From China to Europe
The peach is native to China, where samples have been found that it was cultivated more than 3,000 years ago.
Curiously, it also appears recurrently in Chinese poetry and art as a symbol of immortality. According to the legend, the Queen Mother of the West, one of the most powerful of the Han dynasty, had a garden where the peaches of immortality came to fruition once every 3,000 years. And whoever ate one of them would reach the coveted immortality. So strong was this notion, that the wood of the peach trees was preferred to make the beds of children, since it was thought that because of it, they would be happier. In addition, this wood was considered to drive away evil spirits.
From China, the peach tree passed to Persia (hence its scientific name Prunus Persian) from where it was moved by the Romans to Europe. In the Middle Ages its cultivation spread throughout the continent and, in the nineteenth century, the peach tree could already be considered an expanding crop.
A Sweet seasonal fruit
The Royal Academy defines the peach as “fruit of the peach tree. It is a pleasant, spherical drupa of six to eight centimeters in diameter, with a deep groove that occupies half circumference, epicarpio thin, hairy, yellow with incarnate spots, yellowish mesocarp, pleasant taste and attached to a brown pit , hard and rough, enclosing a very bitter almond.
In other words, the peach, a spring-summer fruit, is sweet and juicy, has a velvety pit and skin that can be yellow, orange or pink depending on the variety. It belongs to the botanical family of rosaceae, like pear, apple, almonds or plums.
The tree from which it is born, the peach tree, is a small deciduous tree that grows in temperate zones and is sensitive to cold, although it can withstand temperatures of close to -20 degrees. It is a tree that needs a lot of light, although excessive radiation in branches and trunk can damage it, that is why pruning is so important.
Its flowers blossom alone or, at most, in pairs. And they have a pink or reddish color.
Plantation. The best time to plant is in the fall, before the winter frost. However, in areas where frost is particularly intense, it is best to wait until the end of winter.
Irrigation. The annual water consumption of a peach tree is 60-100 hl, for a total production of 20 kg of dry matter. Irrigation should be as high as 80 cm deep.
Fertilization. If the irrigation is local, the fertilization will be take place from March to October. If the crop is cultivated on dry land or with flood irrigation, two to three fertilizations occur: the first in spring and two in summer.
Low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber
Like most fruits, the peach is composed mostly of water, so it has few calories. It also provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
We can eat it as a dessert after meals, between hours or in cooking recipes like jams, preserves, pies, or shakes … There are many ways to include it in our diet.
We will talk about its properties and culinary possibilities in more detail in the coming articles.
Photos: Planasa, Pixabay