A luscious, juicy peach is one of summer's ultimate pleasures, but which is better: white or yellow? Opinions are divided in our household. Some prefer yellow peaches, citing their "classic peachy flavor," while others praise the sweetness of white peaches. Do you have a preference?From the outside, yellow and white peaches are distinguished by their skin color – deep yellow with a red or pink blush for the former versus pale and pink for the latter. Inside, the golden flesh of the yellow peach is more acidic, with a tartness that mellows as the peach ripens and softens. White-fleshed peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft.
White peaches also more delicate and easily bruised, which kept them from being sold in most stores until the 1980s, when hardier varieties were developed. According to Russ Parsons in How to Pick a Peach, older varieties of white peaches (and nectarines) had a bit of tang to balance the sugar, but the ones sold today are more uniformly sweet. You can still find some of the older varieties at farmers' markets.
As for cooking, the two types are interchangeable according to preference. We generally think the delicate, floral sweetness of white peaches is excellent for eating out of hand or grilling, but like the more intense flavor of yellow peaches for baking.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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