Cling vs. Non-Cling Peaches

I remember a thread in GW that discussed the difference in uses of Cling vs. Non-Cling peaches.

Can’t find it now.

Can we repeat?


For fresh I’ll eat either. Taste is more important to me. I do prefer free in all stone fruit. It’s just easier to eat.

Flavor is more important for me as well. Ease of eating is secondary.

I do understand the different consistency required for canning.

Is it Cling or Freestone for canning?


I think it depends on who you ask.
I know when I was a kid (loved canned peaches then) the Del-Monte ones I always had said they were cling on the can.

All the cling peaches I have seen were very firm compared to non-cling. So there must be some genetic link. That is the main commonality I have noticed besides the clingstone. Cling are better for canning as the less firm peaches can break apart when canned. These days there are very firm freestones which would surely can well, so there is not a need for canning cling peaches like there used to be.

Since in the US an eating peach must be freestone I have few clings, but I do like the few clings I have grown: Heath Cling, Dixing Cling, etc.


DWN, Dave Wilson Nursery, and Zaigers seem to release a lot of cling or semi cling nectarines. I think that’s one way to increase quality. Select for as few things other than eating quality as possible. They don’t select much for disease resistance or hardiness either. Great if you don’t need those traits not so much if you do.

There are really a couple different types of cling peaches. Most early peaches are cling (or semi-cling, or semi-free). These are somewhat different than what is considered a California cling, which is considered a true canning peach.

California cling peaches are used in the peach canning industry for a couple reasons. First those type of peaches are firmer. They are non-melting peaches (like some of the flat peaches (i.e. TangOs). This produces a much better product than cling (i.e. early) peaches most people grow here. The early cling peaches we grow here are all melting flesh peaches. Great for fresh eating, not so great for canning.

Freestone peaches are also in this category. They are great for fresh eating, but break down pretty badly, when subjected to the heat of canning (or the cold of freezing, for people who freeze peaches). They get mushy during the canning process. Everyone likes free stones for home canning, but that’s only because they are easy and fast to work up, not because they produce a superior canning product.

The second advantage of California cling peaches (for canning) is that they have no red in the flesh (not even near the pit). This is also different than the early cling peaches most people grow, which do have some red in the flesh. Red in the flesh is a disadvantage for canning because it will turn brown (oxidize) faster in the can. One exception to this is Madison, which has some red in the flesh, but supposedly doesn’t oxidize any faster. Madison is a freestone peach, popular with home canners.

Another advantage of California clings (for canning plants, that is) is that there are less shattered pits on the canning line. Automated machines are able to separate the cling peaches from the stone without any problem, but would shatter more pits of other types of peaches.

I planted a couple California clings just to see if any of my canning customers wanted to try a little better quality canning peach. As I recall, I planted Vinegold and Babygold #5. Many California cling peaches are ill suited for the Midwest, but these varieties seemed to be the best suited from what I read.

I’ve read California cling peaches are also very tasty (and sweet) for fresh eating, just firmer and smaller.

I’m guessing the cling varieties Scott mentioned above were once California cling type peaches (i.e. processing type peaches).

In the RosBREED marker dataset, there are some results generally consistent with others’ experience. RosBREED link Open the Table of functional genotypes

So Olpea…how were those California clings you planted…or haven’t they fruited yet?

I’m curious too…what is the fresh eating quality of a cling that is also suitable or even prime for canning? Can they also be good fresh eating peahes? I totally get what you and Scott are saying about clings being denser and not “melting”. The canned peaches I remember were firm and dense, yet soft (if that makes sense) and flavorful. I loved them as a kid and for some reason unknown to me, deviated at some point.

Interesting stuff, Olpea. I planted my first CA cling last season and you make me excited about their potential as cooking peaches and also for freezing. Firmer is generally better in both those departments. I froze some of my Tango crop last year and they are holding their texture well but they are bland compared to frozen nectarines, which also are excellent at holding texture as frozen fruit.

I’m surprised frozen nectarines aren’t a popular commercial product. They can be frozen when quite ripe and still have good texture and phenomenal flavor. Almost as good as fresh.


My two clings haven’t fruited yet. I’m hopeful Vinegold will work, since it was developed in Ontario (which isn’t too different a climate than here). I made some extra copies of Vinegold and plan on planting them at the orchard this spring (It’s not under patent protection.)


I wonder if nects aren’t canned is because of customer recognition. A commercial grower in my area doesn’t like to grow them, partly for grower difficulties, but partly because it’s difficult to get people to try them. People recognize peaches and are familiar with them, but (according to him) they don’t know what to do with a nectarine. Sad, isn’t it?

Olpea, sad that the farmer doesn’t understand marketing. Not everyone enjoys a nectarines higher acidity (along with extra sugar) but it will always thrill a large percentage of human palates, I assume even the ones located in Kansas. Most folks that love nectarines discovered them after peaches.

Sliced free samples would be enough to create a market for nectarines anywhere there’s a market for peaches, I bet. I meet a lot of people that only eat nectarines because they can’t stand peach fuzz. I figure I could turn them around by having them sample one of the new, almost fuzzless peach varieties. Changing folks minds in this manner is a part of my business.

Maybe CA growers have such a wide market for fresh nectarines there is no incentive to create a market for flash frozen ones.

I can’t stand the fuzz either, so I just peel them. I thought everybody done that? In fact, anymore I peel everything except for apples, and I sometimes peel them as well.

I remember when I was just little my grandmother telling me “that’s where all the vitamins are”. She may have been right, she lived to 99, 21 days short of 100.

With apples it is where most of the flavenoids are- nutrients tend to concentrate there as well. Glad I’ve always been too lazy to peel since I was little. Some folks have a lighter trigger on their gag reflex than others. Mine is hard to pull.

Well, that 'splains it…I got a hair trigger. Dentists and doctors hate me.

You don’t need to peel fuzzy peaches. Spin/rub them on a wash cloth and soon they are like a nectarine. Don’t do it on your shirt or you’ll soon need to change the shirt. First hand experience here!!!

[quote=“alan, post:12, topic:228”]
“sad that the farmer doesn’t understand marketing…Changing folks minds in this manner is a part of my business”[/quote]


I understand what you’re saying and an aggressive marketer probably could change minds, but it’s probably not worth it here. What I mean is that the farmer I’m referring to sells at larger farmer’s markets which don’t allow vendors to offer samples, unless they have all kinds of permits, wash stations, etc. There is already a brisk demand at those markets for peaches anyway, so there is little incentive to jump through all the hoops in order to give away free samples.

Back home at his orchard, he sells a lot of peaches at his farm stand, but customers already know what they want by the time they drive out, so there’s probably not much reason to try to push them into a product which is harder to grow.

I don’t think this is universal situation across the U.S. Rutgers claims nects bring a premium in NJ. I suppose if enough people in the Midwest could be persuaded to try nects, they might bring a premium here too. But when I’ve paid attention to the prices of nects in the store around here, they are the same price as peaches.

I’ve planted several different nect varieties (spaced throughout the growing season) but only about 3% of the planting, just in case some customers ask for them, and also because I can’t help trying a variety which gets glowing endorsements from experienced people on this forum.

I’m right with you Apple. I don’t eat the peel on anything (I don’t care how good it is for you.) When I was a kid tomatoes made me gag (seriously). My mama had me try them with sugar or salt but I could hardly make them go down without gagging. After I was married, my wife had me try them peeled with a little salt and I liked them. Now we eat them peeled by the bowlful at supper. I learned later that my grandfather always peeled his tomatoes, so I wonder if it’s a genetic thing.

Like a lot of personality traits, there is certainly a good chance this one came with the DNA. My oldest brother is the squeamish type- a piece of hair on his plate makes him gag. When he eats he always leaves some on his plate- in his mind that becomes garbage and also makes him gag just a few moments after it stops being “food”.

Be thankful you didn’t inherit the DNA for that kind of squeamishness.

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…then there are people like me who eat the CORE of the apple. Dad did too, but I think I was just imitating him–not DNA.

I used to hunt and clean my own game. i still fish all the time. I worked in a hospital. I’m not squeamish in any respect. Peach fuzz doesn’t make me gag, it just feels strange, it’s the texture. I peel mine. Nects are very popular here too. Probably more than peaches. I never peel tomatoes except for sauce. And I even eat orange peels, usually just a couple bits as it is acidic, if I eat too much my lips tingle. Happens too when i eat a lot of pineapple. Often on vacation in the Caribbean I eat it daily till I get burns. I always eat the skin on baked potatoes. I used to feed my dog apple cores, but then read the seeds have a lot of cyanide, so quit doing it.