Peaches have been cultivated in both China and Persia since ancient times and are probably Chinese in origin. The peach has been found in Chinese writings as far back as the tenth century B.C. In the fifth century B.C., Confucius refers to the "tao," the Chinese word for peach, in his writings. This "Persian apple," as the peach was called, was introduced into Greece and Rome about A.D. 100. Then it was introduced to northern Europe, and soon it became one of the most popular of all fruits. In Europe, France is known as the principal peach producing country. The early settlers brought the peach to the United States, and it found the soil and climate so congenial that three centuries after it reached America some of our leading botanists believed it to be native to this country.
Peach growing on a commercial basis began on a small scale in Ihe United States in the early nineteenth century. In 1870, a man by the name of S.R. Rumph, of Marshallville, Georgia, produced the Elberta from a seed of Chinese clingstone peaches. He gave a seed of the same lot to L.A. Rumph, who produced a variety that became known as the Belle of Georgia. The Elberta became so popular in the South that by 1889 it was placed on the approved list of varieties sponsored by the American Pomological Society. From 1910 to the present time the Elberta has held the lead in commercial production.
Forty states produce peaches commercially. Althaugh Georgia is known as "the peach state," California leads in production, but most of its peach crop goes into cans. The peach-growing states are, in order of production: California, Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and New jersey.
Peaches are on the market from late May to mid-October. The peak is in July and August. Georgia usually takes the lead in large quality shipment.
A peach of fine quality is firm and free from blemishes. It has a fresh appearance, and is either whitish or yellowish in color, combined with a red color or blush, depending on the variety. If the peach is picked green or immature it will not ripen satisfactorily, and may develop a pale, weak color and will shrivel. The flesh will become tough and rubbery and will lack flavor. Peaches do not gain sugar after they are picked as they have no reserve of starch.
Peaches are wonderful in combination with other fruits in a salad, and can also be mixed with vegetables. When eaten with other foods they are best with a protein meal. Cheese and peaches can be used in good combination, especially when traveling. They mix well with all dairy products.
Benefits of Peach
Peaches, especially fruit that has a high color, are high in vitamin A. The peach has a high sugar and water content and is very laxative to the body. Peaches are wonderful in alkalinizing the blood stream, and they help stimulate the digestive juices. They can be used to regulate the bowel and build the blood.
Peaches are an excellent food for elderly people, because the body assimilates this, food very easily. Because they are easy to digest, very ripe peaches can be eaten in cases of ulcers of the stomach or inflammation of the bowel, and in cases of colitis. For these conditions, peaches should be soaked, cooked, and pureed.
For those who are diet-conscious, peaches are wonderful in helping to eliminate toxins in the body, and they are good to eat on a weight-loss program. They make an ideal food with which to break a fast.
Peach leaves make an excellent tea that is wonderful as a cleanser for the kidneys. The stones of the peach have even been used in years past, broken up in broth, for their calcium content.
Most of the dried peaches sold today are processed in sulfur, and it is better to avoid them if good health is to be maintained. If you eat canned peaches packed in syrup, throw away the syrup and eat only the peach.
Nutrients in one pound
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