Peach varieties for canning

Clingstone Vs Freestone: Learn About Different Stones In Peach Fruit

Peaches are members of the rose family amongst which they can count apricots, almonds, cherries and plums as cousins. Narrowing down their classification comes down to the types of stones in peaches. What are the different peach stone types?

What are Peach Stone Types?

Peaches are categorized based on the relationship between the pit and the peach flesh. In other words, how well the flesh attaches to the pit. So, we have clingstone peaches, freestone peaches and even semi-freestone peaches. All three can be found as white or yellow peaches. So, what is the difference between clingstone and freestone? And, what are semi-freestone peaches?

Clingstone vs Freestone

The difference between clingstone and freestone peaches is very simple. You will definitely know if you are cutting into a clingstone peach. The pit (endocarp) will cling

stubbornly to the flesh (mesocarp) of the peach. Conversely, freestone peach pits are easy to remove. In fact, when a freestone peach is cut in half, the pit will fall freely from the fruit as you upend the half. Not so with clingstone peaches; you basically have to pry the pit out from the flesh, or cut or nibble around it.

Clingstone peaches are the first variety to be harvested in May through August. The flesh is yellow with splashes of red as it gets closer to the pit or stone. Clingstones are sweet, juicy and soft — perfect for desserts and preferred for canning and preserves. This type of peach is often found canned in syrup in the supermarket rather than fresh.

Freestone peaches are most often eaten fresh, simply because the pit is easily removed. This variety of peach is ripe around late May through October. You are more likely to find these available fresh at your local market rather than clingstone varieties. They are a little bit larger than clingstones, firmer as well, but less sweet and juicy. Still, they are delicious for canning and baking purposes.

What are Semi-Freestone Peaches?

The third type of peach stone fruit is called semi-freestone. Semi-freestone peaches are a newer, hybridized variety of peach, a combination between clingstone and freestone peaches. By the time the fruit has ripened, it has become primarily freestone, and the pit should be fairly easy to remove. It is a good general purpose peach, adequate for both eating fresh as well as canning or baking with.

The 3 Types of Peaches You Should Know About

Recipe: Fresh Peach Ice CreamWhat’s better than fresh Georgia or South Carolinian peaches in the summertime? How about taking those sweet, juicy peaches, combining them with a few classic and rich Southern ingredients, and whipping up an even sweeter peach ice cream? Take advantage of fresh peaches and make this five-star homemade peach ice-cream to cool off on a hot Southern summer day. With fresh peaches, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, whole milk, and egg yolks, you won’t find a creamier dessert anywhere else. And don’t let the thought of homemade ice-cream intimidate you – all you need is a food processor and a large bowl, and you’ll make this easy and classic Southern comfort dish in merely hours. Southern Living

You probably don’t need to be sold on the advantages of purchasing local produce. Picked at an almost-ripe stage and immediately transported to a farmers’ market, fresh, regional peaches can be purchased within a day or two of harvest, unlike store bought peaches, which are picked, packed in crates, and shipped hundreds of miles only to sit for days and days in the bin at the grocery store. Visit your favorite farmers’ market throughout the season and get to know the farmers; they can tell you all about their peaches, if they are clingstone, freestone, or semifreestone, whether or not they are ready to eat, and also help you pick out the best fruit for your needs. If you want to bake a fresh peach cobbler that very day or plan to put up peach preserves later in the week, the farmer can teach you to look at the varying degrees of ripeness in order to buy the right peach.

Don’t be fooled by a pink, rosy blush on a peach, for that is actually not a sign of ripeness. Look for the yellow undertone, or “ground color,” on the fruit’s skin. Ripe peaches will have a warm, creamy yellow or yellow-orange undertone. Just make sure there are no hints of green on the peach, which is a sign that the peach was picked too early. Once you get peaches home, store them in a single layer at room temperature with the stem side down. If peaches ripen before you are ready to use them, store them in the refrigerator for one or two more days. You have waited too late once wrinkles form on the skin, however, for that is a sign they are starting to dry out.

How to tell if your peach is ready to eat? This sweet and juicy fruit gets even better as it ripens. To determine the degree of ripeness, gently squeeze the tip or shoulder (where the stem was) – if it gives a little, it’s ripe and ready to eat. If the peach is still firm, either check it after another day, dice it for salads and salsas, or go ahead and eat it if you like crunchy peaches.

You will likely find a plethora of peach varieties at the farmers’ market, and most of them will fall into these three categories. Your particular need – baking, pickling, pure enjoyment – and how early or late it is in the season, will determine the best peach for the job.

Clingstone Peach

An early-season peach, these smaller, sweeter peaches have flesh that clings to the pit. Choose them for eating out of hand, canning, or preserving.

Freestone Peach

Usually found late in the season, freestones are slightly larger and juicier with pits that separate easily from the flesh. Almost all fresh peaches sold in grocery stores are freestones. Choose them for pickling, grilling, and tossing in fruit salads.

Semifreestone Peach

This early-season, lesser-known type has a pit that clings to the flesh until the peach is ripe. It’s great for eating out of hand, baking, pickling, and freezing.

WATCH: Peach-Raspberry Buckle

A last word on choosing peaches: Check the fruit for bruises or broken skin. Pick only whole, unblemished specimens. Use your nose, as well, since peaches should have a mild scent. A strong fragrant scent is a sure sign of over-ripeness.

Frequently Asked Questions about Peaches

What is a FREESTONE peach?

All peaches have pits. Lots of folks figure that freestone means that there is no pit at all, and we can see why from the word! Freestone peaches are varieties where the flesh of the fruit, comes cleanly away from the pit. You should never have to cut the pit out or waste any bites that won’t come away. For this reason, these varieties are much easier for canning and baking. Semi-Freestone means that the flesh will come off the pit cleanly so long as the fruit is nice and ripe.

For more about our different varieties, .

The best way to let a peach Ripen?

This is key! Take your peaches out of their container and spread them out! If they ripen in the box or basket, the weight of the layers of peaches will bruise the bottom ones. Spread them out with the stem side up so you can keep a close eye on the ripeness. The temperature will affect how quickly they ripen. If the room is warm they will ripen faster, if you are trying to make them last, keep them in the fridge.

See our page on “caring for your peaches” for more info.

How can you tell if a peach is Ripe?

Around the farm you can see lots of signs that say, “Please don’t squeeze!” It is true that you can tell if a peach is ripe by how soft it is, but the dilemma is that every time you squeeze it to test, you bruise it. Peach abuse! Instead, look closely around the stem of the peach. If the flesh at the stem is green – not ripe. If it is a golden yellow or orange – time to enjoy! Another hint is how easily the skin will peel off. A ripe peach should be easy to peel with a paring knife.

What variety is best for canning?

All the freestone or semi-freestone varieties are good for canning, but our family prefers Red Haven (not to be confused with “Early Red Haven, a clingstone variety) Red Haven have the best flavour in our opinion. Remember, the most important factor is how RIPE the peaches are. Most need to sit for 5-7 days between purchase and canning.

There are many different of peaches, check out the Peach Variety page to learn more.

What is are “Peaches packed to travel”?

Peaches packed to travel are packed with extra padding between the layers and in a box with a lid so they can be stacked in a vehicle. We also choose peaches that are a little greener so they can survive the trip. They should still be kept as cool as possible on the way and out of direct sunlight. They can stay in the box for 1 – 3 days at the most – when you reach your destination, they need to be unpacked and spread out so the top layer does not bruise the bottom layer.

How ripe are our peaches?

Because we sell directly off the farm, we have the advantage to let our peaches ripen on the trees for as long as possible. Peaches that are grown for shipping cross-country have to be picked early while they are still very green. That being said, we don’t want to let our peaches ripen to the point that they are soft while they are still on the trees, or we would never be able to get them from the tree to the market without bruising them. We sell them at the “firm-ripe” stage so you can get them home and spread them out gently for the last few days where they can ripen in peace. From the time of purchase, expect 2-3 days before they are ready to eat and 5-7 days before they are fully ripened and ready to can.

Peach Varieties

Peaches are deciduous fruit trees and require a dormant and rest period. Weather conditions, such as shortening days and cold temperatures cause the trees to go dormant. As the winter progresses peach trees go into a “rest” period. If certain conditions have not been met the tree will not come out of the rest period. Peaches require a certain amount of chilling to bring them out of the rest period once the climate is favorable to growth again. This chilling is determined by the number of hours below a certain temperature–optimal is 45o F. The chilling requirement for different varieties can vary from less than 200 hours to more than 1000 hours. For Carbon County growers varieties that require 800 chilling hours or more should be selected to ensure fewer frost problems in the spring–varieties that require more hours will be less likely to be caught by a late spring frost during bloom. The hours listed with the tree description is the number of hours the tree needs below 45o F before the tree will start to grow and bloom again. These descriptions have been combined from several commercial and research sources.

Medium sized round fruit. Golden-yellow skin with attractive red blush. 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.

Large, nearly round fruit with a highly colored skin, which is almost fuzzless. Firm, yellow flesh with a pleasant flavor. Superior for canning and freezing. 850 hours. Self-fertile.

Red Globe-
A very large round peach. Skin is a highly blushed red over a golden color. Firm, yellow flesh with 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.

Canadian Harmony-
Late-blooming, vigorous tree. Cold hardiness comparable to Redhaven. Medium to large, firm, yellow freestone with red near the pit. Skin almost entirely blushed red. Ripens just before Halehaven. Used fresh and for freezing. From Ontario, Canada. Introduced in 1968. 1,000 hours. Self-fertile.

Early Elberta-
Large golden yellow peach with very little or no blush. Golden yellow flesh with rich, sweet flavor. Excellent for fresh eating and canning. The most popular variety in our area. 800 hours. Self-fertile.

Large, golden yellow fruit blushed with red. Firm, rich, sweet, yellow flesh. Excellent for fresh eating and canning. Hardy and productive. 850 hours. Self-fertile.

J.H. Hale-
Extra large, round fruit with golden skin mostly covered with a brilliant red blush. Sweet, firm, yellow flesh. Requires pollination from another variety. Great for shipping and canning. A very popular late peach. 850 hours. Another nectarine or peach needed to pollinate.


One of the most reliable peaches for cold climates: winter hardy and late-blooming. Yellow to yellow-orange skin. Yellow flesh is freestone when fully ripe, and richly flavored. Harvest one week before Elberta. 900 hours. Self-fruitful.


Late blooming. Very cold hardy/frost hardy. 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.


From Canada, a sibling of Canadian Harmony peach. Red-skinned yellow freestone ripens early mid-season, a few days after Redhaven . Sweet, flavorful, mid-sized fruit, non-browning flesh. One of the highest-rated peaches for Western Washington. Dessert/cooking/freezing. 800 hours. Self-fertile.


One of the most winter hardy white peach varieties. Developed in Iowa, hardy to -20ºF. Reliable crops of tasty, sweet, medium-sized, white-fleshed fruit. Crimson-blushed white skin. 1,000 hours. Self-fertile.


One of the best late-blooming/frost hardy peaches for cold climates. Medium size, full-flavored, high quality yellow freestone. Mid-season, 1 week after Redhaven. Fresh/can/freeze. 900 hours. Self-fertile.

Peach Facts

People always ask us what variety of peach is the best – our answer is that they are all great! And we honestly mean that!

Unlike apples, yellow peaches do not have as large of a difference in flavor. The biggest difference in our peaches is when they are ready to be picked. We have a number of varieties so that we can offer you peaches from mid-July into early-September.

We feel confident that you will enjoy any of these delicious varieties:

  • Autumnglo – Very good quality, large, firm-fleshed, yellow freestone. Picked close to Labor day.
  • Coral Star – Large, all-purpose mid-season peach. Picked early to mid August.
  • Crest Haven – Medium to large fruit, firm, very round. Little fuzz. Flesh is yellow, nonbrowning, juicy, and sweet with a good flavor. Freestone.
  • Loring – Very good quality. Picked mid-August.
  • Red Haven – Medium sized, round, yellow peach. Very firm, smooth texture, good flavor. Highly versatile – use for canning, freezing, snacking. Early peach: ripens around Aug. 1.
  • Sentry – The first of our freestone peaches. Available mid to late July.
  • Sun High – Large, smooth, yellow freestone of high quality. Firm, juicy, sweet. Excellent for canning and freezing. Picked around Aug. 10th.

Common Peach Questions:

  1. What makes a peach flavorful?
    It really isn’t so much a question of variety, the same variety can taste different year to year. It is more a question of the weather. A hot and dry season will lead to a sweet and flavorful peach.
  2. Should I use yellow or white peaches for canning?
    Yellow will be better. White peaches will brown faster.
  3. What is the difference between a yellow and a white peach?
    The flesh of the peach is either yellow or white. The whiter peaches are less acidic and have a sweeter flavor than the yellow. Some people prefer yellow, others white.
  4. What is a doughnut peach?
    This is a white peach that is not spherical. Instead it has more of a “doughnut” shape with the pit being the hole of the doughnut. They are extra sweet.
  5. Can I use my peaches the same day that I buy them?
    Most of the peaches that you get from us will need about 3-4 days to soften. Peaches are a very soft fruit. Because of this, we need to pick them a little harder to prevent them from being bruised and smashed. We recommend that you spread your peaches out on your countertop after purchase so that they will be at room temperature and not piled on top of each other. It’s not likely that they will all soften at the same time, so you can use them as they soften. For smaller quantities, you can put them in a paper bag at room temperature to speed this up.
  6. How many peaches do I need for canning?
    A half-bushel will make 10-12 quarts.
  7. What is a freestone peach?
    A freestone peach means that it comes off the pit easily. The earliest varieties of peaches are clingstone. Our first peach is Sentry, which is classified as a freestone – but the first picking will cling slightly more than the later pickings. For this reason we think of them as semi-cling, but we have not had any trouble removing the pit if you allow the peaches to soften for a few days.

Cling Peaches

One of the things I love about peaches is that the taste of summer itself is captured in the peach at the moment of harvest. Peach varieties build in sugar as the days lengthen from May to late June. By the time the July and early August varieties of peaches come around, they are riding the momentum of a summer that has allowed them to build sophisticated tastes and high sugar into their fruit. This week we have chosen to include the Super Rich Peach, which is a yellow, early-season, cling variety. Peaches can be classified by three different pit types: cling, semi-cling, and freestone. Cling peaches are the type where the fruit is woven into the pit. Freestone are those varieties where the pit is separated from the flesh. Semi-cling are an in-between fruit where the flesh is attached but not wholly embedded into the pit. Enjoy these May days of early peaches, knowing that it only gets better from here.

Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt [email protected]

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Two minutes for better eating habits

by Deb Herlax, The FruitGuys nutritionist, [email protected]

About fifty percent of us are emotional eaters: people who turn to food not only when hungry, but when bored, lonely, or stressed. This is not a healthy approach to eating. An August 2004 report from the BBC stated that researchers found that emotional eaters did not feel satisfied after eating, and usually they felt more stress and/or guilt after eating for the wrong reasons. The fastest growing group of emotional eaters are women between the ages of 35-55. These women are typically high achieving, organized, and successful people.

What can be done to break the habit of impulsively reaching for food? A simple solution is to do something else for at least two minutes. For most of us, this is enough time to allow the craving to pass. The other benefit is that if you follow the two-minute rule, you force yourself to become aware of why you are eating and begin to recognize patterns of eating for emotion rather than hunger or energy needs. This can help people get on the road to giving their body what it truly needs.

Here are a few other ideas to help curtail emotional eating:

1)Drink a glass of a water or hot beverage. A Penn State study found that hot liquids will curb your appetite.
2)Go outside. A change of scene, even for a minute or two, can change your endorphin levels. You will feel better since you have more happy-hormones circulating and may be less inclined to grab the candy bar.
3)If you need to eat something, eat fruit! Fruit is high in fiber and water, and this dynamic duo will fill you up and give you energy.

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There are many varieties of peaches in the world today. But since all the commercially available peaches are more or less delicious, consumers only need to know one thing about any peach they might buy: Is it freestone or cling?

The names explain themselves. With freestone peaches, when sliced, the fruit easily separates from the pit, or the stone. Cling (sometimes called clingstone) can be sliced around the pit, but when you try to gently twist the fruit, you end up mangling it till it’s mush. A very sad and sticky situation.

Unless your superpower is the ability to identify different varieties of fruit on sight (which would make you pretty cool, and/or a farmer), it’s difficult to know whether a given peach is freestone or cling. Cling peaches often are reserved for canning and jamming, but the whole fruit makes it to market, too. Generally speaking, cling peaches are harvested earlier in the season, with freestones getting ripe later in the summer.

There are some peaches marketed as “semi-cling,” but those are a lie. Do not expect to get clean slices from those peaches.

There is no difference in taste between the two types of peaches, just ease of use. Either option is great if you’re eating out of hand. But if you have loftier goals, check the signage at the supermarket (they sometimes will have this information listed) or ask at the farmers market. In the process, maybe you’ll figure out which peach varieties are your favorites, which would make you a superhero.

Baby Gold #5 (Early)

Most commonly used for canning and freezing. Good sized fruit. Yellow color with slight reddening around the pit. Tree is a vigorous and upright grower.

Baby Gold #7 (Early)

Non-melting flesh. Predominantly used for processing.

Carson (Extra Early)
Has excellent color, good firmness and size. Somewhat prone to invisible split pits. Produces heavy for an early variety.

Loadel (Extra Early)
A high quality canning peach. Firm, excellent color, exhibits uniform ripening. Sizes well for an extra early.

Stanislaus (Extra Early)
The Stanislaus peach is an extra early cling developed by Zaiger’s Genetics. It matures with or slightly ahead of Carson but with better fruit quality. The tree is very vigorous and productive.

Kader (USPPAF) (Extra Early)
Fruit ripens in the extra-early harvest season between Carson and Bowen but with flesh color, firmness, and sizing potential comparable to Andross. Fruit pit is medium to small in size and is free from red-staining at maturity. Fruit ripens evenly and will hold on the tree for a week or more, facilitating harvesting. The tree shows medium vigor with a semi-upright to spreading growth habit.

Andross (Early)
The fruit has a medium red blush and an excellent harvest color. It is medium to large in size. The pit is pink to slight red. Flesh is clear yellow with superior flavor. High producing variety. Excellent canning peach. Characterized by it’s good size and color.

Bowen (Early)
Medium to large size fruit has a very slight blush and an excellent harvest color. The pit is brown and appears to be of normal size and shape. The flesh is a clear yellow, with perhaps a shade of orange when fully ripe. Produces fruit of good size, weak color. Trees are large, spreading, similar to Loadel.

Goodwin (USPP# 13911) (Early)
Fruit is medium size, being slightly angular to round in shape and with a slight fruit tip. Flesh is bright yellow to yellow-gold. Fruit skin is slightly less fuzzy than Andross. Pit is small to medium size.

Dr.Davis (Late)
Heavy-yielding cling. Fruit is large, orange buff skin with a red blush. Stores well in cold storage. Trees are vigorous and upright.

Halford (Late)
Old standby with consistent heavy production. A very good canning peach, ripens uniformly. Fruit is large and firm, yellow fleshed, non-melting clingstone. Tree is vigorous, large, semi-upright to spreading. Requires 800 hours of chilling.
Late Ross (USPP# 11208) (Late)
Identical to the Ross with the exception of the ripening date. Ripens 5-7 days later than Ross. Fruit displays good shape, size, firmness and color.
Lilleland (USPP# 13028) (Late)
Fruit has good symmetry and is similar in size to Halford. Flesh is bright yellow and firmer than Halford. Fruit, flesh color, and texture rated superior to Halford by growers. Fruit skin is less fuzzy than Halford with a more uniform yellow-gold color.

Monaco (Late)
Good color, firmness and size. A consistent producer. The fruit has yellow flesh and resembles Halford. Tree is large, semi-upright to spreading.
Ross (Late)
A regular, highly productive bearer of large, uniform fruit. Yellow skin with a red blush and moderately firm, non-melting light orange-yellow flesh.
Starn (Extra Late)
Large, uniform fruit with good color and firmness; sizes well with minimal thinning consistently productive tree; most popular extra-late season cling variety.

Sullivan #4: (Extra Late)
Medium to large, semi-upright tree. Good production; ripens uniformly.

The fruit has a medium red blush and a harvest yellow color. Tree size is medium to large and semi-upright. It is somewhat weak in color and firmness. The pit is brown and the flesh is clear yellow. Displays some uniformity in ripening.

What Are the Different Types of Peaches?

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Originally native to China, peaches are a sweet, fuzzy-skinned fruit commonly used in cobblers, pies and preserves. In the United States, peaches are the official state fruit of Georgia, where roughly 130 million lbs. of peaches are produced annually, according the the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. There are countless varieties of peaches in the world that fall within several peach types.

Yellow-Flesh Peaches

Yellow-flesh peaches posses a mixture of both sweet and acidic flavor. Yellow-flesh peaches usually have yellow or orange flesh with a dark red center surrounding the pit. When eating a yellow-flesh peach, you may notice a slight “tang” on your taste buds due to the acidity of the fruit, though the flavor is described to be smooth. Yellow-flesh peaches are grown throughout North America and Europe where countless varieties of the fruit have been cultivated. Yellow-flesh peaches are in season May through September.

White-Flesh Peaches

White-flesh peaches are lighter in color than yellow-flesh peaches and are also less acidic. The flesh of the peach is usually white or cream in color while the center surrounding the pit is pink or red. White-flesh peaches are sweet in flavor but lack the tart tanginess yellow-flesh varieties possess. These peaches are usually grown in Asia and are in season May through August.

Clingstone Peaches

Peaches that have flesh that sticks to the pit of the fruit are known as clingstone peaches. Clingstone varieties may be yellow- or white-flesh and tend to be extremely juicy and sweet. When eating a clingstone peach, the flesh needs to be cut away from the pit with a knife. According to Growing Taste, most clingstone peaches are used for processing rather than for desserts because of the hassle associated with separating the flesh from the pit.

Freestone Peaches

Peaches that have flesh that easily separates from the pit are known as freestone peaches. Freestone peaches can also be either yellow- or white-flesh depending on the variety. Freestone peaches are the kind most commonly found in supermarkets and used in desserts. However, freestone peaches tend to be less juicy and sweet than clingstone types.

Melting Flesh

Melting flesh peaches have flesh that tends to fall apart and soften over time. These peaches will also tear and become raggedy when cut with a knife. Both freestone and clingstone peaches can have melting flesh. Melting flesh peaches are usually used in pies, cobblers and other desserts and are also eaten raw or sliced in other foods such as salads.

Non-Melting Flesh

Non-melting flesh peaches have flesh that will stay firm over time, making varieties of this type ideal for canning and processed foods. Non-melting flesh can be used in desserts though this is not very common. Non-melting peaches are always clingstone.

Peento Peaches

Peento peaches are a Chinese type of peach that are flat or doughnut shaped rather than spherical like other types. Peento peaches come in a variety of colors and flesh types. In the United States, peento peaches are grown in California and Washington.

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