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Peach Varieties Guide - Characteristics, harvest dates, and uses for eating, home canning, freezing and preserving- which peaches to pick and why!

Varieties of Peaches for Eating Fresh, Home Canning, Freezing and Preserving

Characteristics, descriptions, which to pick, when and why!Peaches

Out of the hundreds of varieties of peaches, each can be classified as clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone / semi-clingstone. That refers to how firmly the flesh attaches to the pit. Freestone types are obviously the easiest to work with! As to flavor; the most important factor is fresh-picked.  Almost any variety, when allowed to ripen on the tree, will taste better than anything from the grocery store.  Peaches do not ripen (become more sweet) once picked, they simply soften (due to emzymes and bacterial action).

Stones or pits

Freestone: As its name implies, the stone is easily removed from this variety, making it a good choice for eating fresh. Harvest begins in late May and continues to October. This is the type most commonly found in your local grocery store. They tend to be larger than clingstones, with a firmer, less juicy texture, yet still sweet. They are excellent for home canning, freezing and baking purposes.

Semi-freestone: This newer type is a hybrid of the clingstone and freestone. It is good for general purposes, both fresh and canned. Also called semi-clingstone.

Clingstone: These are so named because the flesh clings stubbornly to the stone or pit. In the Northern hemisphere, this type is the first to be harvested, ripening May through August. The flesh is yellow, with bright red touches closest to the stone. They have a soft texture, and are juicier and sweeter -- perfect for desserts. This is the preferred variety for jellies, jams, and canning. Although clingstones are tasty eaten fresh, they are seldom found in the local market. The commercial industry uses clingstones for peaches canned in various levels of syrup.

Color of the peach flesh

Yellow - Most peaches have a yellow flesh which can range from a light yellow to an orange yellow or even streaked with red. Other yellow-fleshed peach varieties are primarily yellow but become red closer to the pit. Examples of yellow-fleshed peaches include cultivars such as "eLBERTA", "Autumn Gold," "Earligrande," "O'Henry," "Suncrest" and "Tropi-berta."

White - White-fleshed peaches are usually a variant of Asian peach trees. The flavor is almost identical, although many people say they taste sweeter. The skins are typically similar to yellow-flesh peaches, with yellow or red skins. Common white peach tree cultivars are "Babcock," "Nectar," "Belle of Georgia," and "Arctic Supreme."Nectarine

Other Peach types

Donut Peaches - A relatively new group of peaches have flatter or saucer-shaped peaches that are shaped more like a doughnut. Donut peaches usually have a small clingstone pit. They taste good, but their flavor is no better than most other peaches; just marketing hype.

Nectarines are a genetic mutation of peaches that produced a skin without the fuzz. Essentially, that is the  only difference. Nectarine may have yellow or white flesh and clingstone or freestone pits. Common nectarine varieties include "Arctic Rose," "Harko" and "Panamint." Dwarf nectarine cultivars include "Nectar Babe" and "Southern Belle."
 



Peach and Nectarine Varieties for Eating Fresh, Home Canning, Freezing and Preserving

Alphabetized List below

(for a list sorted by typical ripening/harvest dates, click here.)

Early season typically means June in the South, July in the North (and colder areas).

Mid Season usually means July.

Late season is August in most areas.

Of course, there are many seasonal variations, weather plays an effect, micro climates at the farm, so ALWAYS contact the farm early to find out when the peaches will be ripe at the specific farm that interests you!

 

For photos of most of these peaches see this UC Davis page.

Name

Fruit size

Stone

Flesh color

Skin color

Harvest dates

Flavor

  Notes

Arctic Supreme Large Clingstone White red-over cream Late-Midseason Excellent  Self-pollinating
August Pride Large Freestone Yellow red-blushed yellow skin  Midseason   Chilling Requirement less than 300 hours below 45°F
Babcock Small to medium Semi-freestone White    Early season. Tart-sweet. Self-pollinating. Chilling Requirement 250-300 hours below 45°F
Baby Crawford Small Freestone Yellow  slightly blushed golden orange skin Midseason Excellent  
Belle of Georgia Large Freestone White red over creamy white skin Late season Very good Heirloom variety
Bonanza II Large Freestone Yellow red over creamy white skin Mid- season Very good The fruit is improved from the original ‘Bonanza'. The peach is the most adaptable of all fruit trees for home gardens
Bonita Medium to large Freestone Yellow  light yellow skin with a deep red blush Mid- season Excellent sub-acidic
Cardinal Medium Freestone Yellow bright red over yellow skin Early-midseason Very good  
Cary Mac Large Freestone Yellow Yellow skin Midseason Very good  
Contender - Medium Freestone Yellow Orange Mid-season Very good Very hardy variety, perfect for northern gardens, Disease-resistant to bacterial spot. Cold-hardy. Self-pollinating.
Coronet Medium Semi-Clingstone Yellow Yellow Early season Good  
Cresthaven Medium to large Freestone Yellow golden skin Late season Good The firm flesh is juicy and resists browning.
Desert Gold Medium Clingstone Yellow  red-blushed yellow skin  Early season Good  very low chilling hours required (200).
Dixie Red Medium Semi-clingstone Yellow red skin and light fuzz Early midseason Good  
Earlihale Very large Freestone Yellow  dark red skin. Midseason Good The tree requires a pollinizer.
Early Amber Medium Freestone orange-yellow dark red-blushed yellow skin Early    Flesh is medium-firm.
Early Elberta             See Improved Elberta below.
Elberta Large Freestone Yellow Golden yellow fruit blushed with red Midseason Excellent Firm, rich, sweet, yellow flesh. Excellent for fresh eating and canning. Hardy and productive. Low (850) chilling hours needed. Self-fertile. Popularly grown in Georgia.
El Dorado  Medium Freestone Yellow  red-blushed yellow skin Early season Excellent Medium size peach with; yellow flesh is rich flavored.  Full-size peaches from a miniature tree!
Empress   Large Freestone Yellow pink to red skin Late season Excellent Large peach with . Yellow flesh is sweet and juicy.
Eva's Pride Medium Freestone Yellow   Early midseason Good Medium to large peach with yellow skin; yellow flesh. Good flavor.
Fairhaven  medium to large Freestone Yellow  yellow with red cheek (sides) Midseason Good The fruit are round. The flesh is yellow, with red at the pit, very firm, and moderately fine textured. Fairhaven is freestone, resists browning, and has a good flavor, traits that make it ideal for freezing and canning. typically, mid-August.
Fairtime  Large Freestone Yellow  pale red-blushed skin. Late season Good  
Fantasia  (Nectarine) Large Freestone Yellow  red skin Midseason Excellent Excellent firmness.
Fantastic Elberta Large Freestone Yellow  blushed-red deep golden skin Midseason Good Large peach with slightly tangy flesh.
Fay Elberta  Large Freestone Yellow  red skin Midseason to late season Good Slightly tart flesh.
Flaming Fury Very large Freestone Yellow  blushed-red deep golden skin Midseason Good  
Flavorcrest  Large Freestone Yellow red-blush over yellow skin Midseason Excellent Firm, yellow flesh has fine texture..
Flordaking  Large Clingstone Yellow red blush over yellow skin Early season Good  
Florida Prince  Medium Semi-clingstone Yellow Yellow  Very Early season Good Medium to large peach. Brightly colored with a crisp, sweet flavor balance.
Fortyniner  Large Freestone Yellow red blushed yellow skin Midseason Good  
Frost  Medium Freestone Yellow red-blushed yellow skin Midseason to late season Good tangy flavor.
GaLa Medium Freestone Yellow reddish blush skin Midseason Good Cold hardy freestone is juicy and ideal for eating, canning or freezing.
Galaxy (donut) Medium Freestone Yellow Yellow skin Midseason Very good  
Garden Gold  Medium Freestone Yellow Yellow skin Midseason Good  Tree is genetic dwarf.  Ripe 2 weeks after Elberta, more vigorous than other miniatures.
Garnet Beauty Medium Clingstone Yellow Yellow skin Early season Good  
Glohaven Large Freestone Yellow Yellow Midseason Good Brightly colored, smooth (almost without fuzz) skin. Firm flesh. Superior for canning and freezing. 850 hours. Self-fertile. Later bloom, less susceptible to frost damage.
Gold Dust Small to medium semi-Freestone Yellow mottled and streaked red skin Early season Excellent  550 Chilling hrs. Self-pollinating
Golden Glory  Very large Freestone Yellow golden skin with red blush Late season Very good Tree is genetic dwarf.  Has the largest fruited of any of the genetic dwarf peaches or nectarines, excellent yellow fleshed, freestone peach. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
Golden Jubilee Medium to large Freestone Yellow bright red skin Midseason Good Cold hardy.
Halehaven  Medium to large Freestone Yellow partially red over greenish yellow skin Midseason Very good  
Halford  Large Clingstone Yellow Yellow Late season OK Flesh is soft. Commercially used for canning. 
Halloween  Large Freestone Yellow red-blushed yellow skin Late season Good Large fruit with firm flesh. Tough to grow in backyards. Usually harvested around Halloween, hence the name
Harken Medium Freestone Yellow red skin early mid-season Very good Ripens a few days after Redhaven . Sweet, flavorful fruit, non-browning flesh. One of the highest-rated peaches for Western Washington. Dessert/cooking/freezing. 800 hours. Self-fertile.

Harko 
Nectarine

Medium Clingstone Yellow Red skin Midseason Excellent Nectarine with good quality and excellent flavor. One of the highest scoring nectarines in DWN fruit tastings. Cold hardy Canadian variety that is tolerant of bacterial spot and brown rot.
Harmony  Large Freestone yellow changing to bright red-orange at the stem end orange skin with dark red cheek Midseason Good Large, round fruit from Canada.
Harvester Large Freestone Yellow Yellow skine Midseason Large  
Honey Babe Small to medium Freestone Yellow with red blush Yellow skin Midseason Excellent Sweet flavored flesh. Excellent choice for home orchard. 400 hours or less. Tree is genetic dwarf.
Improved Elberta Large Freestone Yellow Yellow skin with a red blush Midseason Excellent Introduced in 1907, also is known as Early Elberta, Gleason Elberta, Lemon Elberta, and Stark Early Elberta. . The flesh is firm and resists bruising. Fruit are good fresh, canned, or frozen, and they have a tangy flavor that's better than Elberta's. It is one of the few yellow varieties that ripen satisfactorily even when picked slightly green
Indian Blood Cling Medium Clingstone Yellow streaked with red Red skin Late season Good Richly flavored; good for preserves;   Heirloom, brought over to Mexico by the Spanish in the 1500s. The skin resembles a beet: scarlet, tough, stringy, meaty, although pleasantly flavored and brisk.
Indian Free Large Freestone Yellow red-tinged with deep red pit greenish white skin with a  red blush Late Midseason Excellent The all-time highest rated peach at Dave Wilson Nursery fruit tastings. Tart until fully ripe, then highly aromatic with a rich, distinctive flavor. Highly resistant to peach leaf curl..
J.H. Hale Very large Freestone Yellow golden skin with a bright red blush Midseason to late season Very good Sweet, firm flesh. Requires pollination from another variety. Great for shipping and canning. A very popular late peach. 850 hours. Another peach or nectarine needed to pollinate.
July Elberta   Medium Freestone Yellow  red streaks over greenish yellow skin Midseason Very good Firm, fine grained and very good flavor. Good fresh or canned.
June Gold Medium Clingstone Yellow Yellow Early season Good  
Loring Large Freestone Yellow Yellow Midseason Very good Large easy to pick peach, with a sweet flavor similar to the Harvester. This peach is great for eating, freezing, and canning. Midseason (mid- to late August)
Madison  Medium Freestone Orange-yellow and bright red near pit bright red over orange skin Late season Good Flesh that is firm, fine textured with rich flavor; non-stringy, non-browning flesh use fresh, frozen or canned.
May Pride  Large Freestone Yellow Red skin Early season Good Flesh is sweet with a slight tang.
Midpride  Medium to large Freestone Yellow Yellow skin with red blush Midseason Good The firm flesh has a distinctive orange flavor. It is good for canning.
Nectar  Medium to large Freestone White  pink to red blush Midseason Excellent Sweet, juicy, and aromatic and excellent flavor.
Newhaven Medium Freestone Yellow Yellow Early Season Very good Similar to Redhaven, but a bit smaller and less acidic. Good for freezing and canning, too.  Freestone. Ripens in late July. Self-pollinating
O'Henry  Large Freestone Yellow red-blushed yellow skin  Midseason Excellent  
Pineapple Nectarine Large Clingstone Yellow red-blush skin Late season Good Traditional English nectarine. Its flavor  is somewhat reminiscent of a pineapple. It is very sweet, but with the characteristic tang of a good peach or nectarine.
Pix Zee  Large Freestone Yellow red-blushed yellow skin Early to Midseason Good The tree is a genetic dwarf.
Polly   Medium Freestone White red-blush white skin Midseason Excellent A winter hardy heirloom peach variety; withstands temperatures to -20 degrees F. . Very sweet, tender, juicy, white flesh.
Red Baron Large Freestone Yellow yellow skin Midseason to late season Good Flesh is sweet and very good flavor
Redglobe Very large Freestone Yellow Golden skin with red blush Midseason Excellent Excellent sweet flavor. Red Goble is one of the most attractive peaches of the season. Excellent for fresh eating, canning, or freezing. 850 hours. Self-fertile.
Redgold Large Freestone Yellow Reddish skin Midseason Good High-quality, firm flesh with good flavor.   (early August ripening)
Red Haven Medium Semi-freestone Yellow Golden-yellow skin with red blush Early to Midseason Excellent Non-browning, sweet yellow flesh is firm and smooth textured. Excellent for canning, freezing, and fresh eating. Redhaven is the standard by which all early peaches are judged. The tree is vigorous and early bearing. 950 hours. Self-fertile.
Reliance Medium Freestone Yellow Yellow skin  Midseason Excellent Late blooming, which makes it cold hardy and frost hardy; yet produces early season. Sweet, flavorful yellow freestone. Best choice for climates having severe cold in winter and spring. Harvest 2-3 weeks before Elberta. Showy bloom. 1000 hours. Self-fruitful.
Redskin  Medium Freestone Yellow Yellow skin with deep red blush Midseason Very good Multipurpose, great used fresh, canned or frozen.
Redtop Large Freestone Yellow Yellow with a red blush Midseason Very good Good used fresh, canned or frozen.
Rio Grande  Medium Freestone Yellow  red blush over yellow skin Early season Very good Juicy with delicate flavor.
Rio Oso Gem  Large Freestone Yellow bright red skin Midseason to late season Excellent an old favorite heirloom, with  rich sweet flavor. Excellent for eating fresh, Desserts / Pies, Canning
Roza  Large   Yellow medium red blush Midseason Excellent Good fresh or canned
Rubidoux Large Freestone Yellow Red over golden yellow-red stripes Midseason to late season Fair  
Ruby Prince Medium Clingstone Yellow Yellow skin Early season Good  
Santa Barbara Large Freestone Yellow, red near pit red-blushed yellow skin Midseason Excellent Excellent fresh
Snow Beauty Large Freestone White  red-skin Midseason Excellent  Considered one of best flavored white-fleshed peaches.
Southern Flame Large Freestone White red-blushed yellow skin Midseason Good Flesh is firm, crisp, and smooth. Good for eating fresh;. Tree is genetic dwarf.
Southern Rose  Medium Freestone Yellow yellow skin and red blush Midseason Fair Tree is genetic dwarf.
Southern Sweet   Medium Freestone Yellow yellow and red skin Early season Good Tree is genetic dwarf.
Springprince Medium Clingstone Yellow Yellow Early midseason Good
Springtime  Small-medium Clingstone White Reddish with green ground color Midseason Good Melting flesh, Standard Acid
Stark Saturn donut Medium Freestone White white skin with red blush Early season Good medium-sized donut peach. Flesh is low acid, mildly sweet.
Strawberry Cling  Large Clingstone White white, mottled red skin Late season Excellent flesh is juicy, and excellently flavored; good for canning. 
Strawberry Free  Medium Freestone White white, pink-blushed skin Early season Excellent  
Summerset  Large Freestone Yellow blush over yellow skin Late season Fair Good for canning or freezing, fair fresh.
Suncrest   Large Freestone deep red deep red on yellow Midseason Good The flesh is firm with good texture and flavor. Good for fresh use or canning.
Sun Haven   Medium Clingstone Yellow bright red over gold skin Early to Midseason Good Rich, sweet flavor. Typically in mid- to late August.  flesh resists browning. A perfect peach for pies.
Sunhigh  Medium Freestone Yellow Bright red skin Midseason Excellent  The flesh comes off the pit easily. A large oval-shaped easy to pick peach, with a sweet flavor similar to the Loring. This peach is great for eating, freezing, and canning.  Considered one of the best varieties for canning or freezing.
Tropi-berta Large Freestone Yellow with red blush red-blushed skin Midseason to late season Good  
Tropic Snow   Medium Freestone White Pale white with red skin. Early season Excellent One of the best white peaches for warm climates. The fruit is very juicy, mildly aromatic and has a bright flavor that is sweet and a slightly tart.
Ventura   Small Freestone Yellow Yellow with red blush Midseason Good Small oblong peach, flesh is slightly acid.
Veteran  Medium to large semi-freestone to freestone Yellow Yellow Midseason Fair Round-oblate shape (flattened on the end)  Soft flesh, and . Fruit peel easily without scalding and have a rich flavor when canned, but fresh eating quality is only fair. Bruises easily, so better for U-pick operations and home gardens.  (late August).
White Heath Cling  Medium to large Clingstone White White skin with a light red blush Late season Good & Juicy flesh with good distinctive flavor; good for canning. Reliable and hardy for cold climates.
White Nectar Large Freestone White white skin with red blush Early season Excellent  
White Lady Large Freestone White white skin with red blush Early season Excellent Among the best of the low acid, high sugar, fresh market white fleshed peaches

 

 Be sure to see our easy, illustrated how-to pages to make and preserve your own:Home-canned peaches

  1. Peach picking tips
     
  2. Now, get ready to preserve your peaches - It is VERY easy - especially with our free
     - peach jam instructions - they're illustrated and easy and our page on
     - how to make home canned peaches from fresh!
    - Or see here to freeze peaches instead!
    - make your own home canned peach pie filling to use in the winter
    - or how about peach salsa?
    - Peach chutney
    - Spiced peaches
    - peach butter
    - pickled peaches?
    -
     
  3. Here are some great and easy peach desert recipes, like 
    Peach pie shown at right, below,
    or peach-blueberry pie
    and easy peach cobbler.

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Peaches - Peach Guides for Specific States and Regions


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