If you live in an area where peaches are grown, you can smell the harvest in the air for a few weeks every year. Chances are, at the first scenting, you’ll dash off to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and come home with a 10 – 15-pound box of the stone fruit.
Most of us instinctively either bite into the fruit without a care in the world, or skin it, depending on what our parents taught us as kids. We’ve never questioned it, just followed through with tradition.
But just because you do or do not usually eat it, you should be asking whether you can eat peach skin? The happy answer is yes, it is perfectly safe and even advisable to eat the skin of peaches. The only thing to remember is to wash peaches before eating them to remove any pesticides from the skin.
Through the rest of this article, we’ll explain exactly why you may want to start eating the slightly fuzzy exterior, as well as give you some pointers for avoiding it if you prefer that option.
Can You Eat the Skin of a Peach?
When a fruit is fuzzy your first instinct may be to assume you’re not supposed to eat the skin, but it’s perfectly safe. Many peach lovers even think that the skin adds to the unique flavor and texture of a peach, increasing the enjoyment of the fruit.
Peach skin is edible and safe to eat, though you should absolutely wash it first. Peaches are very delicate fruit and they are a crop that is regularly treated with pesticides to protect them.
The peach fuzz can collect the chemicals, so you’ll want to be sure to carefully wash it before you bite in.
Even if you buy organic fruit, wash your peaches first to remove any bacteria, bugs, dust, and other debris that may have also collected in the fuzzy skin.
Is Peach Skin Good For You?
There is a difference between whether you can eat peach skin and whether you should eat peach skin. Is peach skin good for you?
Yes, peach skin is actually good for you. Most of the fiber from the fruit is found in the skin, which helps your body process the sugars from the flesh of the fruit more effectively, meaning you won’t get as much of an insulin spike and sugar high/crash.
Many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are also found in the skin of the fruit, so if you don’t eat it, you’re missing out on a good portion of the nutritional value.
Why Do Peaches Have Fuzz?
If you find the fuzz on a peach irritating, imagine how a tiny bug would react? The fuzz on a peach is a natural deterrent to many different insects and pests.
If they don’t want to walk on the fruit, they certainly aren’t as likely to make it their home or lay their eggs on/in it.
Peach fuzz is also useful in protecting the fruit against rot. The skin on a peach is very thin and not nearly as good of a barrier as the skin on an apple or a pear.
The fuzz helps to wick away moisture like your favorite workout tank. Since bacteria love moisture, letting the rain rush off the fruit helps prevent bacteria from colonizing on the fruit.
It isn’t a failsafe solution, however, and peaches generally have a short lifespan, especially compared to fruits like those apples and pears we previously mentioned.
Types of Peaches
Depending on where you live, the type of peach you can get locally may differ.
Peaches are generally divided into either clingstone peaches or freestone peaches, but they can also be divided in terms of color, white vs. yellow.
Clingstone vs Freestone Peaches
As the same suggests, clingstone peaches cling to the stone in the center of the fruit.
It can be much more difficult to extract the stone and the area of the peach that is directly in contact with the stone itself tends to be a bit more fibrous and woody.
Freestone peaches, on the other hand, give up their stones quite easily.
If you like to have beautiful slices, try to find freestone peaches.
If you’re going to bake with your peaches or puree them in any way, clingstones are just fine, but they can be a bit messier to prepare.
White Peaches vs Yellow Peaches
You may be thinking that peaches aren’t exactly white or yellow. They’re supposed to be peach-colored, or pink.
White peaches are generally lighter-skinned, with the pink being much more muted and pastel in color.
Yellow peaches, on the other hand, develop a much darker pink, even red, hue to their skin, but there is almost always some yellow involved.
Inside the peach is where the real difference can be noted.
Yellow peaches have a deeper yellow flesh, which tends to be more tart or acidic though, the riper the peach the sweeter it gets.
White peaches have much lighter flesh and the signature sweet peach flavor is developed earlier so that whether your peach is hard or soft with age, it will be sweet.
White peaches tend to be more delicate and bruise easier than yellow peaches. The flavor differences are subtle, but white peaches are more commonly eaten fresh and raw whereas yellow peaches are highly valued for cooking or baking.
The Best Peach Substitutes
If you just can’t stand the feel of peach fuzz and you don’t want to be bothered peeling the fruit before you eat it, what is the best substitute for a peach?
The best substitute for the fresh fruit is a nectarine.
Peaches and nectarines are genetically almost exactly the same fruit but they have one very important gene expression difference:
Peaches express a dominant gene that makes them fuzzy whereas nectarines express the recessive gene that gives them a smooth outer skin.
Because nectarines don’t have the protective fuzz, they are much more susceptible to damage. They’re generally harvested when they’re slightly smaller and denser but otherwise, they taste almost exactly the same as peaches.
You can substitute nectarines and peaches seamlessly in recipes and when eating them fresh, the only difference you’re likely to notice or care about is the fuzz factor.
How to Eat Peach Fruit
You can eat peaches raw, straight from the tree, but you will always want to wash them first to remove any bacteria, bugs, or pesticide residue.
Once it’s clean, you can eat a peach in much the same way you would eat an apple, though they’re a bit juicer, so having a napkin nearby is handy.
You may find it easier to first use a sharp knife to trace a circle lengthwise around your peach, starting at the top where the stem was. Turn each half away from each other and the peach should pop in half, much like an avocado.
Freestone peaches will give up their pits easily, allowing you to eat the peach by the half or slice further. Clingstone peaches may require a few more slices to be cut before it will give up the pit or you could simply eat around it.
Of course, you can also cook or bake with your peaches or can or freeze them for use in the off-season.
How to Wash a Peach
If you pick a peach fresh from a tree you’ll notice that it has substantially more fuzz than peaches that are sold in your average grocery store. This is because manufacturers realize the fuzz can be unappealing to some shoppers and they wash some of the fuzz off.
Peaches are delicate fruits, so you have to be careful when you wash them, though if you’re not highly sensitive to the fuzz, you can wash them just enough to rid most of the fur without damaging the fruit.
Always wash your peach just before eating it, not in advance. You want to avoid getting any moisture on your peach if it’s going to be stored, but you also want to make sure you wash off any potential bacteria or dirt that may be clinging to your fruit.
Fill a bowl with cool water and a small amount of white vinegar to the water. The vinegar has enough acetic acid in it to neutralize most bacteria.
Use your hands to gently rub all the skin of the peach with the vinegar water. Most of the fuzz will be removed but try not to scrub or press too hard into your fruit as you’ll tear the skin and bruise the flesh.
Once your peach is clean, rinse it under cool water to get the vinegar taste off your peach.
How to Peel a Peach
If you have peaches and you are determined to peel them, either for cooking and baking or for the enjoyment of eating them fresh without the bothersome fuzzing skin, it is surprisingly easy to peel them if you know the trick.
You can use a knife or a vegetable peeler, but you will lose a lot of juice and it will be a messy process.
There is a much easier way.
The easiest way to remove the peeling from peaches to very quickly heat them in boiling water, a process called blanching. You don’t want to cook them, but just heat them enough to loosen the skin.
How to blanch peaches to remove the skin:
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and have a large bowl with cold, ice water prepared next to your pot.
- Using a sharp knife, score your peaches in an X pattern starting at the stem and running your knife all the way around the peach in 2 perpendicular slices. Just barely slice through the skin, not the flesh at all.
- Add your peaches and leave them in the water for only 30 – 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, pull them out and place them immediately in the ice bath.
- After letting them cool for 15 – 30 seconds, remove them from the water and place them on a towel. Don’t let your peaches sit in the water for too long – hot or cold.
- The peeling should peel off in quarters where it was scored almost effortlessly.
For a visual version of these instructions, be sure to check out Kendra Lee’s video. She’ll show you exactly how to peel peaches using the blanching method!
Peach Nutrition Chart
|1 Medium Peach, raw, 150g|
|Calories in a peach: 58.5|
Frequently Asked Questions About Peaches
Peaches during pregnancy – safe?
This is a hot topic because in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine peaches are considered “hot” or “warm” foods and therefore should be avoided during pregnancy.
If you’re following an alternative medicine protocol for your pregnancy, the best advice would be to talk to your nutritional advisor about what is right for you.
For the majority of pregnant women, enjoying peaches while you are pregnant is a safe way to increase your iron and zinc supply, get a little boost of Vitamins A and C and even add a little protein to your day for very few calories.
As a fruit, peaches are natural sources of sugar so if you find yourself craving sweets, peaches are certainly healthier alternatives to candy bars.
Your digestive system can be more sensitive than usual when you’re pregnant, so it’s a good idea to eat peaches and all other fruit or new food groups in moderation to see how your system will adapt, which can change with every pregnancy.
Are canned peaches good for you?
As with most canned goods the answer to whether or not canned peaches are good for you is “it depends” Some peaches are canned in syrup, which dramatically increases the sugar content compared to peaches that are canned in water.
Some manufacturers also add various chemical ingredients that may or may not be healthy. There is also plenty of debate over the potential toxicity of aluminum cans.
It is possible to can fresh peaches and retains the nutrition, but the quality of your fruit will depend heavily on the canning process.
Can you eat apricot skin?
Yes, apricot skin is safe to eat. It does have a similar fuzzy texture to peaches so, if you find the mouthfeel unappealing or if it gets stuck in your teeth, you can peel it the same way you would peel a peach, as described above.
If you’re baking with apricots, you may also want to remove the skin as it will change the texture of your baked goods.
Can you eat nectarine skin?
Yes, the skin of a nectarine is completely safe and edible. It’s very thin skin and most people will enjoy the fruit with the skin in place.
The skin of a nectarine does have a slightly more bitter flavor than the flesh of the fruit and it has a slight texture to it, so you can peel the skin off before eating your fruit.
It comes off easiest if your fruit is room temperature or sun-warmed, rather than cold from your fridge.
Can dogs eat peach?
Yes, peaches are safe for dogs to eat in general but, as with most food that you feed your furry family member, you want to take a few precautions. First, and most obviously, remove the pit.
Dogs can not only choke on it but it can also cause damage going down and inside their stomachs if they eat a pit so don’t let them get a hold of one.
Next, cut the peach into appropriately sized bites for your dog. Dogs can get enthusiastic and you don’t want them choking. Finally, don’t feed them too much at once.
Anything new to your dog’s diet may affect his or her digestive system uniquely, so it’s best to start with small amounts to avoid the consequences of an upset stomach.