Peaches are from a fruit bearing tree of the Prunus family, classified as a drupe or stone fruit, related to other such fruit as nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries and even almonds. Of the same species as nectarines, they differ in having a softer flesh, a fuzz like skin and can be quite large in size.
Likely to have originated from central and southern Asia, where there is significant cultural representation of the blossoms, the fertility of fruit and even the wood from trees was considered good for protection. Today, China is the largest producer of peaches and nectarines, although orchards can be found globally in dry temperate to sub tropical regions. Production is very seasonal with the first fruit harvestable in late spring, then throughout summer. All stone fruit have a sweet, juicy taste and are thoroughly enjoyed during the summer months.
Typically all stone or drupe fruit need a cold winter to induce flowering in the spring, but in recent years through selection, there has been a range
How to prepare
A peach can be eaten as a whole fruit, or cut into segments to add to salads or desserts. There is a large stone (seed) in the middle of the fruit which is removed and discarded.
Buyer's and storage guide
Look for fruit that are well coloured, slightly soft to the hold and unblemished. Skin colour can vary with different varieties so is worth trying out different types.
Keep in a cool, dry place, that way they will remain fresh up to three to five days. You can keep them in the refrigerator for about a week, but keep in mind that they're best eaten at room temperature. Fruit will ripen quickly, so if a little hard at the supermarket, it'll only take 3-4 days on the bench to mature.
- Enjoy whole, just as you would an apple
- Create a salad added to feta cheese and strawberries
- A welcome addition to any fruit salad
- Often used as a topping for frangipane tarts, flans and all manner of pastries
- Can be slowly cooked in a saucepan to create jams, sauces and compotes