August is National Peach Month and we thought it would be fun to discover some interesting facts about peaches.
- The peach originated in China and has been cultivated at least since 1000 B.C.E. It has special significance in Chinese culture: the peach has mystical attributes, and supposedly brings luck, abundance and protection.
- The peach tree is considered to be the tree of life and peaches are symbols of immortality and unity. Peach blossoms are carried by Chinese brides.
- The Romans called the peaches “Persian Apples” naming them after the country that introduced peaches to the West.
- Spaniards brought peaches to South America and the French introduced them to Louisiana. The English took them to their Jamestown and Massachusetts colonies. Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages.
- China is the largest world producer of peaches, with Italy second.
- California produces more than 50% of the peaches in the United States (and grows 175 different varieties).
- So many peaches are grown in Georgia that it became known as the Peach State.
- True wild peaches are only found in China. Unlike the cultivated fruit, the wild fruit is small, sour and very fuzzy.
- Peaches are available for u-picking at many Arizona farms including Schnepf Farms, Apple Annie’s Orchards, Sphinx Date Ranch and more. The peach season in Arizona varies with the location of the farm, so check their website for picking season. To find a local u-pick farm go to fillyourplate.org.
Nutrition and Facts
- Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B and C. A medium peach contains only 37 calories.
- You can ripen peaches by placing them in a brown paper bag for two to three days. Sliced, fresh peaches should be tossed in lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.
- Nectarines are a variety of peach with a smooth skin, not a cross between a peach and a plum.
- The juice from peaches makes a wonderful moisturizer, and it can be found in many brands of cosmetics.
- A peach pit contains hydrocyanic acid, which is a poisonous substance.
- Like the plum and the apricot, the peach is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae), distinguished by its velvety skin. It is classified as a drupe, a fruit with a hard stone.
- The term, “you’re a real peach” originated from the tradition of giving a peach to the friend you liked.
- Most peaches are cultivated by grafting different combinations of rootstocks to scions.
- There are over 700 varieties of peaches-some Chinese varieties are even flat like hockey pucks!
- Peaches are the third most popular fruit grown in America.
- The United States provides about one-fourth (25%) of the world’s total supply of fresh peaches
- The World’s Largest Peach is located in Gaffney, South Carolina, and weighs over 10,000 pounds. The city of Gaffney, near Greenville, built this water tower in the shape of a peach back in 1981.
- Many stories have been written about Peaches including James and the Giant Peach, which was eventually made into a movie of the same name, and Momotaro, the Peach Boy; a Japanese Fairy Tale