Believed to have originated from Northwest China and reserved for the gardens of nobility, peaches are now globally recognised after prolifically spreading across the rest of the world as early as the 1600s. Juicy, creamy, and delectable, peaches were – and continue to be – seen as cultural symbols of longevity, love and prosperity in Southeast Asian countries, predominantly in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. As a fruit tree from the rose family, the tree’s flowers – peach blossoms – are equally as idyllic as their fruit, and are frequently featured in cultural folklore. Festivals that celebrate the blooming of peach blossoms continue to be observed to this day, revealing a sustained admiration for the peach tree.
TWO WORDS, ONE STONE
Amidst the hundreds of peach varieties spanning across a multitude of continents and countries, these stone fruits are primarily divided into two categories: the freestone, where the flesh tears away from its seed, and the clingstone, which has flesh that sticks to its pit. Though recognised as an individual colour, peaches actually have a discernible palette, spanning muted corals to mellow oranges or white-yellow. However, don’t be fooled by their delicate exteriors, as peaches carry some of the most beneficial health properties. Rich in antioxidants, iron, and vitamins these fleshy fruit boost immunity and protect against toxins, on top of reducing blood sugar levels due to their low GI.
Due to its unique taste, peaches are cherished by the culinary world whether as a standalone fruit or as an ingredient in food and drinks. Easily one of the most versatile flavours, its unmistakable floral fragrance lends creamy nuances of honey and berry undertones, with an overarching tanginess. Invoking scenes of summer in seasonal countries, the most typical uses for peaches involve baking them into pies, drying them into snacks, or adding them into schnapps. However, this delicious flavour pairs well with almost all culinary groups, from savoury tidbits such as nuts, greens, and meats, to the drinkable mixes of milks, berries, and even spices. If you’re stuck for choice, here are a few easy recipes to try your hand at.