparison Articles:

Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

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