Biting into a fresh, juicy peach shouts of summer sweetness. Generally, peaches are bright yellow inside, but white peaches are also available. They have subtle differences which result in many leaning toward one or the other as a favorite. Look for both peach types throughout the fresh peach season in the summer.
The skin on white peaches has a slightly paler color, but it shares spots of red blush with yellow peaches. Historically, this skin on white peaches was so thin that shipping the fruit over long distances to markets was unfeasible. Through crop improvements, the skin of modern white peaches is as tough as modern yellow peaches, with the distinctive peach fuzz covering both.
Cutting into a white or yellow peach reveals their most striking visual difference, the interior. White peaches have a pale, white flesh that deeply contrasts with the blush on the skin and the red surrounding the pink pit. Yellow peaches have a golden interior and dark brown pit. Peaches are called freestone or clingstone based on how tightly the pit adheres to the surrounding flesh. Pits from peaches that easily separate from the surrounding flesh are called freestone peaches, but early-season fruits that require the pit to be cut out of the flesh are called clingstone peaches.
The level of acidity is the biggest taste difference between white and yellow peaches. People call white peaches sweeter than yellow peaches, but it is because white peaches are less acidic. This difference is greatest when comparing firm yellow to firm white peaches. Firm yellow peaches have a tart flavor, but firm white peaches are as sweet as soft, fully ripened white peaches. A slight floral flavor is also present in the flesh of white peaches compared to yellow peaches. Some heirloom varieties of white peaches have higher acid levels, giving them a tang closer to yellow peaches, but such peaches are difficult to find outside of individual growers or farmers' markets.
Yellow and white peaches can be used interchangeably in the kitchen. To take advantage of the subtle flavor of white peaches, use them raw in salads or eaten alone. Cooking white peaches with several other ingredients can mask the natural flavor of the fruit. Yellow peaches are more assertive in flavor and will stand up well in recipes needing a balance of sweet and tart. Try yellow peaches for cakes and pies and white peaches grilled or in salads.
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