Over 4,000 years ago peaches were seen as symbols of long life and immortality by scholars and medicine men where they were first cultivated in ancient China and the mystical mountains of Tibet. That symbolism is still acknowledged in China today where peaches are a traditional birthday gift.
300 to 400 BC, the Greek and Roman empires introduced the precious fruit to Europe.
800 AD East Africa received the first peaches thanks to Indonesian traders. Peaches reached even further west when the Spanish and Portuguese explorers were exploring the Americas in the 1500’s at the time of the Aztecs and Incas.
Peaches and nectarines are classified in Latin as Prunus Persica, with the variants of “Nectarina” and “Persica”.
DID YOU KNOW?
South African peaches are in season from October to March.
Grown mainly in the Western Cape – this area is one of the richest fruit growing regions in South Africa. Peaches are also grown in the Northern provinces.
South African Peaches are produced using ethical and environmentally friendly techniques.
|Total peach production:||Approximately 180 000 Tonnes|
|Peach exports:||4962 Tonnes|
|On-farm employment:||8000 labourers, 32000 dependants|
PEACHES & NECTARINES: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
- Peaches and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruit
- The major difference is that peaches have a fuzzy skin surface while nectarines have a smooth skin
- As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, clingstone or freestone
- On average, nectarines are slightly smaller and sweeter than peaches
A CHOICE OF GREAT FLAVOURS
Peaches are available as clingstone or dessert (freestone)
- Clingstone peaches, like the Kakamas peach, are firm making them ideal for eating fresh as well as for canning
- Freestone peaches are more delicate and juicy, prefect to enjoy as they are or in a salad or dessert
CHOOSE YOUR FAVOURITE CULTIVAR
The peach season extends from October to March with different cultivars, each with its own distinct colour and flavour
TRANSVALIA: Red blush on a yellow background colour. The flesh is yellow to orange. Good taste and fine texture.
BONNIGOLD: Round peach with yellow skin and yellow flesh. Fair taste and non melting texture.
SUMMERSUN: Light yellow skin and no red blush. The flesh is light yellow.
EXCELLENCE: Yellow skin with a red blush. The flesh is yellow and the taste is good.
KEISIE: The skin is yellow and the flesh yellow and firm. Ideal for canning.
KAKAMAS: A popular canning variety,. It has a yellow skin and firm flesh.
FAIRTIME: Yellow skin with a red blush. Flesh is yellow with red in the stone cavity. Good taste and soft coarse and melting texture.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR PEACHES
How to choose:
- Always look for a smooth, firm and brightly coloured fruit. Soft fruit may be enjoyed immediately while firmer fruit may be ripened
How to ripen:
- The best way to ripen a peach is to leave it in the fruit bowl
- To quicken the ripening of the fruit, place it in a pierced paper bag with an apple or banana; the ethylene gas given off by this fruit speeds up the softening process
- To slow down ripening, place the peach into the refrigerator
How to pit a peach:
- Firstly, cut the peach along the seam all the way around through the flesh down to the pit
- Then twist the 2 halves of the peach in opposite directions
- Pull the halves apart and remove the pit
How to eat:
- The best flavour and nutritional benefits are derived from enjoying peaches fresh and simply sliced
- Peaches and may also be used as a delicious ingredient in salads, desserts, baking, meat dishes, smoothies and cocktails
WICKEDLY DELICIOUS IDEAS WITH PEACHES
Soak sliced dessert peaches in champagne or sparkling grape juice. Drain and mix with raspberries or blueberries. Layer with crushed meringues and sweetened cream.
Thread yellow cling peach slices onto kebab sticks along with strawberries, kiwi fruit and feta cheese. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Layer sliced dessert peaches and strawberries or blueberries with double cream yoghurt and crunchy granola for a delicious breakfast treat.
Place halved dessert peaches in a baking dish. Mix 250ml flour, 160ml light brown sugar, 2ml cinnamon and 80ml melted butter. Mix to a crumble and scatter over peaches. Bake at 180°C until soft, golden and crisp. Serve with cream or custard.
Brush peach quarters with a little oil and wrap in bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Grill in a pan until the bacon is cooked and golden on all sides. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with basil leaves.
Place halved yellow cling peaches in a baking dish. Fill the cavities with a teaspoon of butter and top with a tablespoon of soft brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Bake 30 min at 180°C until soft and golden serve warm with cream.
Combine lettuce leaves, sliced dessert peaches, seedles grapes, sliced smoked chicken and avocado on a serving platter. Top with feta cheese and sprinkle with pecan nuts. Drizzle with honey mustard salad dressing.
Puree dessert peaches and mix with milk, double cream yoghurt and honey for a delicious smoothie.