Peaches are a summertime staple. This sweet fruit is at home in desserts, salads, on top of cereals, and all on its own. Peaches thrive in warm climates with lots of sunlight. Peaches are native to northwest China, and they are believed to have been domesticated and cultivated since 2000 B.C. Later, they were widely grown in the region known as Persia, which is now called Iran. As a result, the scientific name for the peach species is Prunus persica. China continues to be the world’s largest peach producer, followed by Spain, Italy, Greece, and the United States. In the United States, even though Georgia is known as “The Peach State,” it is not the country’s biggest producer of peaches. Georgia is beat out by California and South Carolina. New Jersey also produces its fair share of peaches. Nectarines and peaches are similar fruits. In fact, nectarines are a type of peach. Peaches have a dominant allele for the fuzzy skin, while nectarines have a recessive allele for that fuzz. In regard to flavor, peaches and nectarines are very similar, but some experts say nectarines are slightly sweeter and firmer. According to the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, nectarines also have considerably more potassium and twice as much vitamin A as peaches.
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