Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Peach: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Peaches most likely originated in China. Chinese manuscripts mention peaches as far back at the 10th century. Peaches played a huge role in Chinese culture and were regarded highly, as giving a person vitality and warding off evil. Peach wood bows and arrows and wands, and pits, therefore were thought to have special powers. 

Legends and similar cultural significance existed in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam as well, and elsewhere around the world. Famous artists in Europe, for instance, depicted peaches' positive influence on one's life. A peach was viewed as a symbol of good health.  

Spanish explorers introduced peaches to the Americas in the 16th century. Later, President Thomas Jefferson planted peach trees at his home, Monticello, but commercial production in the U.S. did not begin until the 19th century - in the states of Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and Virginia. Today the three largest peach-producing states are California, South Carolina, and Georgia.  

Historically, Georgia has a long relationship with peaches. It is known as the "peach state," and having lived there for a year and a half early in my marriage, I am kind of proud of the fact I gave birth to a "Georgia peach." Our daughter was born in Georgia! The song below is cute. Give it a listen if you have time and want to know what it means to be a "Georgia peach."

There are two main varieties of peaches: clingstone (the flesh sticks to stone) and freestone (the flesh separates from stone).
The peach stone (pit/seed) is toxic and peach allergies do exist, but for most of us, peaches are a delicious way to get vitamins A and C. Other health benefits include: high potassium; low glycemic load (no sudden blood sugar spikes); cholesterol-lowering high fiber; cancer and heart disease prevention.     

This evening I was catching up on some newspaper reading and was surprised to read on the front page an article about cancer and peaches! A food scientist (Giuliana Noratto) at Washington State University in the town were I live has been researching the effect of chemicals in peaches on breast cancer growth. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News, April 11, 2014)

To test, she fed peaches to mice with implanted breast cancer. The tumor growth was slowed, but what was more surprising is that the cancer cells died off. She recommends women with breast cancer add peaches to their diet. "This is equivalent to a 132-pound human eating three peaches a day," she said. The article goes on to say that Noratto is a firm believer the right nutrition can go a long way in treating ailments. I couldn't agree more!

Peach Recipe

"Peach Coffee Cake"

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
3 large peaches, peeled and sliced

--Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease heavy 9-inch baking pan (2 quart size).
--Cream butter and sugar until light (blended well). Beat in egg.
Sift dry ingredients together (a wire whisk is good for this). Beat half of dry mixture into creamed mixture, then beat in half of milk. Repeat with rest, beating well.
--Pour batter in prepare pan. Arrange peach slices on top. Bake 25 minutes.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger (or nutmeg)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Cut ingredients together with pastry blender, fork, or wire whisk, until mixture is crumbly. Remove prepared cake from oven and immediately crumble topping over peaches. Bake for 8 minutes, or until cake is done. (Cake will pull away from edges when firm).
Yield: 8 servings. Best served warm. 

Peach Jokes

Did you hear the joke about a peach? 
It's pit-iful! 

Peach Books

by Elizabeth Adler (1989)  

--The Peach Keeper 
by Sarah Addison Allen (2012)

--Lucky Peach, Issue 9 
by David Chang, Chris Ying, and
Peter Meehan (2013) (nonfiction)

--The Peaches Monroe Trilogy 
by Mimi Strong (2014)

--Peaches (2006)
by Jodi Lynn Anderson 

--James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake 
(2007) (ages 7 up)

Peach Movies

--James and the Giant Peach (1996)

--Peaches (2004) (drama)

--Eat the Peach (1986) (comedy)

Peach Songs

"Georgia Peaches" by Lauren Alaina (2011)

by Nancy Sinatra

--"Peaches" - Presidents of the USA



  1. What an intriguing post! I didn't know about peach wood being thought to have magical properties. And the health benefits of eating peaches sound great. I liked all the book titles, too. My husband and I lived in Georgia for 9 years, and I remember that it's considered the Peachtree state. There's also Peachtree Press, in Atlanta.

    1. Hi Elizabeth. I wish I had eaten peaches there. Not sure I did...I was not much of a fruit eater in those days. Sad.

  2. Hi Sharon - warm sunned peaches straight off the tree - are so delicious .. mind you I add a few other fruits .. but loved thinking about when fresh peaches will arrive here - in a few weeks time ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Yum, and they kind of melt in your mouth when good. Cannot always get them this way in the stores. I'm picky about my peaches.

  3. mmmmmm-peaches-I am not sure there is a fruit I dislike. Love the peach but will always take off the skin as the fuzziness irritates my lips and it is like fingers on a chalk board for me. It is my hubby's favourite fruit too. Another recipe to try

    1. Yeah, that peach fuzz kind of gets you, but oh so good on the inside :)

  4. I absolutely LOVE peaches. One of my favorite things about the summer is going to a nearby peach orchard here and getting fresh peaches - such a treat. I had no idea about the Chinese history with them - interesting.

    1. I've been thinking about my local peach orchard too. This year I may go picking.

  5. Your posts are so packed with information. I had no idea that peaches might slow breast cancer.
    I remember craving peaches when I was pregnant. I couldn't get enough of them and baby's skin was very peachy when he was born!
    My mouth is watering - peach coffee cake - yummy cakes, too, Sharon.
    I mentioned your comment about pineapples on my blog today - there was no controlling me.

    1. Thanks, Fanny. I remember craving nothing but plums (almost made that my 'p' word!). Enjoy the recipe!

  6. Well, you packed this post with tons of information. I loved it! I really loved the study about peaches being helpful in treating cancer. That is truly amazing.

    When I discovered my peach tree (old discarded pit from years ago) looking like a very healthy bush, I did a bit of research. I found that originally the peach tree was always a peach bush. When it came under cultivation as a crop, farmers started pruning it into a tree to produce larger fruit.

    I love my garden and now that you've shared that peach recipe, I'm keeping close watch on my peach crop. That first crop is going to be put to good use. Thanks.

    1. Me, too. I'm hoping the information can really help someone. Lucky you being able to grow peaches :)

  7. I think I have some peach juice in the fridge. I now have a hankering for it...

  8. I love peaches! I remember growing up my mom worked for a lady that had peach trees in her back yard; I remember my mom bringing home bags of them when they were ripe and us doing a variety of things with them, pies, eating them, canning them, etc.


    1. Oh, can't you just smell them? When ripe they are so juicy and sweet.

  9. Oh Sharon, you forgot the greatest of all peach songs...Peaches by the Presidents of the United Sates of America. I can never see, eat, touch or talk about a peach without hearing that song in my head..."millions of peaches, peaches for me..."

    1. Oh, no. I didn't see this song. Now I'm curious and need to check! Thanks, DA :)

  10. Some interesting peachy information!

  11. Your "P" offering certainly has garnered unanimous comments - everybody loves peaches. Can't wait for the first juicy crop.

  12. Me, too....and I am so hungry at the moment!


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