Nectarines vs. Peaches

Dear Cooks:

This may sound like a silly question, but can nectarines always be used as a substitute for peaches? They seem interchangeable. Thanks!

Sue A.

Dear Sue:

You are correct – they are interchangeable. A nectarine is basically a bald peach and can be used as a substitution for peaches in recipes. Many people prefer nectarines because they don’t like the fuzzy texture of a peach. Also nectarines tend to be firmer, sweeter and more aromatic than their fuzzy cousins. Here are some facts about peaches and nectarines from the University of Rhode Island Landscape and Horticultural Program website:

Peaches provide antioxidant vitamins A and C along with potassium and fiber. Nectarines provide twice the amount of vitamin A and slightly more vitamin C and much more potassium.

Both peaches and nectarines come with either yellow or white flesh.

There are hundreds of different peach and nectarine varieties.

Freestone means that the flesh separates easily from the pit, while Clingstones mean the flesh clings tightly to the pit.Freestone varieties are better for freezing, while the clingstones are better for canning. Both are great eaten fresh.

Store ripe peaches or nectarines in an open container in a cool 32 degree temperature — like your refrigerator. They should last about a week.

Select peaches or nectarines that are free of blemishes or bruises. A firm fruit is best. Pick peaches or nectarines that have a red blush, and avoid those that are still a bit green. When harvested too early, peaches or nectarines will shrivel upon ripening.

Try some of Rach’s recipes featuring peaches and nectarines:

Chicken and Peaches

Peach Clafouti

Fired-Up Peaches and Cream

Grilled Stone Fruits

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