What are Cling Peaches?
Cling peaches are peaches with stones which tend to cling to the flesh inside of the peach, making it difficult to remove the pit of the peach without damaging the flesh. Some examples of clingstone cultivars include: Bowen, Klampt, Everts, Starn, Loadel, Ross, Sullivan, Carson, and Halford.
These peaches are often used for canning, because the slight distortion of the fruit made by the removal of the pit won't be noticed. Clingstone peaches, as they are also called, may be used in jams and preserves as well. It is less common to see people eating cling peaches out of hand, because the stubbornly clinging flesh can make them difficult to eat, and as a result, not all markets carry them.
Cling peaches tend to be less juicy than their freestone relatives, peaches with pits that readily come out when the peach is sliced in half. It is also possible to find a middle ground known as a semi-freestone peach, which combines traits of both varieties. The flavor of these peaches is quite varied, with some varieties tasting a bit flat, while others have a rich, concentrated peach flavor which can be quite enjoyable.
When working with cling peaches, you may develop a few tricks for getting the pit out with a minimum of fuss. It is important to remember that these peaches can bruise easily, and this will have a negative impact on the flavor and quality of the peach. The slightly lower moisture content in the peaches will also help them keep their shape when canned whole or in slices, with juicier peaches tending to melt as they are processed.
In addition to being used in canning and preserves, cling peaches can also be used in peach pies. Because they are less juicy, the result will be a less runny peach pie, which can be a pleasant benefit for cooks who struggle with watery peach pies. These peaches can also be used just like freestone peaches in fruit salad, tarts, and other dishes. If you're in the mood to grow cling peaches, your local garden store can order clingstone saplings for you.
@Ocelot60-- If you live in a zone that's suitable for growing peaches, why would you want to grow cling peaches? Most people want to avoid these. They don't taste as good, they're not juicy and they're difficult to use.
If I was up to the task of growing peaches, I'd definitely want to grow Redhaven or Loring. Both are freestone peaches. They're also sweet, soft and grow to a nice size. You can eat these fresh, or freeze or can them. Redhaven is usually what most of us buy from the grocery store. They're the best peaches as far as I'm concerned.
My mom makes really great peach chutney with cling peaches. She actually doesn't bother with the stones until after she's cooked them. As they boil and simmer for a long time, the peaches fall apart which makes it very easy to get the stones out before canning.
So if anyone is stuck with cling peaches and doesn't know what to do with them, I highly recommend making chutney with them. Those who don't like chutney can also make peach puree to freeze and use later in desserts, or jam for breakfast. But it's a good idea to use sweet and flavorful cling peaches for any of these purposes. Bland cling peaches will also make bland purees and jams which is not desirable.
We buy cling peaches all the time. They are more difficult to eat but I can usually get around that by cutting around the stone. I think that these variety of peaches are this way because they are much firmer than other types of peaches. So they are difficult to bite into as well. But they can be eaten when cut and sliced. They also work just fine in smoothies. I've used them that way before. Of course, the other popular option like the article described is canning them.
@ocelot60- The problem with growing peach trees is that they are very prone to developing different tree diseases. When you have peach trees, you have to make sure that you are aware of potential problems, like dead limbs and browning leaves. Noticing these issues is the key to treating them early so the trees don't die.
Peach trees also don't produce much fruit every year. When it comes to young trees, you may have to prune the blossoms for a few years to get a good crop of peaches.
Is it easy to grow cling peaches? I do a lot of home canning and preserving, and I also like to grow my own fruits and vegetables. I've been considering adding cling peach trees to my garden, but I am not very familiar with caring for them.
@Bgirl - I agree! I'd much rather eat a freestone peach than "cling-free peach". I like "clingstone peaches" better than "cling peaches", too.
I was wondering halfway through what non-cling peaches are called! I think "freestone" is a much better name than anything I would have come up with.
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