Nectarine vs Peach

Nectarines and peaches are frequently found next to each other in produce sections of grocery stores and at farmer’s markets during the summer. These two fruits may appear to be nearly identical at first glance, yet they actually differ significantly in some important ways. We’ll examine the differences between nectarines and peaches in this article, including their physical traits, nutritional worth, and culinary applications.

Fresh sweet group of sliced peaches on wooden background in the garden

Origins and History Along with plums, apricots, and cherries, nectarines and peaches are all members of the stone fruit family.

Although the precise history of these fruits is uncertain, it is thought that cultivation began there more than 4,000 years ago.

They then migrated to additional regions of Asia before eventually arriving in Europe and the Americas.

Peaches and nectarines are now grown all over the world, from Australia and South Africa to the United States and Canada.

The skin of nectarines and peaches is one of the most noticeable distinctions between them.

Nectarines have a smooth skin, whereas peaches have a fuzzy one. Nectarines also have a somewhat more acidic flavor than peaches and are frequently smaller and harder.

Both of these fruits are normally only available throughout the summer, though depending on where you live, you might be able to obtain them at other times of the year.

Key Takeaways

  • Nectarines and peaches are both members of the stone fruit family and have been cultivated for thousands of years.
  • Nectarines have a smooth skin and are often smaller and firmer than peaches, with a slightly more tart flavor.
  • Both fruits are in season during the summer and can be used in a variety of culinary applications.

Origins and History

Origins of Nectarines

Stone fruits of the nectarine variety were first produced in China more than 2,000 years ago.

Ripe fresh nectarines in wooden bowl on white stone background

They were first called “shaved peaches” because of their smooth skin, which is devoid of the fuzzy texture of peaches.

The first nectarines were grown in England in the late 16th century, and they were transported to Europe by traders along the Silk Road.

Before the 19th century, nectarines were not extensively grown in the United States.

The top producer of nectarines in the United States now is California, followed by Georgia and South Carolina.

Origins of Peaches

It is thought that peaches were first produced in China more than 8,000 years ago.

Yellow Peach with slice in wooden basket

Chinese emperors held great esteem for the fruit because they saw it as a representation of enduring life and immortality.

Alexander the Great introduced peaches to the Mediterranean region, and in the 16th century, Spanish adventurers carried them to the Americas.

Peaches are now grown in countries with mild weather all over the world, such as the US, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Australia. The “Peach State” of Georgia is the country’s top peach-producing state.

Peaches and nectarines have been praised for their delectable flavor and health advantages throughout history.

Both fruits are low in calories and a rich source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.

Whether you choose the smooth skin of a nectarine or the fuzzy skin of a peach, both fruits are delicious and beneficial to your diet.

Physical Characteristics

Nectarines and peaches are very similar in terms of their physical attributes.

Fresh sweet peaches on the wooden table, selective focus

Both of these stone fruits are members of the Prunus persica species. But they also differ from one another in a few key ways.


The skin of nectarines and peaches is one of the most noticeable distinctions between the two fruits. Nectarines have smooth skin, whereas peaches have fuzzy skin.

This results from the same genetic mutation that gives peaches their fuzzy texture.

Nectarines have a smoother skin than peaches, which makes them easier to peel and gives them a somewhat distinct texture.


The luscious flesh of nectarines and peaches can be either white or yellow.

Peaches typically have softer flesh than nectarines, though. As a result, they may be simpler to slice and dice and work well when grilled or baked.

Size and Shape

Nectarines and peaches can resemble one another in size and appearance.

But nectarines frequently have a smaller, rounder shape than peaches. In comparison to peaches, they frequently have a sharper tip.


Nectarines and peaches taste quite similar to one another. Both have a flavor that is somewhat acidic and are sweet and juicy.

On the other hand, some people think nectarines have a somewhat stronger flavor than peaches.

Although nectarines and peaches have many of the same physical traits, there are significant distinctions that make them distinct.

Both fruits are a wonderful and nourishing complement to any diet, whether you favor the fuzzy skin and juicy flesh of peaches or the smooth skin and firm flesh of nectarines.

Nutritional Comparison

Nectarines and peaches are nutritionally similar to one another. They include a lot of vitamins and minerals and few calories. There are certain distinctions worth pointing out, though.

Fresh peaches on wooden background


The around 60 calories in one medium-sized peach or nectarine make them a suitable snack for people watching their calorie intake.

But be aware that the number of calories can differ based on the size of the fruit.

Vitamins and Minerals

Peaches and nectarines are both excellent providers of potassium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals. But nectarines have a tiny bit more vitamin C than peaches do.

Peaches, on the other hand, have a tiny bit more potassium and vitamin A than nectarines.


Fiber is a crucial component that supports digestion and keeps you feeling full.

Both nectarines and peaches are excellent providers of fiber, with nectarines having a minor advantage over peaches in this regard.


Peaches and nectarines both have natural sugars, although nectarines have a little less than peaches do. They are therefore a suitable option for anyone who wants to cut back on their sugar intake.

Overall, nectarines and peaches are both healthy and delectable fruits that can be eaten on their own as a snack or combined with other foods to make a range of recipes.

Culinary Uses

Peaches and nectarines are both adaptable fruits that may be utilized in a variety of dishes. Here are a few popular ways to prepare these stone fruits:

Ripe nectarines small, lying in a wicker basket

Eating Fresh

Eating nectarines and peaches fresh is one of the easiest ways to enjoy them. Wash the fruit, cut it open, and savor the succulent flesh.

The fruit can also be sliced into smaller pieces and added to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.


Both nectarines and peaches work well in baked goods. They can be incorporated into crisps, pies, tarts, and cobblers.

When using these fruits in baking, it’s crucial to select ripe fruit that is neither too soft nor too firm. To improve the fruit’s flavor, you can also add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.


The natural sweetness of nectarines and peaches can be enhanced by grilling them. Simply remove the pit, split the fruit in half, and spray it with a little oil.

On a hot grill, place the fruit cut-side down and cook for a few minutes, or until it has a little sear. Grilled peaches and nectarines taste great alone or with ice cream or whipped cream.


There are many techniques to preserve nectarines and peaches, including canning, freezing, and drying.

Fruit may be preserved in a terrific way for long-term storage through canning, and for short-term storage through freezing.

Peaches and nectarines that have been dried are delicious as a snack and can be utilized in baking and cooking.

Other Uses

Peaches and nectarines can also be utilized in a wide range of different recipes.

For instance, they can be used to create sauces, jams, and jellies.

Additionally, they can be used to flavor beverages like iced tea and lemonade. Peaches and nectarines can also be used to create delectable milkshakes and smoothies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fresh peaches in wicker basket on wooden table, closeup

What is the difference between a nectarine and a peach?

The main difference between a nectarine and a peach is the skin. Nectarines have a smooth, shiny skin, while peaches have a fuzzy skin. The flesh of both fruits is very similar, but nectarines tend to be slightly more tart and have a firmer texture.

Can you substitute nectarines for peaches in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute nectarines for peaches in most recipes. Since the flavor and texture of the two fruits are very similar, you can use them interchangeably in pies, cobblers, and other baked goods. Just be sure to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe, as nectarines tend to be slightly more tart than peaches.

How do you know if a nectarine or peach is ripe?

To tell if a nectarine or peach is ripe, give it a gentle squeeze. The fruit should give slightly when you press on it, but it shouldn’t be too soft. You can also check the color of the fruit – ripe nectarines and peaches will be a deep, vibrant color, while unripe fruit will be lighter in color.

Are nectarines and peaches good for you?

Yes, both nectarines and peaches are good for you! They are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Plus, they are a great source of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage.

How should you store nectarines and peaches?

To keep nectarines and peaches fresh, store them at room temperature until they are ripe. Once they are ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days. If you have a lot of fruit that you want to keep for longer, you can also freeze them. Simply slice the fruit and place it in an airtight container in the freezer.

side view of fresh ripe nectarines and peaches in a wicker basket on rustic wooden background


Finally, it can be said that nectarines and peaches are both scrumptious and healthy fruits that are extremely similar to one another in many respects.

They both belong to the Rosaceae family and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

But there are some significant distinctions between the two that can make you favor one over the other.

The skin’s texture is one of the primary distinctions. Peaches have a soft, fuzzy skin, whereas nectarines have a smooth, fuzz-free skin.

Nectarines can be a better option for you if you prefer a smoother texture. On the other hand, if you favor the peach’s fuzzy feel, it might be your preference.

The flavor profile is yet another difference. Both fruits are sweet and juicy, but nectarines have a flavor that is often more potent and has a hint of tartness.

On the other hand, peaches have a milder, more delicate flavor. Nectarines might be the best option if you desire a stronger flavor.

Both fruits have high nutritional value and are great providers of potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C.

Peaches tend to be slightly higher in vitamin C, whereas nectarines tend to be slightly higher in vitamin A and potassium.

Both fruits are excellent choices for a nutritious and well-balanced diet overall.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.