Peaches, also known as Prunus persica, are a staple fruit all around the world. The peach tree is actually a part of the rose family and is most commonly grown in the warmer climates throughout the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Peaches are loaded with antioxidants. They contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. The vitamin A in peaches is essential for eyesight. There is 17% of your daily recommended vitamin C in peaches, which because of the ascorbic acid, helps to fight infections. The iron in peaches is required for our bodies red blood cells to form and to carry oxygen throughout our lung and body. Peaches are also great for maintaining a healthy digestive system because of the fiber and alkaline content.
Peaches have been around for- well, almost forever! They are native to China and are known to have been grown there since 1000 BC. The peaches were introduced in other places, like Europe, Rome, and Spain. The Spaniards then introduced them to South America and the French brought them to Louisiana. It is known that Columbus brought peach trees over on his voyages for them to be planted and grown in their new American home.
There are more than 300 varieties of peaches grown in just North America. But when picking peaches, there are really only two things to know; is it a yellow or white fleshed peach? And is it a clingstone, a freestone, or semi-freestone? Yellow fleshed peaches are more acidic in their taste, whereas white fleshed peaches have a very low acidity level and have a much sweeter taste than yellow. Clingstone peaches have a flesh that holds tight onto the pit, but are softer, sweeter, and best used for canning. Freestone have an easy release from the pit, but have a more acid taste. Semi-freestone is the best of both worlds, they have an easy pit release of the freestone with the sweetness of the clingstone peaches.
Looking for fun ways to cook with peaches? Try grilling as a dessert at your cookout, puree them and freeze them to make a popsicle, or add them to drinks for a sweet peach infused flavor in your beverages!
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