Peach (fruit)

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Peaches on a branch
Peach (cross section)

A peach is a soft, juicy and fleshy stone fruit[1] produced by a peach tree.[2][1][3] Peaches were cultivated in China as far back as 8,000 years ago, with domestication at least 4,000 years ago. The peach is deeply interwoven into Chinese traditions.


Hundreds of peach and nectarine cultivars are known. These are classified into two categories — the freestones and the clingstones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not. Freestones are those whose flesh separates readily from the pit. Clingstones are those whose flesh clings tightly to the pit. Some cultivars are partially freestone and clingstone, so are called semifree. Freestone types are preferred for eating fresh, while clingstone types are for canning. The fruit flesh may be creamy white to deep yellow; the hue and shade of the color depends on the cultivar.[4]

Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colors often have some red on their skin. Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favoured the acidic, yellow-fleshed cultivars.

Peach breeding has favored cultivars with more firmness, more red color, and shorter fuzz on the fruit surface. These characteristics ease shipping and supermarket sales by improving eye appeal. However, this selection process has not necessarily led to increased flavor. Peaches have a short shelf life, so commercial growers typically plant a mix of different cultivars to have fruit to ship all season long.[5]


White nectarines, whole and cut open

The variety P. persica var. nucipersica (or var. nectarina), commonly called nectarine, has a smooth skin. It is on occasion referred to as a "shaved peach" or "fuzzless peach", due to its lack of fuzz or short hairs. Though fuzzy peaches and nectarines are regarded commercially as different fruits, with nectarines often erroneously believed to be a crossbreed between peaches and plums, or a "peach with a plum skin", nectarines belong to the same species as peaches. Several genetic studies have concluded nectarines are produced due to a recessive allele, whereas a fuzzy peach skin is dominant.[6] Nectarines have arisen many times from peach trees, often as bud sports.

As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, and clingstone or freestone. On average, nectarines are slightly smaller and sweeter than peaches, but with much overlap.[6] The lack of skin fuzz can make nectarine skins appear more reddish than those of peaches, contributing to the fruit's plum-like appearance. The lack of down on nectarines' skin also means their skin is more easily bruised than peaches.

The history of the nectarine is unclear; the first recorded mention in English is from 1616,[7] but they had probably been grown much earlier within the native range of the peach in central and eastern Asia. Although one source states that nectarines were introduced into the United States by David Fairchild of the Department of Agriculture in 1906,[8] a number of colonial-era newspaper articles make reference to nectarines being grown in the United States prior to the Revolutionary War. 28 March 1768 edition of the New York Gazette (p. 3), for example, mentions a farm in Jamaica, Long Island, New York, where nectarines were grown.


Peacherine is claimed to be a cross between a peach and a nectarine, and are marketed in Australia and New Zealand. The fruit is intermediate in appearance between a peach and a nectarine, large and brightly colored like a red peach. The flesh of the fruit is usually yellow, but white varieties also exist. The Koanga Institute lists varieties that ripen in the Southern Hemisphere in February and March.[9][10]

In 1909, Pacific Monthly mentioned peacherines in a news bulletin for California. Louise Pound, in 1920, claimed the term peacherine is an example of language stunt.[11]

Flat peaches[edit]

Flat peaches or pan-tao have a flattened shape in contrast to ordinary rounded peaches.[12]

Nutrition and research[edit]

Peaches, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy165 kJ (39 kcal)
9.54 g
Sugars8.39 g
Dietary fiber1.5 g
0.25 g
0.91 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin A equiv.
16 μg
162 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.024 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.031 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.806 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.153 mg
Vitamin B6
0.025 mg
Folate (B9)
4 μg
6.1 mg
Vitamin C
6.6 mg
Vitamin E
0.73 mg
Vitamin K
2.6 μg
MineralsQuantity %DV
6 mg
0.25 mg
9 mg
0.061 mg
20 mg
190 mg
0 mg
0.17 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Fluoride4 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

A medium peach, weighing 100 g (3.5 oz), contains small amounts of essential nutrients, but none is a significant proportion of the Daily Value (DV, right table). Nectarines have similar low content of nutrients.[13] The glycemic load of an average peach (120 grams) is 5, similar to other low-sugar fruits.[14]


Peach production, 2017
 United States
Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations[15]


Total polyphenols in mg per 100 g of fresh weight were 14–102 in white-flesh nectarines, 18–54 in yellow-flesh nectarines, 28–111 in white-flesh peaches, and 21–61 mg per 100 g in yellow-flesh peaches.[16] The major phenolic compounds identified in peach are chlorogenic acid, catechins and epicatechins,[17] with other compounds, identified by HPLC, including gallic acid and ellagic acid.[18] Rutin and isoquercetin are the primary flavonols found in clingstone peaches.[19]

Red-fleshed peaches are rich in anthocyanins,[20] particularly cyanidin glucosides in six peach and six nectarine cultivars[21] and malvin glycosides in clingstone peaches.[19] As with many other members of the rose family, peach seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, including amygdalin (note the subgenus designation: Amygdalus). These substances are capable of decomposing into a sugar molecule and hydrogen cyanide gas.[22] While peach seeds are not the most toxic within the rose family (see bitter almond), large consumption of these chemicals from any source is potentially hazardous to animal and human health.[22]

Peach allergy or intolerance is a relatively common form of hypersensitivity to proteins contained in peaches and related fruits (such as almonds). Symptoms range from local effects (e.g. oral allergy syndrome, contact urticaria) to more severe systemic reactions, including anaphylaxis (e.g. urticaria, angioedema, gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms).[23] Adverse reactions are related to the "freshness" of the fruit: peeled or canned fruit may be tolerated.


Some 110 chemical compounds contribute to peach aroma, including alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, esters, polyphenols and terpenoids.[24]

Peaches in art[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dmitry Ushakov (1935–1940). "Персик" [Peach]. Толковый словарь Ушакова [Ushakov Dictionary].
  2. ^ Большой словарь иностранных слов [Large Dictionary of Foreign Words]. IDDK. 2007.
  3. ^ Grigoriy Dubovis (2017-09-05). Еврейская кухня. LitRes. pp. 392–. ISBN 978-5-04-049832-1.
  4. ^ "Peach and Nectarine Culture". University of Rhode Island. 2000. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013.
  5. ^ Okie, W.R. (2005). "Varieties – Peaches" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b Oregon State University: peaches and nectarines
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  8. ^ Fairchild, David (1938). The World Was My Garden. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 226.
  9. ^ "Almonds, Nectarines, Peacherines and Apricots". Koanga Institute. Archived from the original on 15 February 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  10. ^ Shimabukuro, Betty (7 July 2004). "Mixed marriages: Cross-pollination produces fruit "children" that aren't quite the same as mom and dad". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  11. ^ Pound, Louise (1920). "Stunts in language". The English Language. 9 (2): 88–95. JSTOR 802441.
  12. ^ Layne, Desmond (2008). The Peach: Botany, Production and uses. CABI. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-84593-386-9. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Nutrition Facts for Nectarines, raw, per 100 g". Conde Nast, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods". Harvard Health Publications, Harvard University School of Medicine. 27 August 2015. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Peach and nectarine production in 2017, Crops/Regions/World list/Production Quantity (pick lists)". UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT). 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  16. ^ Gil, M. I.; Tomás-Barberán, F. A.; Hess-Pierce, B.; Kader, A. A. (2002). "Antioxidant capacities, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and vitamin C contents of nectarine, peach, and plum cultivars from California". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 50 (17): 4976–4982. doi:10.1021/jf020136b. PMID 12166993.
  17. ^ Cheng, Guiwen W. & Crisosto, Carlos H. (1995). "Browning Potential, Phenolic Composition, and Polyphenoloxidase Activity of Buffer Extracts of Peach and Nectarine Skin Tissue" (PDF). J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 120 (5): 835–838. doi:10.21273/JASHS.120.5.835. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 May 2014.
  18. ^ Infante, Rodrigo; Contador, Loreto; Rubio, Pía; Aros, Danilo & Peña-Neira, Álvaro (2011). "Postharvest sensory and phenolic characterization of 'Elegant Lady' and 'Carson' peaches" (PDF). Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research. 71 (3): 445–451. doi:10.4067/S0718-58392011000300016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 July 2012.
  19. ^ a b Chang, S; Tan, C; Frankel, EN; Barrett, DM (2000). "Low-density lipoprotein antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds and polyphenol oxidase activity in selected clingstone peach cultivars". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 48 (2): 147–51. doi:10.1021/jf9904564. PMID 10691607.
  20. ^ Cevallos-Casals, B. V. A.; Byrne, D.; Okie, W. R.; Cisneros-Zevallos, L. (2006). "Selecting new peach and plum genotypes rich in phenolic compounds and enhanced functional properties". Food Chemistry. 96 (2): 273–280. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.02.032.
  21. ^ Andreotti, C.; Ravaglia, D.; Ragaini, A.; Costa, G. (2008). "Phenolic compounds in peach (Prunus persica) cultivars at harvest and during fruit maturation". Annals of Applied Biology. 153: 11–23. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7348.2008.00234.x.
  22. ^ a b Cho HJ, Do BK, Shim SM, Kwon H, Lee DH, Nah AH, Choi YJ, Lee SY (2013). "Determination of cyanogenic compounds in edible plants by ion chromatography". Toxicol Res. 29 (2): 143–7. doi:10.5487/TR.2013.29.2.143. PMC 3834451. PMID 24278641.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  23. ^ Besler, M.; Cuesta Herranz, Javier & Fernandez-Rivas, Montserrat (2000). "Allergen Data Collection: Peach (Prunus persica)". Internet Symposium on Food Allergens. 2 (4): 185–201. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009.
  24. ^ Sánchez G, Besada C, Badenes ML, Monforte AJ, Granell A (2012). "A non-targeted approach unravels the volatile network in peach fruit". PLoS ONE. 7 (6): e38992. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...738992S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038992. PMC 3382205. PMID 22761719.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)