Peaches originate in China and are one of the earliest domesticated fruits dating back nearly 4000 years. In ancient China, the peach was a symbol of a long life and immortality. Today, China is still the number one peach producer in the world. The peach tree is in the same family as almonds and roses.
Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family and share several similarities to apricots and nectarines. Peaches and apricots are separated by only one different gene. Nectarines are a type of peach characterized by a genetic mutation that gives them smooth skin instead of fuzz. There are over 300 different varieties in the US, and over 2,000 in the world. Peaches are classified into 2 groups: freestone and clingstone. The peach flesh of the freestone easily separates from the pit, which makes them easy and convenient to eat fresh. The flesh clings to the stone in clingstone peaches making them more suitable for canning. Peaches have either yellow flesh or white, with the white being slightly sweeter in taste. Even though Georgia is known as the peach state, it is behind California and South Carolina in peach production.
PEACHES ARE PACKED WITH NUTRIENTS
One medium peach contains just 50 calories. They good sources of fiber, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, and K. Peaches also contain the minerals potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. Peaches help maintain healthy blood pressure and contain anti-cancer properties due to their carotenoid compounds. Peaches have protective effects on the skin due to their wealth of flavonoids. They can assist in sloughing off dead cells, promote recovery of skin problems, and revitalize and hydrate the skin.
August is National Peach Month, so take time to enjoy this favorite summer treat while it is available!