Besides being delicious, peaches are extremely rich in vitamin A and potassium. Peaches also contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and selenium. As if that weren’t enough, peaches are high in protein! One large raw peach provides two grams of protein. Peaches are also mineral rich in iron which aids in red blood cell formation, and fluoride, a main component of healthy bones and teeth. The aromas from peaches have demonstrated analgesic effects, reducing the feelings of pain, lifting depression, and creating a sense of well-being.
Consumption of peaches dates back to ancient times. A favorite fruit of royalty, peaches have been mentioned in historical writing dating back to 1000 BC. Peaches were first cultivated in China, possibly as early as 2000 BC. By 300 BC, peach trees were growing in India and Persia. The fruit was carried into Europe by Alexander the Great after he conquered the Persians. A common fruit of the Romans, peaches were cultivated throughout the empire. They were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers during the 1500s. Indeed, peaches have woven a thread throughout the history of humankind.
Peaches are closely related to nectarines. In fact, they belong to the same species, Prunus persica. The fuzzy skin that defines peaches is the result of a difference in a single gene. Peaches contain the dominant allele for fuzziness, whereas nectarines contain the recessive allele for smooth skin. Peaches are classified into two categories, freestones and clingstones. Freestones separate readily from the pit, where as clingstones, true to their name, cling on.