A doughnut peach isn’t much to look at, at least compared to a beautifully shaped, traditional peach. A doughnut peach is small, flat and kind of squashed, almost like it got stuck under the wheels of a grocery buggy.
But once you try one, you’ll understand why your mother always told you to never judge a book by its cover. Doughnut peaches are really delicious – sweeter and often juicier than most regular, full-sized peaches, with a slightly different flavor that some people think tastes like almonds.
Doughnut peaches – which are also called saucer peaches, Saturn peaches and UFO peaches by some growers – are not some weird, recently developed hybrid. They’re an actual peach variety that has been grown for centuries in China, and was first planted in the United States more than 100 years ago. It’s only been a few years, however, that doughnut peaches were rediscovered by U.S. growers, and have been widely available in supermarkets here.
They’re getting more popular fast, though, and as a peach fan, I understand why. Because they’re small and fit nicely in the palm of your hand, they’re easier, and less messy, to eat than a regular peach. (Kids especially seem to like them, because of their cute, petite size. And the name. Who doesn’t want to eat something called “donut”?)
Doughnut peaches are also freestone, meaning the small pit doesn’t cling to the flesh of the peach. Again, that makes it easier, and less messy, to eat. The skin has just a thin layer of fuzz, so if you’re one of those who don’t like the fuzzy skin of regular peaches, you may happily eat this one without peeling it.
Finally, doughnut peaches also have a slightly later growing season than many other varieties. They’re at peak freshness now and into the fall.