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Peaches (Prunus persica)

The peach is a deciduous tree, native to Northwest China where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears edible juicy fruits with various characteristics, most called peaches and others (the glossy-skinned varieties), nectarines.

The specific name persica refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia (modern-day Iran), from where it was transplanted to Europe. The peach belongs to the genus Prunus, which includes the cherry, apricot, almond and plum, all in the rose family.

Peaches and nectarines are the same species, though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. The skin of nectarines lacks the fuzz that peach skin has; a simple mutation is thought to be responsible for that difference.

Cultivated peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness. Low-acid, white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighboring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favored the acidic, yellow-fleshed cultivars.

For nutritional value per 3.5oz, visit the USDA site here.


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