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.