The peach, known botanically as Prunus persica, is native to northwest China, according to Wikipedia. It is in the same genus as cherries and plums, and a member of the rose family. It is actually the same species as the nectarine, although the two are considered different fruits. The peach has a fuzzy skin and a white center, while the nectarine has faint fuzz and an orange center. The difference may be caused by the presence of a dominant gene.
According to Wikipedia, peaches have been cultivated in China since around 2000 BCE. Mention of peaches in literature dates back to the 10th Century BCE, and it was popular among emperors and kings. The ancient Chinese rulers were always preceded by sorcerers with peach rods when they traveled. Magistrates would place peach branches over their doors on New Year's Eve to guard against evil influences.
Peaches soon spread to India and western Asia, according to Wikipedia. They reached Greece via Persia (now Iran) by 300 BCE. Alexander the Great introduced the fruit into Europe after conquering the Persians. Peaches were well-known in the Roman Empire, with trees featured in the art of towns destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. The Romans called the peach "Persian apple".
Wikipedia reports that peaches were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century, and found their way to France and England in the 17th Century. They were prized, expensive treats. Horticulturist George Minifie may have brought the first peaches from England to its North American colonies in the early 17th Century. Although Thomas Jefferson grew peach trees at Monticello, United States farmers did not start commercial production until the 19th Century.
According to Wikipedia, one medium peach weighs 2.6 oz. and typically contains 30 Cal, 7 grams of carbohydrate (6 grams sugars and 1 gram fiber), 1 gram of protein, 140 milligrams of potassium, and 8 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C. Peach kernels are a common ingredient used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, used to dispel blood stasis, reduce inflammation and aid allergies.
According to Zsobig.hubpages.com, peaches can soothe an upset stomach, are good for digestion, and are an excellent moisturizer. Nicknamed "the fruit of calmness" in Hungary, peaches have an anti-anxiety effect. Peaches may prevent cancer. They may also reduce hair loss and be used as an aphrodisiac.
According to FillYourPlate.org, California grows more than 50 percent of the peaches produced in the United States. Georgia is well-known as the Peach State. They are the third most popular fruit in the U.S.
According to Ice-Cream-Recipes.com, peach ice cream was a favorite treat of Elvis Presley.
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