Peaches and nectarines are very similar fruits, both in season mid to late summer. They are classed as stone fruits and both have a rich flavour and a heavy scent. So can the difference between them really be as simple as that a peach has a fuzzy skin and a nectarine does not?
Yes. The difference between peach and a nectarine is actually very small. It was noted by early botanists that nectarine sometimes grew on peach trees and peaches sometimes grew on nectarine trees. This was the result of cross pollution between trees.
It is down to the presence of one recessive gene, the nectarine 'g' gene, that determines if the skin will be fuzzy or not. If both parent trees possess this gene then the fruit will always be a nectarine. If no 'g' gene is present or only one parent has this gene then a peach will be the resulting fruit. In all other ways a peach and a nectarine are identical. The variety of fruit has a stronger bearing on differences in taste and texture then whether the fruit is a peach or nectarine.
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