Cling stone 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. I know a farm that doesn’t grow anything that isn’t a free stone peach. It is the reason why here in Michigan, the Red Haven peach is so popular, partly because it’s the first genuine freestone peach to ripen each year.
So now the question remains how do you know if you are getting a freestone peach vs. a cling stone peach? 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 ripen from cling stone varieties to freestone as we move through the calendar, you can get a sense of when you can buy freestone peaches. Rest assure that the earliest peaches to the market and grocery store are going to be cling stone. 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)?. 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 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 freestone. These are only approximate dates, it depends on the year and the area of the state. I will add more information as I gather it. The earliest you will find a freestone peach in the store is mid June.
|State||Freestone Start Date|
|South Carolina||late June|
|Idaho||mid to late August|