Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peaches vs. Nectarines

I was at the grocery store recently, and I ran into a conundrum. There were two bins of sunset-orange fruit in front of me: peaches in one and nectarines in the other. Both were on sale for the same price. Both were high quality and seasonal. Initially I gravitated toward the peaches, but as I was loading them into my basket, another shopper started choosing nectarines.

And then it hit me. What in tarnation was the difference between a peach and a nectarine? I know peaches are fuzzy, but besides that why was I choosing a peach over a nectarine when I didn't know which I preferred? So I did the only logical thing I could think of; I asked the other shopper.

"Excuse me," I interrupted the wise-looking woman as she added another nectarine to her growing pile. "Can you tell me the difference between a peach and a nectarine?"

She furrowed her brow in thought. "That's a good question. I think that peaches can be a bit more mealy. And they're more finicky; you have to eat them at exactly the right time. Nectarines are more forgiving."

Well that was a darn good answer. I promptly put my peaches back in the bin and snagged a few nectarines.

I think that helpful gal in the produce aisle was right. I let my nectarines get a smidge too ripe, but they were totally forgiving. They weren't mealy like the smidge-too-ripe peaches I'd eaten the week before. 

Since I can't leave well enough alone, I did some very official interweb research on the fruits in question. (What I mean, of course, is that I Googled it. It wasn't very serious at all.) This is what I learned:

According to wiki.answers, peaches and nectarines are both part of the prunus family, like plums. "Peaches have a certain dominant gene and a certain recessive one. When the dominant gene is prominent, the fruit is called a peach; when the recessive gene is prominent, it is called a nectarine. Physically, peaches are larger than nectarines; have a larger, rounder stone (pit); and have a fuzzy outer skin. Nectarines are smaller, with a smaller and flatter stone, and have a smooth outer skin. Nectarines are also sweeter in taste than peaches."

So there you have it, folks. Go forth and make educated fruit choices!

No comments:

Post a Comment