Peach, nectarine, or apricot – do you know the difference between these summer stone fruits? These delicious summer fruits look very similar, and some people might even say that they taste the same. However, they do have a lot of different characteristics and qualities that you probably didn’t know about! In this article, we will explore the main differences between nectarines, peaches, and apricots, from their origins, to their health benefits. Not only that, but we will also give you tips on how to choose and prepare these delightful summer fruits. So, learn how to become a true expert in identifying and preparing these juicy stone fruits!
Let’s dive into the differences and similarities between nectarines, peaches, and apricots
Nectarines, Peaches & Apricots – What Exactly is the Difference?
Did you know that nectarines, those cute close relatives of the peach, used to be called “Persian plums”? One easy way to recognize nectarines is by their skin. They don’t have the characteristic peach fuzz that causes irritation for some people. It is the absence of these fuzzies that makes nectarines a favorite fruit of many. So, let’s see what are the characteristics and qualities of the juicy nectarines:
Nectarines are close cousins to peaches with soft and smooth skin instead of peach fuzz
Nectarines are essentially a smooth-skinned variety of peaches that are native to China. They only became known in Europe in the late Renaissance, when sailors began to take them to different countries. In America and Eastern countries they have been known for about 2000 years. So, it is safe to say that nectarines are now a worldwide sensation!
Nectarines are actually native to China
Nectarines have an exceptionally rich aroma and incredible taste, making them a delicious and healthy snack. Their taste is actually richer than that of the peach. Furthermore, their name comes from the Greek word for nectar. Nectarines are one of the most delicious, aromatic and juicy summer fruits. Extremely healthy and rich in vitamins, they should definitely be a part of your summer menu. In order to choose the best nectarines, follow these tips and tricks: choose fruits with a creamy-yellow color, and do not buy cut or bruised nectarines. In addition, note that purplish red is not a sign of ripeness, but is simply a characteristic of some nectarine varieties. Well-ripened nectarines are recognized using light pressure, and they are as soft as ripe peaches.
Nectarines have an exceptionally rich aroma and taste that many consider richer than that of peaches
Nectarines are cholesterol and sodium free, as well as very low in fat. Although nectarines taste wonderfully sweet, they are low in sugars. In addition, they contain more phosphorus and potassium than peaches, and are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, folic acid and vegetable fiber. As well as being extremely tasty, these summer fruits bring a number of health benefits to the table. One of the best qualities of nectarines is their ability to calm the nervous system. Furthermore, this delicious fruit acts as a kind of filter for the kidneys, cleansing them of unnecessary substances. Thanks to the fruit acids they contain, nectarines successfully stimulate the appetite naturally. Some experienced cooks say that fatty food is digested much better if a nectarine is eaten before sitting at the table. However, take this with a grain of salt.
The substances contained in nectarines can improve the work of the gastric glands
Peaches are actually a symbol of fertility and love, and you can find them mentioned in many poems. Compared to nectarines, peaches are softer, juicier, and larger when ripe. Let’s discover the main qualities and benefits of the juicy peach:
You can recognize a peach by the peachy fuzz covering the skin
Peaches can easily be called the queens of fruits. They are actually second in popularity, after apples! The color of peaches ranges from creamy yellow to red. This juicy fruit also originates from China, where have a mystical significance and are a symbol of good luck, protection, and wealth.
Peaches originate in China, where there are a symbol of good luck, protection, and wealth
Peaches are known for the “popping” of their skin. And, while some people prefer to peel peaches before eating them, others eat the skin with the greatest pleasure. However, it is better to remove the peach skin before cooking. Nectarines, on the other hand, can be cooked unpeeled. However, it is actually recommended to grate them rather than cutting them into pieces since they are considerably firmer than their fruit relatives peaches.
You can enjoy peaches with or without their signature fuzzy skin
How to peel
To peel peaches for recipes, you can use the following easy method. Just put a couple of peaches in a wire basket – the kind used for frying – and plunge them into boiling water. Leave the peaches in the boiling water for around 3–5 minutes. After that, remove them from the heat and place them all in cold water. In a couple of minutes, the blanched peaches are then ready to be peeled with almost no effort involved! This is a great hack if you have leftover peaches that you want to use for a dessert or maybe to freeze for smoothie recipes.
Use this easy hack when you want to peel peaches quickly and with almost no effort
Apricots can be eaten raw as a quick and healthy snack, but they also have a wide use in making delicious jams, desserts, and liqueurs. Let’s explore some of the key characteristic of this summer fruit:
You can use apricots to make delicious homemade jams, desserts, and liqueurs
The golden-orange color and velvety skin is what makes the apricot irresistible. Just like peaches and nectarines, apricots also originated in China. They can be eaten as fresh, dried, or used to make delicious homemade desserts and jams. This fruit can also be distilled to make brandy and liqueur. Apricot fruit nectar is one of the most delicious. Moreover, the essential oils extracted from apricot pits are sold commercially as bitter almond oil. Countries like Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, the USA, and France are the leading producers of apricots nowadays.
Apricots can be used to make delicious desserts, jams, as well as brandy and liqueur
How to choose
When choosing apricots, look for fruits with a deep orange color. Avoid those that are pale and yellow. For the richest antioxidant content, choose only fully ripe fruits. In addition, make sure to avoid apricots with overly soft spots and brown spots. You can store apricots for up to 2–3 days at room temperature, and they can be kept for up to 3 weeks in a dark, dry, cool place.
When choosing the perfect apricots, look for fruits with a deep orange color
Apricots are a good source of fiber, which helps improve the digestive process in the body. In addition, they can help against constipation and for digestive disorders. You can consume dried apricots for constipation because they contain more fiber than fresh ones, and they are beneficial for constipation. Furthermore, apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, tryptophan and potassium. They also contain enviable amounts of B, E and PP vitamins. Moreover, apricots are rich in carbohydrates, most of which are pectic substances and easily digestible sugars – fructose, glucose, and maltose. The endless list of ingredients and benefits of apricots could go on and on, and it is definitely no surprise that dried apricots were number one on NASA astronauts’ list of provisions!
Did you know that dried apricots were number one on NASA astronauts’ list of provisions?
As you can see, apricots, nectarines, and peaches surely have a lot to offer in terms of taste and health benefits. Despite looking similar, these summer fruits have their own unique characteristic, benefits, and advantages! By understanding the differences of these fruits, you can truly make the most of them, and enjoy them to the fullest. No matter if you choose the fuzzy and juicy peach, the smooth and sweet nectarine, or the velvety, nutrient-packed apricot, your body will surely thank you. So, make the most of the summer, and eat as much fresh fruit as your heart desires! After all, nothing beats a juicy peach on a hot summer day!
Now you know the main differences between nectarines, peaches, and apricots!