Peaches and nectarines

Peaches and nectarines

  • Albu Irina Mara

  • Clasa a 12-a B

  • Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân

General information

The peach-tree is a fruit tree part of the Rosaceae family, „Persica” species. It is a 8 m high tree, with relatively straight branches and with few ramifications. Its sharp shaped leaves have slightly jagged edges, while the pink or yellow flowers have a diameter of 2.5 – 3.5 cm and a dome shape. The tree’s fruits are called peaches, which are frequently covered with hairs, having a diameter of 4 – 10 cm. Their colour varies from light green, to orange, yellow and even red, while the pit is centrally placed.

Origins and location

Even if its scientific name („Prunus Persica”) suggests the peach has its origins in Persia, it actually comes from Asia, more specifically from ancient China, being brought later into western Asia and India. Alexander the Great introduced the fruit into Europe after he conquered the Persians. Later on, it was brought into US by spanish explorers and finally entered the UK and France, in the seventeenth century, where it was considered a treat.
Economically important countries that grow peaches are not only China, Iran, France, but also mediterranean ones, such as Italy, Spain or Greece. More recently, countries like the US, Canada and Australia have also increased the cultivation these fruits.

Peach types:

  • Angelus

  • Cardinal

  • Redhaven

  • August Pride

  • Donut (Stark Saturn)

Growing conditions:

In Central Europe, in order to be protected from cold, the peach-tree is planted in vineyards. Frequently, the plum-tree can be grafted with peach branches. It is able to withstand temperatures down to -30°C during winter, but if after the braches are blossomed and the temperature drops to less than -4°C the flowers fall off and the tree cannot bear fruits that year. Thus, unexpected frosts during spring are quite harmful, as the peach-tree blossoms extremely early (early March). What’s more, in order for the fruits to mature, the temperature in the hottest month of the summer has to be between 20 and 30°C.

Cultures, traditions, legends

Chinese literature refers to peach more than 1000 years before it first appeared in any European writings. There is documented evidence of peach cultivation in China for older than 3000 years. The peach is a symbol of immortality in Taoist mithology. The Queen mother (godess) of the West (Xi Wang Mu) had a jade palace that was surrounded by a beautiful garden containing the peach trees of immortality. In the classic Chinese novel, „The Journey to the West”, Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King attained immortality as a result of a memorable visit to this garden.
Furthermore, in ancient China the peach wood was thought to have the power to remove evil forces, being used in the creation of weapons. In the Taoist magic, a peach flower’s petals based potion was believed to have the power to make people fall madly in love. It is also a classic Chinese symbol of spring and marriage. According to the Chinese folklore, the peaches placed in a bedroom have the power to inspire marriage proposals. It is said that the „immortality peach-tree”, located in the Kun Lun mountains, bears once in 3000 years, when „the 8 Immortals” gather in order to eat the magic fruits and go on with their continuous lives. However, according to Feng Shui, peach colour is not recommended in many cases, having the power to attract people with less honorable intentions and cause arguments in marriages.

In the Christian tradition, especially in the catholic one, the peach symbolises the silent virtue, but also the virtuous heart and language. Sometimes, this fruit replaces the apple in pictures of the Virgin Mary and the son Jesus, where it represents the fruit of salvation, offered by Jesus.

Chemical structure

Peaches have a sweet, flavored taste, intensively hydrating for the body (87% of the content is water). Moreover, they represent an extremely rich source of vitamins and minerals, with important therapeutical properties. Having a high content of vitamin C, B3, B5, E and provitamin A, they also carry significant amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iodine, selenium and potassium. A typical detail for the peach-tree’s fruits is the perfect vitamin C – vitamin A ratio (7 mg/ 100 g), the two nutrients being completely assimilated. In addition to this, the peach does not contain any sodium unit, fact that makes this fruit ideal for those who suffer from an imbalance of sodium and potassium ratio and for those who need a diet low in sodium.
The main therapeutical actions of peaches are: energizing, stimulates the appetite and the secretion of gastric and biliary juices, diuretics and laxatives, while helping balance the nervous system and strengthen the immune system. Thanks to its constituents, the peach can be a real benefit for asthenic, weakened or convalescent persons, who lack appetite, and also for those who suffer from depression.

RECIPE

Internally, peaches can be eaten raw, after being thoroughly washed. Eating three or four peaches in the morning, instead of breakfast, a few days in a row, is highly recommended. Such a diet is indicated to stimulate digestive functions and maintain alkalinity of blood. At the same time, we can enjoy peaches in the form of fresh juice (1-2 cups between meals or in the mornings on an empty stomach), canned or dried fruit. Its leaves and flowers can be used in making tea, for their antiseptic, depurative and anti-parasitic action. (Two teaspoons of herb infused in 300 ml boiling water and allow 10 min; drink one cup of tea after each meal of the day)

Peach tart:

Ingredients:

CRUST:

piersici

  • 200-250 g regular biscuits
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 ml canned peaches
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa
  • vanilla essence

FILLING:

  • 200 g cream
  • 125 g peach yoghurt
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 150 g fresh cottage cream
  • 10 g gelatine
  • 100 ml canned peaches
  • fresh peaches

TO MAKE THE CRUST:

We crush the biscuits. After boiling the canned peaches, together with the butter and the sugar, we combine it with the crash biscuits. We add the cocoa and the vanilla essence, mix well the whole composition, until we obtain a dense dough. We prepare a tray with removable sides, or we use food wrap. After spreading well the dough in the tray, we let it in the fridge to cool until we prepare the filling.

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

After mixing the fresh cottage cream with the powdered sugar, we add the cream, yoghurt and a part of the peaches, cut into small cubes. We dissolve the gelatine in 100 ml canned peaches sauce and put it on a steam bath, stirring continuously until it’s completely dissolved. We add the gelatin in the filling.
We spread the filling on the biscuit crust and add small cut peaches. We serve it cooled in the fridge after 4-5 hours.
Bon appétit!

Personal impression

The making of this paper was an ideal opportunity for me to learn new and interesting facts about one of the most popular fruits in our country. It was a challenging and captivating experience, which definitely improved both my writing skills and medical knowledge.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Peaches – the ”embellishment” fruits of summer

The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a delicate tree belonging to Rosacea family – with pink colored flowers, very sensitive to cold and heat, and different parasites, having many juicy, fleshy and nutritious fruits every summer.
The cold sensitivity of the peach tree is well known to farmers. For the tree survival, they plant them in the middle of vineyards, or they surround the peach tree plantations with cherry plum or plum trees.
The peach is also sensitive to heat. It needs temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Celsisus in summer, in order to have good quality fruits.

Sensitivity and reactivity are qualities of the fruits, as well as of the tree.

Peaches will be very useful for people sensitive to ”the cold” or ”the heat” of their own emotions (we will talk more about the sedative and calming effect of peaches, due to the high content of B vitamins in the composition).
Peaches are indicated for those working intellectually and in stressful job/occupations (such as for pupils and students during exams, finance and management jobs etc). In the same time, they are important fruits for bringing vitamins and minerals in the body, in summer time.

78% of the peaches structure is water, almost 20% are fibers and the rest are oligoelements – substances in small quantities, but vital for body functions. Peaches are important sources of minerals such as zincum, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, iron and iodine, vitamins such as A, C, B3, B5 and E, enzymes with anti-oxidant action (such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids), unsaturated fats and aminoacids – among many other substances.
Eating good ripen peaches, as a mono-meal (just peaches, as many as 10-15 pieces of good quality, soft, sweet and juicy), 2-3 days a weak, one-two months every summer – will support vitamins and minerals balances in the body, so useful for a better resistance during cold winter months. Peaches could be also taken all the time as a snack between meals or as the only evening meal.
One can also drink peach fresh juice (a slower juicer is preferred for making it) or peach nectar (with the pulp included), or one can add peaches in different blender mix (with other fruits, such as different berries, apples, pears, mango or bananas).
One of the most beloved ”summer recipe” for the raw-vegans is the ”fruit/peach ice-cream”: a combination of banana, avocado, peaches, and a little vanilla flavor in a blender and then in the fridge for 2-3 hours. So we will serve the best healthy icy – creamy dessert in a hot summer day.

When not properly ripen, peaches are hard, with a sour-astringent taste. In the ripening process, they become soft, flavor get stronger and the taste become sweet-sour. In other words, there is a lot of fructose formed inside the fruit, which brings more nutrition and digestibility, along with the healthy benefit of all natural oligoelements.

Peaches belong to semi-acids fruits.
To be useful for body alcaline/acidic balance – peaches must be well ripen (high fructose intake – sweet taste), having also a better digestibility, in the same time.
One cannot have ”monofruit” meals for days in a row with peaches – because they are too acidic (the only exception being somebody having access to an organic orchard, in full season – having enough ripen peaches available for days and weeks). But one can eat ”mono-meals” with peaches (peaches alone) – in many summer days.

The organic – bio peaches – are very important. Is better to eat only peaches which haven’t been treated with chemical substances in any of the stages (chemicals are easily stored in fruits, especially in the skin of the fruit, and one cannot take the skin out of peaches so easy, as in an apple or pear).

Combination of peaches, apricots and plums – got a variety of fruits called nectarines – with a soft silky skin. Nectarines are more agreeable than peaches for many consumers, modern people being troubled with the normal peaches fuzz on the skin. But nectarines are regularly sprayed with chemicals (they are too vulnerable to survive on their own) and one can hardly find organic nectarines.
We prefer the ”normal” peaches with the fuzz on the skin.

Peaches have important effects on human health, among others:

  • regulating bowel movements, improving constipation and prevention/treatment of hemorrhoids

  • control of body weight; replacing one meal a day with a ”peach dish” (a peach plate, a smoothie or juice – simple or combined with other fruits) – helps regulating the blood sugar and gives a filling up sensation in the stomach.


  • Beneficial for central nervous system – due to the slight sedative and calming effect. One indicates a peach meal in the evening – for a better quality sleep. We have notices after eating many peaches a general state of well-being, optimistic and joyful disposition, emotional detachment and less mental dialogue. Decision taking, attention, concentration and memory were better and we were more efficient in all daily activities, with a detached emotional reactivity.

  • Tonic effect for cardio-vascular system, through regulating the balance Na/K, toning the walls of the blood vessels (A and C vitamins) and giving a more fluid quality of blood (which keeps easier the alkaline pH).

  • Improvement of sight (A vitamin) – very useful in tired eyes (computer work, reading, study, exams) and also as a good support in situation of slight myopia or hypermetropia.

  • Improvement of an easy or medium anemia – due to increased content in iron, copper, manganese and zincum, which are bioavailable and smoothly absorbed in the small intestines. Treatment of an anemia with a ”peach diet” is much better (and tastier) than taking iron chemical supplements – which have a lot of side effects – such as constipation and bloating.

  • Detox and improvement of kidney filtration, diuretic effect, keeps the urine in an alkaline state. They help preventing stones and sand formation in kidneys, but also help in their elimination.

  • People with metabolic issues (gout, rheumatic and joint problems) benefit from eating a lot of peaches – and improves the values of uric acid and urea on blood tests. In order words, peaches neutralize a part of the meat consumption – helping the body to eliminate quicker proteic waste products.

  • Improvement the health of the skin (vitamin A, bioflavonoids and carotenoids), giving one a younger appearance – and having an anti-aging action (anti-oxidants).

Peaches are important skin care fruits – and the peach puree (cream) or pieces of peach could be used for face, hands or the body skin care.
The result of the ”peach treatment” is a soft, velvet like aspect of the skin, with a nutritive effect for all the layers of the skin.
Pieces of peach on the eye help for the tired eyes sensation and improvement of inflammation (conjunctivitis, blepharitis).

Eating fresh peaches, in pick season (the warm period of summer) is ideal for humans.
Peaches can be kept in the deep-freezer, for colder periods (although they are available all year around in the super-markets – but sometimes tasteless and not so juicey). Freezed fruits keep some of the nutrients of the fresh fruits and are a good option for cold periods.

One discuss a lot about allergies to peaches.
We have presented a lot in our materials about detoxification the topic of allergies as being the lymphatic system reaction to an excess of toxicity/acidity.
Peaches are doing a moderate lymphatic drainage (less than grapes and oranges) – but sometimes intense elimination symptoms can occur: skin (different rashes), digestive (pain, diarrhoea) or respiratory (sneezing, watery discharges, cough, suffocation).
In people with a lot of lymphatic acidosis (systemic intoxication) one limits the fruit intake for a while, and indicates more vegetables and green juices, until the body detoxify enough to accept more fruits – and go to a deeper level of cleaning.
Many adults and children with lymphatic acidosis (systemic intoxication) refuse or have aversion for fruits, in general or for some of them.

Having an action over lymphatic system, peaches also balance the whole immune system of the body – and we recommend the regulate consumption for the protection of skin, urinary and respiratory systems.

Biggest peach producer in the world is China.
In our country, in south – Dobrogea region – there are places where one finds a lot of peach orchards.
Peaches are sensitive, delicate and beautiful fruits (like a delicate China women – the origin of these fruits). They bring the same kind of energy in our body.
Eating peaches we become more open to Nature and its beauty.
They bring not only beauty for the physical body (cleaning it inside and outside) – but also for the human energetics – in which they bring the qualities of grace and delicacy.

© 2015 Simile Foundation. All rights reserved.

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