The Difference Between Peaches And Apricots

If you're not paying close attention when you go to the grocery store, you may accidentally bring home apricots instead of peaches. And who could blame you? Both of these fruits are at their peak in the summer, and both have an orange exterior and a pit in the center. However, if you make this mistake, go back to your local retailer and get the right fruit for your peach cobbler. Despite the visual similarities, apricots and peaches are more cousins than sisters — a pretty common phenomenon in the fruit world.

For example, while plantains and bananas are part of the same family, the former are starchier and contain less sugar than the fruit you use in your banana bread. Although oranges are easily confused for tangerines, tangerines aren't as watery and taste much sweeter. Like these other pairs of produce, peaches and apricots aren't interchangeable — in fact, they're not even members of the same species.

Dry and tart versus sweet and juicy

Peaches and apricots are both members of the Rosaceae family, but that's where the important similarities end. As Healthline explains, peaches are members of the Prunus persica species, while the most common type of apricot belongs to Prunus armeniaca. As a result, the two fruits differ in size, texture, and flavor.

A small peach is about four times bigger than an apricot, and has a fuzzier exterior. Because of their large size and high water content, peaches are juicy and sweet tasting. Meanwhile, apricots are smaller, sturdier, contain less moisture, and have a tarter flavor. If you're a chef, the different water levels are particularly important. According to Southern Living, because peaches are juicer than apricots, you generally shouldn't try swapping one for the other. However, if you have no other option, you can make the makeshift substitution work. Just remember to use twice as many apricots as peaches, and to add some extra water and sugar to your dish.

The best ways to use apricots and peaches

So, given those differences, what recipes are these two fruits uniquely suited for? Well, peaches are typically used in moister baked goods like cobblers, pies, and dump cakes — desserts that consist of fruit or pie filling topped with cake mix. By contrast, apricots are better suited for solid, tart treats like scones. According to Southern Living, apricots are also a staple in Morocco tagine, a stew with a sugary and savory taste, and work great alongside Southern-style brisket, ham, or chicken.

However, both apricots and peaches frequently appear in cakes and tarts. Apricots will give these desserts a tarter taste and a firmer texture, while peaches will make them sweeter and give them a squishier mouthfeel. Further, while the two fruits have different textures and flavor profiles, they're often combined in crumbles and cobblers, balancing out each other's water content and giving these classic treats a complex flavor.