Peach is an edible fruit obtained from the peach tree that is botanically called ‘Prunus persica’. Peach has juicy flesh inside with a velvety skin outside. Usually, flesh is yellowish colored with a delicate fruity aroma but many cultivars are also existing with while-colored flesh. Peaches with yellow-color flesh are little acidic in nature with sweetness whereas white-colored peaches are very sweet in taste. There is a single seed in peach fruit that is large in size and has brown woody-husk all over it. Both yellow and white flesh peaches are widely used in making peach recipes in various parts of world. Some of the most popular peach dishes are peach cobbler pie, peach chutney and peach sorbet.
History of Peaches
Due to the botanical name Prunus persica, peaches are believed to be the natives of Persia but originally they belong to China. The cultivation of peaches has been a regular practice in Chinese culture since the early times. Romans were introduced to the peach fruit by the Persians who brought this juicy fruit directly from China. In 16th century, Spanish explorers brought peaches to America from where the fruit eventually traveled in 17th century to France and UK. Today, peaches are highly grown for commercial purposes in America.
Culinary Uses of Peach
Being a juicy, fleshy and sweet tasting fruit, peach is a highly preferred item in pies, cakes and various kind of desserts. However, with new techniques and styles of cooking, savory peach recipes are gaining recognition. Peach dishes including pork, chicken as well as seafood are quite popular in global cuisine. Peach is a favorite fruit of chefs to make jams, marmalades as well as peach chutney. Peach is a well-liked fruit in making sorbets and fruit juices. In various cocktails also, peach slices or peach juice can be added. Like all fruits, peach is also eaten raw with or without skin. Various salads as well as puddings fondly use peaches as garnish. Peach dishes made with cured meat and cheese are well-admired in most of the cuisines. Peach recipes may use any form of peach such as dried, fresh or even frozen. Canned peaches also have varied uses in culinary world.
Popular Peach Recipes
• Peach cobbler pie – It is one of the most traditional and popular peach recipes across the world. Either fresh peaches can be used in this dish as well as dried or canned peaches can also get along very well.
• Peach Melba – This traditional dish was created by French chef to honor a famous singer named Nellie Melba. In this dish, peaches are poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice cream on the top.
• Peach Chutney – It can be fondly served with chicken and pork snacks as a condiment.
• Peach-spiced chicken – This is among the most highly acclaimed savory peach recipes. In this dish peaches along with orange juice and spices are pureed to make a flavorful sauce for chicken.
• Fresh peach dumplings – This dish is made by stuffing fresh peaches mixed with cinnamon crumble in a puff pastry wrap. These dumplings are served with caramel sauce.
Cuisines Commonly Making Peach Dishes
American cuisine is popular for using various delectable peach recipes. Peach jams, marmalades and pies are highly admired breakfast recipes in American food. Various desserts are also flavored with peach. In Chinese cuisine as well, peaches are widely used to make desserts and savory dishes. Chicken and pork dishes are often glazed with peach sauce. Peach chutney is also a popular condiment served in Chinese cuisine. Along with Chinese and American cuisine, European cuisine also makes good use of peaches. Peach ice creams and peach flavored cocktails had made their way in European cuisine after the emergence of peach fruit in 17th century.
Preferred Methods of Making Peach Recipes
• Baked – Peach cobbler, peach cakes and pastries are preferably made with baking method.
• Pureed – Peaches are pureed to make peach chutney and savory sauces.
• Poached – Peaches are poached in sugar syrup to make various desserts.
• Sliced – Peach dishes for salads and desserts incorporate slices of peach fruit.
• Boiled – Peach is cut and boiled to make jams and marmalades.
• Canned – Peach is a preferred fruit for canning purposes.
Nutritive Value of Peaches
• Peaches are enriched with Vitamin A and help in preventing cancer of glands having epithelial tissues.
• Water content in peaches is almost 80% and contains high dietary fiber.
• Regular consumption of peach dishes helps in maintaining bowel movement.
• Peach is a great antioxidant.
• Peach recipes are observed to be highly beneficial for the people suffering from several ailments, such as, high blood pressure, asthma, constipation and bronchitis.
Buying and Storing of Peaches
Peach is a summer fruit and readily available in grocery stores in the months of July-August. While picking the peaches from the fruit mart, the following points should be kept in mind.
• Fruit should look fresh and has fruity aroma.
• While buying peaches, press the flesh gently, if it yields a bit than buy it.
• Never buy extra mushy or extra firm fruit.
• Peaches with cuts and bruises should not be purchased.
• Under ripe and hard green peaches are not recommended for buying.
Storing of Peaches
• Under ripe peaches should be kept in a paper bag along with an apple at room temperature.
• Ripe peaches should be consumed as and when bought they can be stored in refrigerator for not more than five days.
• Prepared and leftover peach dishes can also be placed in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Types of Peach
Peaches are grown in various parts of the globe and are broadly classified in the following categories:
• Yellow-flesh peaches – This is one of the most popular varieties of peaches grown in USA. This type of peach has more acidic taste as compared to the white variety.
• White-flesh peaches – This variety is usually found in Asian markets and tends to have sweet taste with smooth flesh.
• Clingstone peaches – These types of peaches are juicy and sweet. It is mostly used for canning purposes.
• Freestone peaches – Mostly eaten as raw, freestone peaches are seen in all grocery stores.
• Nectarines – Though, most of the time nectarines are regarded as a separate species it is also a variety of peach. Nectarines have smooth skin due to distinctive genes.
• Peaches are widely used to make brandy.
• Peach has the status of being the Georgia’s official state fruit.