Juicy and sunny fruit emblematic of midsummer, the peach belongs to the Rosaceae family, which includes many other pome or stone fruits such as cherries, apricots, apples, strawberries or blackberry brambles. Native to the mountains of western China, the peach tree, or prunus persica, has been cultivated since at least 4000 BC, but did not arrive in Europe until IIe yeser century before our era. It was long considered harmful and only began to be appreciated in the Middle Ages.
In China, the peach tree is an emblem of spring and marriage, its pink blossom representing virginity.
Botanists distinguish four major groups of peach trees, genetically similar but with different characteristics: the group “ sin » strictly speaking, with fluffy epidermis, melting flesh and free stone (which easily detaches), within which one can distinguish subgroups according to the color of the flesh, white, yellow or blood, as well as the varieties of flat peaches ; the group “ nectarine », whose smooth skin is favored by consumers, especially in the United States; the group “ pavia », with a fluffy, orange skin, an adhesive core and firm flesh that holds up when cooked, becoming an industrial peach; the group “ nectarine », more rustic, with smooth skin and adherent core. In China, the peach tree is an emblem of spring and marriage, its pink blossom representing virginity, while in Europe the beautiful fruit is often a symbol of sensuality.
Nothing is more delicious and delicate than a ripe peach just harvested from the tree, fragrant, juicy and full of sunshine. Some like it with the skin, others without, but its smooth flesh requires very little dressing. Very ripe or even a little too much, it is perfect in juice, smoothie or refreshing sorbet.
Forget the sickening industrial peaches in syrup. Prefer peaches to wine, an ancestral tradition to accommodate this fruit, with sugar, honey, or salt and pepper. In cooking, peaches go very well with poultry (guinea fowl, duck, quail), when they are not poached in peach MelbaEscoffier’s famous dessert, with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis.