Cling peaches are peaches with stones which tend to cling to the flesh
inside of the peach, making it difficult to remove the pit of the peach
without damaging the flesh. Some examples of cling peach cultivars
include: Bowen, Klampt, Everts, Starn, Loadel, Ross, Sullivan, Carson,
and Halford. You may find cling peaches at your local market or farmers'
market in the summer, when peaches are in season, and they also appear
in canned form in many markets year round. In our area of the country,
cling peaches are the only ones available in July, with the freestones
becoming available around the first of August.
These peaches are often used for canning, because the slight distortion
of the fruit made by the removal of the pit won't be noticed. Clingstone
peaches, as they are also called, may be used in jams and preserves as
well. It is less common to see people eating cling peaches out of hand,
because the stubbornly clinging flesh can make them difficult to eat,
and as a result, not all markets carry them. You are most likely to find
cling peaches in a large market which carries a wide range of fruit
Cling peaches tend to be less juicy than their freestone relatives,
peaches with pits that readily come out when the peach is sliced in
half. It is also possible to find a middle ground known as a
semi-freestone peach, which combines traits of both varieties. The
flavor of cling peaches is quite varied, with some varieties tasting a
bit flat, while others have a rich, concentrated peach flavor which can
be quite enjoyable.
When working with cling peaches, you may develop a few tricks for
getting the pit out with a minimum of fuss. It is important to remember
that these peaches can bruise easily, and this will have a negative
impact on the flavor and quality of the peach. The slightly lower
moisture content in cling peaches will also help them keep their shape
when canned whole or in slices, with juicier peaches tending to melt as
they are processed.
In addition to being used in canning and preserves, cling peaches can
also be used in peach pies. Because they are less juicy, the result will
be a less runny peach pie, which can be a pleasant benefit for cooks who
struggle with watery peach pies. These peaches can also be used just
like freestone peaches in fruit salad, tarts, and other dishes.