Nothing quite says summer like the dribble of peach juice down your skin. They’re a summertime staple for good reason.

Still, you may want to know what differentiates them from nectarines.

Peaches and nectarines are widely enjoyed worldwide thanks to their juiciness, flavor, and nutritional content. While they have many similarities, they’re two distinct fruits with genetic and culinary differences.

This article compares the nutritional values, tastes, textures, and culinary uses of peaches and nectarines.

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Both peaches and nectarines are stone fruits in the rose family. Stone fruits are characterized by their large, hard pits.

Peaches

Peaches (Prunus persica) can grow in diverse climates ranging from tropical to temperate. They’re categorized into three groups (1):

  • freestone
  • clingstone
  • semi-freestone

Freestone peaches contain pits that are easy to remove, while the pits of clingstone peaches are hard to separate from the flesh. Semi-freestone peaches are a hybrid of the first two (2).

Peaches have white or yellow flesh and fuzzy skin.

Nectarines

Nectarines (Prunus persica var. nucipersica) are a type of peach.

They’re distinguished by a genetic mutation that gives them smooth skin rather than the characteristic fuzzy skin of peaches. Otherwise, they’re nearly identical from a genetic perspective (2).

Like all peaches, nectarines can have freestone, clingstone, or semi-freestone pits, as well as yellow or white flesh.

Summary

Peaches are stone fruits with fuzzy skin. Nectarines are a type of peach that has smooth skin. Both have freestone, clingstone, or semi-freestone pits, plus yellow or white flesh.

Peaches and nectarines have impressive nutritional benefits.

The table below compares the nutrients in one whole peach (150 grams) and one whole nectarine (140 grams) (3, 4).

PeachesNectarines
Calories6355
Protein1.4 grams1.5 grams
Carbs15 grams13 grams
Fiber2.3 grams2.1 grams
Sugar12.6 grams11 grams
Fat0.4 grams0.4 grams
Potassium5% of the Daily Value (DV)5% of the DV
Niacin8% of the DV10% of the DV
Vitamin A4% of the DV5% of the DV
Vitamin C7% of the DV5% of the DV
Vitamin E7% of the DV 6% of the DV

Peaches are slightly higher in calories, carbs, and sugar.

Still, these fruits have remarkably similar nutrient profiles. They’re both fairly high in natural sugars, contain a decent amount of fiber, and provide small amounts of micronutrients like potassium and vitamins A, C, and E.

Summary

Peaches and nectarines have similar nutrient profiles. They contain natural sugars, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals.

Nectarines are smaller than most peaches. They also have thin, smoother skin and firmer flesh. Peaches have thicker, fuzzy skin and softer flesh.

The term “nectar” refers to sugary fluids secreted by plants. Hence, many people claim that nectarines are sweeter than peaches, despite their slightly lower sugar content.

When it comes to sweetness, the type of flesh and overall ripeness matter most. Both white peaches and white nectarines are sweeter than their yellow counterparts due to their lower acidity. Furthermore, their sweetness increases with ripeness (5, 6).

Ripe peaches and nectarines are slightly soft to the touch.

Summary

Nectarines have smooth skin while peaches have fuzzy skin. Notably, white nectarines and peaches are sweeter than yellow varieties. Their degree of sweetness also increases as the fruits ripen.

Peaches and nectarines are great for snacking and delicious raw.

If you want to get more creative, both have a wide range of culinary uses due to their varying textures and tastes.

Since nectarines are firmer, they’re better for cooking. Grilled nectarines are a popular summer dish that you can add to salads or desserts.

Meanwhile, peaches are preferable for baking and soft-texture dishes like pies, salsas, jams, and sauces.

White varieties are sweeter, so keep this in mind if you’re adding them to meals.

Summary

Peaches and nectarines are versatile summer fruits that can be eaten raw, added to salads and desserts, or made into jams and sauces.

Peaches and nectarines are related stone fruits. Nectarines are a type of peach without the fuzzy skin.

They’re nutritionally similar, boasting comparable amounts of natural sugars, fiber, and micronutrients. While peaches are more appropriate for baking and softer-textured recipes, nectarines stay firm for cooking.