Peaches: properties, benefits and recipes to taste them

Peaches: properties, benefits and recipes to taste them

Peaches are low in calories (about 30 per 100 g) and practically fat-free, so they are a particularly suitable fruit for dieters. The varieties of peaches that are found on the market are very numerous and vary in color and size. Some varieties, such as nectarines or snuffboxes, have more antioxidants, the level of which also varies according to the degree of ripeness.

The balance between sweetness and acidity makes peach one of the most invigorating and thirst-quenching summer fruits and its health benefits are numerous.

The peach tree has its origins in China and then arrives in the Mediterranean areas. Its pink flowers are known all over the world.

In their millennial history, populations have celebrated peaches as a symbol of life, striving to preserve them and enjoy their characteristics even beyond their seasonality.

Peaches are mainly consumed fresh and in the kitchen they lend themselves to many uses, you can prepare peach jam or peach cake. But to enjoy them out of season there are peaches in syrup, good and appetizing, even if they contain added sugar.

Peaches: what they are

Peaches are sweet and juicy fruits that come from the peach tree (Prunus persica). They are native to China and are a popular fruit due to their sweet and refreshing taste as well as their soft and juicy texture.

They have a rounded shape and a velvety skin that can vary in color from yellow to red. The pulp, on the other hand, can be of different colors, including white, yellow and orange, with a large central stone.

Peaches are mainly consumed fresh, but they are also used in many culinary preparations, such as jams, preserves, fruit juices, desserts and ice creams.

They can be found at the greengrocer’s from June to September and are also distinguished by the different varieties.

The major producers worldwide are: United States, China and Argentina. America is one of the major European producing countries, together with Spain, followed by Greece and France.

In America they are grown in particular in: Emilia-Romagna (about 1/3 of the production), Campania (1/4), Veneto, Lazio and Sicily. Among those which have been recognized with the European denomination of Protected Geographical Indication there are: Pescabivona IGP and Pesca di Leonforte IGP in Sicily, Pesca di Verona IGP in Veneto and Pesca Nettarina di Romagna IGP in Emilia-Romagna.

Variety of peaches

There are almost 1300 varieties registered in the Register of fruit plants of the Ministry of Agricultural Policies as of 2019. Each of these differs from the other in some aspect concerning the shape or color or the harvest period, or for other characteristics also of importance agronomic.

The varieties are commercially divided into 4 types:

  • Peaches, with a velvety skin and yellow or white internal flesh.
  • Nectarines (or Nectarines), characterized by a smooth skin.
  • Peaches, which have a more fleshy and chewy pulp, mostly intended for the production of peaches in syrup.
  • Tabacchiere or Saturnine, with an unmistakable flattened shape.


Its real name is nectarine and it is a fleshy fruit, with a rounded shape, which can be found on the market from mid-June until the end of September.

The nectarine is distinguished from other peaches because the skin is smooth and does not have that light down typical of common peaches. It also has a pleasant and refreshing taste, with a firm, fragrant and crunchy pulp. Its nutritional value is very similar to other peaches.

Snuffbox fishing

Also called saturnina, it is a variety of peaches that is produced in particular on the slopes of Etna and is native to the Simeto and Alcantara valleys, also in Sicily.

The name comes from its typical shape, flattened on both sides, which recalls that of a snuffbox or the planet Saturn.

Its diffusion in the rest of America is somewhat limited, but it is possible to find it in the best-stocked markets from mid-June to the end of August. However, it is a medium-small peach, it has a sweet and soft white pulp and a small stone that resembles that of an apricot.


Percoche are a variety of peaches with a compact and firm orange flesh, with some red veins, and a sweet and delicate flavour. They are also called precoche and are grown mainly in southern America such as Basilicata, Campania and Puglia.

Their pulp is firm and compact and yellow in colour. There are several varieties, but the most famous are Percoca Romagnola (Emilia Romagna), Percoca col Pizzo (Naples) and Giallona di Siano (Salerno).

They are sweeter than other peaches, which is why they are perfect “drowned” in wine, perhaps adding cinnamon or mint.

Peaches: nutritional properties

Peaches are a fruit with good nutritional value, as they bring micronutrients useful for health. For example, a good amount of soluble fiber, organic acids (including tartaric, malic, chlorogenic and citric acids), vitamins, including carotenes (provitamin A) and vitamin C, both powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, also present.

There are also mineral salts such as phosphorus, potassium, selenium and iron. Sugars are few and do not contain fats and proteins. The calories of peaches are just 30 per pound of peaches, so they are ideal for those who follow a low-calorie diet or want to maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, their low sodium content makes them perfect for those who, on the other hand, follow a low sodium diet.

Finally, they contain a lot of water, about 90%, which makes them hydrating, ideal to enjoy in the summer.

Peaches: nutritional values ​​(100 g)

Sodium (mg)3
Potassium (mg)260
Calcium (mg)8
Phosphorus (mg)20
Zinco (mg)0.35
Magnesio (mg)9
Rame (mg)0.04
Selenium (µg)1
Ferro (mg)0.4
Tiamina – B1 (mg)0.01
Riboflavin – B2 (mg)0.03
Niacin – B3 (mg)0.50
Total folate (µg)3
Vitamin C (mg)4
Vitamin E (mg)0.73
Vitamin K (µg)5.80
Vitamin A (µg)27

Data source: Food Composition Database for Epidemiological Studies in America and CREA Research Center for Food and Nutrition

Peaches: chemical composition (100 g)

Water (g)90.7
Energy (kcal)30
Protein (g)0.8
Lipids (g)0.1
Cholesterol (mg)0
Available carbohydrates (g)6.1
Dietary Fiber (g)1.6

Data source: Food Composition Database for Epidemiological Studies in America and CREA Research Center for Food and Nutrition

Peaches: the health benefits

Peaches are considered a functional food, that is, according to the definition of the Commission on the science of functional foods in Europe (FUFOSE), “a food that has a beneficial effect on one or more functions in the body, beyond the nutritional effects, in a manner relevant to the improvement of health and well-being and/or to reducing the risk of disease”.

The benefits of fishing derive mainly from the action of the many antioxidant compounds it contains and which are able to protect the body from oxidative stress due to the action of free radicals, and therefore from many diseases. Here are the advantages they offer within a healthy and balanced diet.


In addition to vitamin C, peaches contain some organic compounds which are particularly active against oxidizing agents. They are carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A), which give the yellow and orange color to the pulp, and polyphenols (flavonoids), which among other things are responsible for the browning of peaches (especially those with white flesh) due to reaction to impact or when the pulp comes into contact with air.

These antioxidants, especially present in the peel as well as in the pulp, already act during digestion, neutralizing the radical compounds also produced by the intestinal bacterial flora and enhancing the blood’s defenses against the waste products of cellular metabolism.

Antioxidants have no nutritional value and are absorbed only in very small quantities. Therefore, to enjoy their beneficial effects, it is important to eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day – the much recommended 5 portions – instead of consuming them occasionally. Antioxidants protect the body from the onset of chronic, often very serious pathologies affecting the cardiovascular system.

Friends of the heart and circulation

Some research has studied polyphenols in the prevention of risk factors for cardio-metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

The results show that peach juice consumption protects against a combination of metabolic disorders, usually induced by obesity, including hyperglycemia, insulin and leptin resistance, dyslipidemia, and low-density lipoprotein oxidation.

Furthermore, thanks to the antioxidants, they counteract the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) by preventing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which are the cause of important cardiovascular pathologies.

To the beneficial effects on the heart of the antioxidants are added those of potassium, which makes peaches an excellent drainer that intervenes in the mechanism of regulation of blood pressure, lowering it through the elimination of excess fluids.

Anti-aging action on skin and connective tissues

Vitamin C, flavonoids and beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A are involved in the production of collagen, which is a protein essential for the health of blood vessels and connective tissues.

Vitamin C, in particular, facilitates the absorption of the iron necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which helps maintain the elasticity of the skin even in mature age and slows down the aging process.

For this reason, fishing can be defined as an excellent…