Peaches are one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world. They are originally native to China and date back to the 10th century B.C. There are more than 2000 different varieties of peaches grown worldwide and more than 300 are grown in the United States alone.
Peaches typically have a round shape with a pointed end and are red, yellow, pink, white or a combination of these colors. There is a distinctive vertical indentation on one side of the peach and the skin is fuzzy and dull. Peaches can also be flat and disc-shaped. The donut peach, which is flattened like a doughnut without a hole, is a descendant of the flat Chinese peach.
Peach varieties are categorized according to the way the flesh is attached to the pit:
Peaches can have either a yellow or white interior flesh.
Yellow flesh peaches have a fuzzy exterior skin color that ranges from yellow to orange to red. The exterior color varies depending on the variety and does not indicate the ripeness of the fruit. The yellow flesh is one of the first varieties available in the springtime. These peaches have a sweet to tangy taste.
White flesh peaches are low in acid, allowing for their natural sweetness to be more pronounced. Their skin is fuzzy and creamy white in color with blushes of red and pink. When ripe and at room temperature the fruit releases sweet aromatics. The amount of red or pink tones in the skin will differ with each variety and has no bearing on the ripeness of the fruit.
A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber, and is a good source of vitamins A, B and C.
The most common package type for peaches are: