Peaches and Nectarines are the same species, but for commercial purposes are considered two different fruits.
The trees originated in Northwest China and were spread through trade and conquest (Armies and camp followers dropping the pits after eating the fruit)..
Peaches/Nectarines should be firm, with no bruising, cuts, or soft spots.
How much does a peach weigh?
|Extra Large||3″ Dia||224g||7.9oz|
While Nectarines resemble peaches, they are sweeter and more nutritious. Best when tree ripened, but they bruise easily so most are picked early. Let ripen for a couple days before use. Avoid nectarines that are too hard or that have green spots, or those that are bruised. Freestone varieties arriving in June and July are generally better than the cling varieties that come later. Substitutes: (One of)peaches, apricots.
What You Need to Know about the Peach
The peach (Prunus persica) is a fruit tree belonging to the Rosaceae family. It is a close relative of the cherry, apricot, and almond. Grown in temperate regions, the peach is loved as a delicious staple around the world.
Do you know that just like the pineapple, the peach is also a symbol of luxury particularly in the United States? Read on to learn more about the peach and its popular uses today.
The peach is known to have originated in northwest China where it was domesticated as early as 6000 B.C. in the Yangtzi River. It was considered an important part of the Chinese culture as peach blossoms are believed to drive away evil spirit and give strength. When Chinese emperors travel from town to town, soldiers in front of them would carry peach blossoms. These blossoms are also hung by Chinese people on their front doors during New Year.
It is said that the peach was introduced by the Persians to the Romans and that is how it acquired its botanical name Prunus persica which means “Present from Persia”. When the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great overthrew Persia, he brought peach seeds to Europe where the fruit proliferated throughout France and Spain. Then, in their 16th century exploration, the French and Spaniards introduced the peach to South America where it grew rapidly in many parts of the country. From America, the peach reached England and there it became a prestigious delicacy. In fact, the peach is Queen Victoria’s favorite after-dinner delight.
In the 17th century, English colonist George Minifie grew what is believed to be the first peach ever planted in North America. He planted this at his home in Virginia. Even Thomas Jefferson loved peaches that in 1768 he started cultivating 38 species of this fruit in the south orchard at his Monticello state. In 1811, Jefferson’s orchard was already teeming with around 160 peach trees. After a hundred years, peaches were commercially grown in Maryland, Delaware, Georgie, and Virginia.
Where Peaches are Grown
The peach is cultivated in temperate regions around the world, although it is found to grow best in a Mediterranean climate. Today, the top producing countries of peaches are China, Spain, Italy, United States, and Iran. China produces around 14 million tonnes of peaches every year.
The peach is known to be an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and many other minerals. According to the USDA Food Compositions Databases, a medium-sized peach contains the following:
- Calories: 58
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 17% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Niacin: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 5% of the DV
- Copper: 5% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
The peach has over 2,000 varieties found around the world, but its varieties are usually categorized into three based on how they cling to the pit. These categories are clingstone, freestone, and semi-free-stone.
Clingstone peaches are those whose yellow flesh is attached securely to their pit. They are ideal for snacking because of their high sugar content. On the other hand, freestone peaches are those whose flesh can be easily detached from their pit. Unlike clingstone peaches, freestone peaches are ideal for cooking, baking and canning. Semi-free-stone peaches are bred from clingstone and freestone peaches which combined the best of both worlds.
Another way to classify peaches is according to their color. They may be yellow or white and their color could give a hint as to their taste. Yellow peaches are a bit tangy, while white peaches tend to be sweet. Below is a list of famous varieties grouped according to color.
- O’Henry Peach. The O’Henry peach is freestone peach that has a balanced sweetness and acidity. It is often used in drink, sorbets, and preserves.
- Red Top Peach. The Red Top peach is sweet-smelling variety that has a tart taste. It is known for its pink flowers and aromatic leaves.
- Santa Rosa Peach. The Santa Rosa peach is from the clingstone group that is made crunchy by its firm flesh. It is commonly used in baked dishes and is also good for preserving and canning.
- Arctic Supreme Peach. The Arctic Supreme is a clingstone peach that tastes both sweet and tangy. It can be eaten as a snack or used to make jams or preservatives.
- Babcock Peach. The Babcock is an aromatic freestone peach that is both juicy and sweet.
- Donut Peach. The Donut peach got its name from its oblate shape, but despite its strange look, this variety boasts of a sweet, almond-like taste.
The peach is commonly eaten as a delicious snack, but it can be used for other purposes as well. Here are some of them:
- Preserves. Peach preserve is people’s favorite staple in grocery store, but it can also be made at home preferably during summertime. The peach can be made into a jam, jelly, marmalade or chutney.
- Syrup. Thanks to its sweet taste, the peach can be made into a syrup which can be used to prepare lemonade and peach tea.
- Liqueur. The peach can also be turned into a liqueur by the process of fermentation and distillation. Some of the best peach liqueur are Maison Ferrand Mathilde Peche Liqueur and Rothman & Winter Orchard Peach.
Other uses of the peach includes baking cakes, preparing sandwiches and cobblers, and concocting Bellinis.