What’s the Distinction Between Freestone and Clingstone Peaches?

Is there something sweeter than a superbly ripe, juicy peach picked straight off the tree? I don’t learn about you, however when the peaches are ripe, I simply can’t get sufficient of them. That’s, if I can beat the squirrels to the chase. 

Peaches are such a scrumptious and versatile fruit. From cobblers to chutneys and every part in between, peaches make every part style higher. On high of being among the many tastiest fruits, they’re additionally simple, unfussy timber to develop. As soon as mature, they’re drought tolerant, and within the spring and in bloom, they’re positively breathtaking.

In case you’re serious about including peach timber to your backyard, you might be wanting into which kind is finest in your wants. There are a selection of timber which have totally different wants, akin to chill hours. Some peaches are nice for consuming proper off the tree, whereas others are nicely fitted to baking. 

If you select a peach selection, an essential distinction to make is whether or not it’s a freestone or a clingstone selection. For me, this makes a giant distinction in how I exploit a peach. So, what’s a peach stone, and what’s the distinction between freestone and clingstone? I’m glad you requested! The reply is surprisingly easy. 

The Quick Reply

The phrase stone in peach varieties refers back to the seed or pit within the fruit. A freestone peach is one the place the seed comes away from the flesh simply. A clingstone, likewise, has a seed that adheres or is extra securely hooked up to the flesh of the fruit.

‘Contender’ Peach Tree

The Prunus persica 'Contender' is characterized by glossy, lance-shaped leaves and produces medium-sized, round, fuzzless fruits with a vibrant red blush over a yellow background.

‘Contender’ peach timber:

  • are freestone, making them simple to eat or put together for jams and canning
  • are self-pollinating
  • produce massive crops each summer time
  • are cold-hardy to zone 5



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The Lengthy Reply

As any peach-lover is aware of, with regards to pits, not all peaches are the identical. Some peaches are candy, some are milder, some are very juicy, whereas others could also be much less so. All of them have their makes use of, and they’re all scrumptious when ripe. So what does it imply for a peach to be clingstone or freestone, and what does that imply when it comes to the fruit’s use? Let’s dig in.


A close-up of a fresh, halved peach that displays a rounded silhouette, featuring a downy, pinkish-orange skin, tender, honey-colored flesh, and a prominent, smooth stone at its core.
Benefit from the comfort and flexibility of freestone peaches in cooking.

After we speak about stones, we’re speaking concerning the seed, also referred to as the pit of the peach. A freestone peach is precisely what it appears like. A peach the place the flesh simply appears to fall off the pit. These varieties are typically bigger and firmer, with a milder taste. They’re much less juicy than their clingstone counterparts, however they’re nonetheless very tasty. 

The advantage of freestone peaches is fairly clear. They’re simpler to work with as a result of you may slice them across the center and pull them aside cleanly. There isn’t any waste, so many individuals choose to cook dinner with them. As a result of they’ve a decrease sugar content material, many of us choose them when making desserts. They will steadiness out different candy flavors properly. However that could be a matter of non-public choice. 

Freestone peaches have firmer flesh that retain their form properly after they’re cooked. That may be a bonus for pies and cobblers. They’re additionally good for canning for a similar motive. You get good, clear slices that retain their form and look fairly within the jar and on the plate.

In terms of consuming freestone peaches uncooked, there are execs and cons. As I discussed, freestone peaches are likely to have a milder taste and aren’t fairly as juicy as their clingstone cousins. They’re, nevertheless, simpler to eat. You get to eat each final little bit of candy peach flesh with none juice dribbling down your chin. 


The Prunus persica 'Contender' is characterized by glossy, lance-shaped leaves and produces medium-sized, round, fuzzless fruits with a vibrant red blush over a yellow background.
Savor the succulent sweetness of this vibrant freestone peach selection.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Contender’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 12’-15’
  • Zones: 4-9
  • Chill Hours: 1050

‘Contender’ is a scrumptious freestone peach with massive, candy, agency, yellow flesh. Let this peach ripen all the best way for the juiciest fruit. In spring, it places on a spectacular floral show, with a bounty of brilliant pink blossoms that pollinators will flock to. It has wonderful illness resistance and chilly hardiness. This tree has a bonus within the fall as its leaves change to a deep gold for additional colour within the backyard. 


The Prunus persica 'Elberta' showcases broad, glossy green leaves and yields large, yellow-skinned, red-blushed fruits renowned for their juicy, sweet flesh.
Enjoyment of ‘Elberta’, prized for its luscious, versatile fruits.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Elberta’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 10-14’
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 850

‘Elberta’ is an early producer recognized for its stunning fruit. These peaches aren’t simply fairly. Their yellow flesh is juicy and nice for consuming proper off the tree. In addition they work nicely within the kitchen as they maintain up nicely to cooking. This selection is world-renowned for its wonderful illness resistance. It’s additionally a quick grower that may fruit in its first 12 months!

August Satisfaction

Prunus persica ‘August Pride’ features narrow, glossy green leaves and produces medium to large-sized, yellow-skinned fruits with a red blush.
Savor a pleasant peach excellent for hotter climates.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘August Satisfaction’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 12’
  • Zones: 8-10
  • Chill Hours: 300

‘August Satisfaction’ is the proper peach for heat local weather growers. It solely wants 300 chill hours, so it grows nicely all the best way south to Zone 10. Most contemplate this tree to be semi-dwarf, so it gained’t take up an excessive amount of house within the backyard.

The fruits have a beautiful aroma and tackle a ravishing blush when ripe. By way of spring colour, it is a stunner. It produces loads of aromatic pink blooms with placing purple anthers.


Ripe peaches on the table, among which there is half a peach, unveiling a spherical contour, adorned with a velvety, peach-hued skin, juicy, creamy white flesh, and a sizable, textured pit nestled at its center.
Indulge within the unparalleled sweetness of clingstone peaches, excellent for preserving.

You’ve most likely guessed what clingstone peaches are like. These are peaches with very candy and juicy flesh that adheres to the pit. If you’re seeking to make peach preserves or jam, that is completely the kind of peach to decide on. Their smooth flesh cooks to a splendidly creamy and smooth texture, and they’re oh-so-sweet! 

In terms of consuming them uncooked, there merely is not any better-tasting fruit. Delicate, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth flesh is value each dribble of juice. Sure, they are often troublesome to slice, however you gained’t get these beautiful, even crescent-shaped slices with clingstones. In addition they are likely to go mushy when cooked, so a peach cobbler created from these gained’t have a lot texture. 

Clingstone peaches are excellent for making peach ice cream. They’re so candy which you can omit the sugar altogether. In addition they work splendidly in smoothies or any dish the place you need the flavour of peach however don’t look after strong chunks of fruit. Peach daiquiris, anybody? Yum!

Florida King

Prunus persica ‘Florida King’ displays lance-shaped, glossy green leaves and bears medium to large-sized, round fruits with a velvety deep pinkish skin.
Indulge within the excellent peach for Southern baking fans.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Florida King’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 12’-15’
  • Zones: 8-10
  • Chill Hours: 450

For southern gardeners who additionally like to bake, ‘Florida King’ is a tremendous peach to strive. With massive fruit that has agency, clean flesh, this peach is nice for baking, preserving, and consuming off the department. This one will produce plenty of peaches in late spring to early summer time. Its low variety of chill hours makes it excellent for hotter climates. Give this tree room to unfold out as a result of it does!


Prunus persica ‘Dixon’ showcases dark green, lance-shaped leaves and yields large, round fruits with yellow skin covered in a red blush.
Savor heirloom sweetness, excellent for traditional do-it-yourself pies.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Dixon’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 12’-16’
  • Zones: 6-9
  • Chill Hours: 800

In terms of taste, ‘Dixon’ is tough to beat. This clingstone selection matures early and has a number of the sweetest fruit you will discover. That is an heirloom, so it’s been trusted and true for generations. Whereas the flesh of this peach may be very tender and flavorful, it’s barely much less juicy, which makes it excellent for pies. You’ll get a pleasant texture each time you make cobbler with this peach. And did I point out the flavour? Yum!


Prunus persica ‘Halford’ presents elongated, dark green leaves and produces large-sized, round fruits with a yellow-orange skin and red blush.
Go for a best choice for canning with dependable ‘Halford.’
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Halford’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 25’
  • Zones: 6-9
  • Chill Hours: 500-600

‘Halford’ has a powerful status as a canning peach. It’s a big tree that produces plenty of agency and attractive fruit. That is the main selection utilized in industrial canning. You may depend on the fruit to be dependably prime quality. The agency flesh holds up nicely and gained’t collapse within the jar. In case you like canning, it is a nice peach. 


Once halved, the peach exhibits a plump, oval shape, boasting a velvety, blush-toned skin, succulent, yellow-orange flesh, and a central, almond-shaped pit ensconced within.
Take pleasure in the very best of each worlds with semi-clingstone peaches.

There’s a third kind of peach, which blends some traits of each clingstone and freestone. Semi-clingstone peaches are hybrid varieties which are cultivated to own traits of each sorts. They’re candy and juicy, like a clingstone peach. Nonetheless, the pit is less complicated to take away, much like a freestone, with perhaps only a bit extra cling. 

Semi-clingstone peaches are good for any function and recipe. They’re nice for baking, canning, cooking, making preserves, and consuming uncooked. They’re good and juicy, so I can’t promise there gained’t be any juicy mess. However they’re a bit simpler to snack on as a result of the flesh comes away with out a battle. 

Garnet Magnificence

Prunus persica ‘Garnet Beauty’ exhibits glossy, lance-shaped leaves and yields medium-sized, round fruits with an orange skin and deep red blush.
Expertise the versatile magnificence and taste of golden-red peaches.
Botanical Identify: Prunus persica ‘Garnet Magnificence’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 8’-15’
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 850

You may inform by the identify that this tree produces attractive fruit. Golden peaches ripen to a wealthy, deep purple in mid-summer. As a semi-cling, this peach does all of it. You may eat it proper off the tree, bake it right into a pie, can it, or make candy and scrumptious preserves with this fruit. It’s a compact tree that wants a considerable variety of chill hours, so south of Zone 9, this isn’t your best option.

Purple Haven

Close-up of a box of ripe Prunus Persica ‘Red Haven’ peaches that showcase medium-sized, round fruits with bright red skin.
Indecisive but ample, yielding creamy, candy, fuzz-free treasures.
Botanical Identify: Prunus Persica ‘Purple Haven’
  • Solar Wants: Full solar
  • Top: 12’-15’
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Chill Hours: 800

‘Purple Haven’ can’t determine if it’s a freestone or clingstone, so we place it within the semi-cling class. This reasonably sized tree produces tons of medium-sized, yellow-fleshed peaches. The fruit may be very candy, creamy, and virtually fuzz-free. The branches have a spreading behavior, which makes it simple to coach this tree and harvest the bushels of fruit it produces. 

Different Elements to Take into account

There are a few different components that ought to affect your selection of peach timber. Earlier than I wrap up, I’d like to share these items that will help you make the very best determination when deciding on a tree or two. 

Flesh Coloration

A close-up of a sliced peach reveals creamy white flesh with a subtly reddish center where the pit was once nestled, showcasing the fruit's succulent texture.
Delight within the sweetness of recent, smooth white peaches.

Peach flesh is available in two colours: yellow and white. If you consider biting right into a candy, juicy peach, you’re more than likely pondering of a yellow fruit. Yellow peaches are candy but in addition barely acidic. This provides them a tangy, balanced taste. When a yellow peach is ripe, you’ll know by the sniff check. A ripe yellow peach may have a powerful, candy, peachy aroma. 

White peaches, which principally happen in Asian species, are related however have some distinctive traits. White peaches are much less acidic than yellow ones, so the flavour is milder, extra candy, and fewer tangy. They have a tendency to have softer flesh which doesn’t lend nicely to cooking. White peaches are finest eaten recent. 

Chill Hours

In the winter garden, leafless Peach trees stand against the backdrop of a vibrant green lawn, their bare branches creating intricate silhouettes against the clear sky.
Deciding on the proper peach tree hinges on chill hour concord.

Lastly, the query of chill hours is certainly one of utmost significance when selecting a peach tree. This issue varies extensively and can decide which tree is suitable along with your specific local weather. The quantity of chilly climate {that a} peach tree wants to supply fruit is known as chill hours. These are hours when the temperature is between 32-45°F (0-7°C). 

Right here in North Florida, we get about 500-700 chill hours, so any tree that wants greater than that could be a no-go. Journey north a bit to North Carolina, and also you get a minimal of 750 chill hours, with a mean nearer to 900. The farther north you go, the extra chill hours.

Planting a tree with the suitable variety of chill hours is essential in heat climates in addition to chilly ones. A tree gained’t bear fruit if it doesn’t get sufficient chill hours. The difficulty with cooler climates is totally different. A tree with fewer chill hours will flower earlier within the season. In colder climates, an early blooming tree can fall prey to frost, and there once more, no flowers, no fruit. 

Remaining Ideas

Any method you slice them, peaches are scrumptious. The selection between cling or freestone comes all the way down to what you propose to do along with your peaches. Canned, puréed, or tossed in a pie, peaches are a summertime staple. Personally, I feel there’s no higher solution to eat a peach than straight off the tree, nonetheless heat from the summer time sunshine. 

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