The rise of the donut peach

In 1993, Florence Fabricant reported on a new type of peach that was “juicy and luscious” but looked rather odd. It was much more squat than the typical golden red orb that everyone loved. First called a Saturn peach, it became known as the “donut peach”, and now it’s taking the US by storm

poached peaches

Donut peaches are descendants of wild pan tao (aka peento) peaches from China, which were introduced to the US nearly 150 years ago. It took a hundred years before breeders hybridized the plant to be more robust, and thirty-odd years after that until they were widely grown. One company owned the rights to the hybridized plant, and it was only after the rights expired in the early 2000s that other companies were able to grow their own. 

Now that there more growers, as well as other varieties of these ‘flat’ peaches, you can find them in farmers’ markets and supermarkets all over the US. I am not sure if you can find them outside of the US – please report if you know of any in other countries. 

The appeal of the donut peach, besides its novelty appearance, is that the fruit is very sweet and the skins are less fuzzy than traditional peaches. Some people think the fruit is over-hyped and that the traditional, more spherical fruits have better flavor. You can use them in any recipe that you would use a regular peach. There are a handful of recipes that specifically call for donut peaches, like the Poached peaches and apricots in a spiced lemon & thyme syrup from Tin & Thyme, pictured above. 

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  • Indio32  on  August 28, 2018

    Yes, can confirm that 'flat' peaches are available in the UK and have been for quite a few years.

  • Braco777  on  August 28, 2018

    For a couple of years in Croatia too. They are called Paraguayos (paragvajke). But I didn't find any explanation for that name.

  • readingtragic  on  August 28, 2018

    We have them in Australia, too – they’re amazing!

  • dorits  on  August 28, 2018

    We first tried them in Paris five years ago. They have been our favorite peaches ever since. I recently tried Saturn nectarines and they were like candy.

  • Frogcake  on  August 29, 2018

    We ate them while visiting southern France recently. Quite sweet (and cheap) but not as juicy as the freestone variety in Ontario. It’s very easy to eat six of them at once!

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