How do you tell if the peaches you are buying are freestone? Find out in this post all about the peaches with the easy to remove pits.
Clingstone versus freestone - the great peach debate. Which is better?
In my experience working in produce I can tell you that most people clamor for the freestone peach. They are just easier to slice up as you can pop the pit right out. That is especially desired when someone is making a pie or jam and has to cut up a lot of peaches.
Others think that the clingstone are better because the fruit is more firm and less likely to be mealy. That can be a problem with freestone peaches at times but not always.
Some orchards only grow freestone peaches. In Michigan, the Red Haven peach is so popular, partly because it's the first genuine freestone peach to ripen each year.
How do you know if you are getting a freestone peach?
❓ How to Tell
Unfortunately looks can't help you. Both types look the same whether free or cling. So besides just cutting one open, the next best bet is to look at the calendar.
Since peach varieties generally ripen from clingstone varieties to freestone as we move through the calendar, you can get a sense of when you can buy freestone peaches. Although this isn't a set in stone rule. For example, there are varieties of peaches called Babygold Cling peaches that ripen up when freestone are also available.
The only way to know for sure you are getting a freestone peach is to know the exact variety you are getting. This is hard to find out in the grocery store but if you buy at a farmers market or at an orchard they should be able to give you that info.
Rest assure that the earliest peaches to the market and grocery store are going to be clingstone.
To get a better understanding of when peach season begins around the country, check out my post on When Does Peach Season Begin (and End)?.
📅 When Are They Available?
Whether the peaches are labeled as "California", "Southern", "Eastern", or wherever their origin is you will find some freestone.
For a handy reference, I am providing you with a calendar below of when freestone varieties are ready from select states. So if you are in the store check to see where the peach is from and then check your calendar and you can get an idea of whether or not those peaches are possibly freestone.
These are only approximate dates, it depends on the year and the area of the state. The earliest you will find a freestone peach in the store is mid June.
|Idaho||mid to late August|
|New Jersey||late July|
|South Carolina||late June|
🛒 Where to Buy
The best places to buy a freestone peach is from the farmer's market or directly at an orchard when they are in season in your area. Every orchard that I have come across that grows peaches will grow some freestone varieties.
At a chain grocery store you are just not going to be able to tell.
Here is a list of varieties that are freestone peaches:
- Red Haven
- Canadian Harmony
- Red Globe
- Autumn Star
- All Star
- Coral Star
- John Boy
- Rio Oso Gem
- Sweet Dream
➕ More Peach Posts
Here are some other peachy posts on our blog.