Peaches, nectarines, and apricots are three fruits that are often confused with each other. They are all part of the same family, the stone fruit family, but there are differences between them.
Peaches, apricots, and nectarines are all delicious fruits, but we often mix them up. It’s no surprise that people get them mixed up all the time because they look and taste so similar. We’ll speak about the distinctions between these three fruits today, and perhaps you’ll be able to tell them apart more easily. But first, we must examine each fruit separately in order to fully comprehend the distinctions.
A peach is a small yellow or orange-colored berry that grows on trees. The word "peach" comes from the French pêche meaning "fishing". In fact, this was how it got its name originally.
When Europeans discovered America, they brought back seeds for planting and found that some plants grew well here. These were called Peche de France by the French settlers who planted them. Eventually, the English adopted the term as their own. Peaches are a sort of fruit that originated in Northwest China but is now cultivated all over the world.
However, China produces the majority of the world’s peaches and nectarines (about 62 percent in 2018). Peaches have the most fuzz of the three fruits we’re talking about today. They’re similar to nectarine in form and color, although they’re a little bigger.
Nectarines are also known as plums or prunes. This fruit has an oval shape like a plum, but it looks much smaller than a true plum. A nectarine can grow anywhere from 2 inches long to 4 inches long.
Its skin is usually greenish-brown, while the flesh inside may vary from pale pink to dark red depending upon variety. The best way to distinguish a nectarine from peach is to smell it. Nectarines are similar to peaches in appearance but lack the fuzz. They’re the same color as each other, but they bruise more quickly. It’s unclear what caused the mutation that resulted in nectarines losing their fuzz, but they’re now considered a distinct fruit as a result.
Apricot is another name for sour cherry. Like cherries, apricots come in two varieties: sweet and bitter. Sweet apricots are rounder and larger than bitter ones. Bitter apricots tend to be firmer and less juicy than sweet ones. Both types contain pits which make eating easier.
Sweet apricots are available year-round, whereas bitter apricots only appear during certain seasons. When ripe, both kinds will turn bright red when cut open. Apricots, on the other hand, are a different tale, and their origins are a little hazy. They’ve been known for thousands of years in Armenia, and locals think they initially appeared there. These fruits differ from nectarines and peaches in flavor and look, being considerably smaller and uniformly golden-orange in color.
Despite (potentially) hailing from various parts of the world, all three fruits are members of the Prunus subfamily. Plums, cherries, sour cherries, peaches, and apricots are all members of the same family.
They all have the same stone pits on the interior and are connected to the almond family as a result. All of this implies that they must share certain similarities as well as differences. We’ll go through these in the next section, starting with the most significant or obvious ones.
The first thing you notice about nectarines is that they don’t have any fuzz at all. In fact, they’re almost identical to peaches except for one major difference: peaches have fuzzy skins.
This means that if you buy a bunch of peaches, you might not know whether they’re actually nectarines until after you peel off the outer layer. If you want to avoid confusion, just remember that nectarines aren’t really fuzzy; they’re smooth instead. Peaches and nectarines are essentially the same fruit. They belong to the same family, have the same type of tree, and even appear similar. The primary distinction between them is whether or not they contain fuzz.
Nectarines are devoid of fuzz due to a naturally occurring mutation. This indicates that the nectarines’ outer skin is smooth and slightly thinner. Due to the lack of fuzz, you may seem slimmer.
Unlike nectarines and peachy fruits, apricots are small and very firm. Their size makes them perfect for snacking on throughout the day. You won’t find many people who eat large amounts of apricots because they’re so tiny. However, they do taste great!
Biting into an apricot gives you a burst of sweetness followed by the tartness. That combination is hard to beat. Apricots are golden-orange all over, with no darker or lighter patches, unlike nectarines and peaches. Greenish apricots are unripe apricots. If you notice any dark spots on apricots (such as black brow mottling), avoid them.
There is some fuzz on these fruits, but it is much tiny and less noticeable than peach fuzz. Apricots are also significantly drier. An apricot, unlike a ripe nectarine or peach, has less liquid and will not wet your hands or clothes when sliced open.
Both peaches and nectarines can be eaten raw or cooked. Both types of fruit are extremely juicy and delicious when fresh out of the sun. But what sets them apart? Well, let’s start with the basics.
When we talk about "sweet" versus "bitter," we mean two things: how acidic the fruit tastes, and its sugar content. Sweet foods tend to be more acidic while bitter foods are sweeter. When it comes to taste, nectarines and apricots are nearly identical. They’re the essence of summer tastes, being juicy, sweet, and tangy. Apricots are sweet, but not as juicy or sour as the other two fruits. One way to tell them apart is that they’re a little more laid-back.
I hope this article helped you understand the differences between peaches, apricots, and nectarines and also helped you with your food curiosities.