Peaches vs. Peach Puree

It’s fitting that August is National Peach Month since the peach is one of the summer’s most iconic fruits. Whether the fruit itself is baked into a vibrant dessert or the flavorful juice is used to jazz up a cocktail, the peach is a versatile culinary ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of ways. In fact, one of the most common ways peach flavor is used in commercial applications is through peach puree. But is there a significant difference between using fresh peaches and peach puree?

Overview of Peaches  

A peach tree (Prunus persica) is a type of deciduous plant that belongs to the Rosaceae family along with other fruit-bearing plants like apples, pears, quinces, apricots, plums, cherries, raspberries, and blackberries. The tree itself can grow to be quite large (over 20 feet tall), and the flowers are small and pale pink. Depending on the cultivar, the skin of this stone fruit is usually a combination of red, yellow, and orange with white or yellow flesh. Peaches are also known for their fuzzy, velvety skin; the nectarine is actually a type of peach that has smooth skin instead of fuzzy.

Originating in the Zhejiang province of Eastern China, peaches have a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Though the cultivation of this succulent fruit can be traced to the 5th millennium BCE, it wasn’t until the Roman era that they became well known in Europe and beyond. In modern times, the peach is grown all over the world in relatively dry or temperate climates. In fact, peach trees are a type of fruit that require a period of colder weather in order to actually blossom and produce fruit.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Peaches

Peaches are of course known for their mildly sweet flavor and juicy flesh, but they are also a great source of various nutrients. A serving size of one medium peach is about 60 calories and has 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and less than 1 gram of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Moreover, peaches are loaded with a number of different vitamins and minerals:

Vitamins (% Daily Value)

  • vitamin A (2%)
  • beta-carotene (2%)
  • vitamin C (8%)
  • vitamin K (2%)
  • vitamin E (5%)
  • vitamin B6 (2%)
  • niacin (5%)

Minerals (% Daily Value)

  • calcium (1%)
  • phosphorus (3%)
  • potassium (4%)
  • manganese (3%)
  • magnesium (3%)

Beyond the vitamins and minerals that the body makes use of for a wide variety of regular functions, peaches also contain compounds that provide additional health benefits. Many of these compounds have antioxidant properties that are part of the body’s defense against free radicals. Free radicals are naturally forming particles that have the potential to damage our cells, but antioxidants (mostly in the form of carotenoids and polyphenols) can essentially neutralize these particles. Between these antioxidants and other nutrients, eating peaches can contribute to the improvement of numerous aspects of health: 

  • Heart health: One of the ways peaches can contribute positively to heart health is through their fiber content. Dietary fiber is known to improve both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, a fact that can lower the risk for heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease more generally. Also, the relatively high potassium content can reduce high blood pressure and therefore put less stress on the heart and circulatory system.  
  • Digestive health: The same fiber content that is helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease is also beneficial for digestive health. Fiber aids in maintaining regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and promoting a healthy gut microbiome. The high water content in peaches also contributes to healthy digestion.
  • Metabolic health: The fact that peaches are relatively low in calories and high in fiber makes them beneficial in terms of stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing rapid spikes. This can help limit the risk factors associated with metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C can assist in combating the kind of inflammation that is often linked to metabolic issues. 
  • Weight management: Losing weight is a challenge for most people, but peaches can play a supportive role because of dietary fiber and water content. These attributes can help you feel fuller longer after eating and promote an overall reduction in daily calorie intake. Their nutritional profile and natural sweetness make peaches a great choice for eating well while curbing cravings for less nutritious snacks.
  • Disease prevention: More research is needed, but there is increasing evidence that foods high in antioxidants can actually prevent some types of disease and improve immune system function. As noted earlier, free radicals can damage cells; but through the neutralizing power of antioxidants, oxidative stress can be avoided. This may help prevent a variety of diseases, including possibly breast cancer or other types of cancer.  

Difference Between Peaches and Peach Puree

There’s no doubt that incorporating peaches into your diet is a great way to improve your nutrient intake and other aspects of health. But can the same be said for peach puree? While there is some minor loss of nutrients and fiber, the majority of the nutritional benefits are still available in puree form. In fact, there are actually a few advantages to the peaches being pureed:

  • convenience – puree is used in many commercial applications because it’s efficient to produce and store and can be easily incorporated into smoothies, baked goods, hard seltzers, juices, cocktail mixes, or even savory dishes
  • flavor – the process of pureeing peaches into a liquid form actually concentrates the flavor and makes it more potent
  • digestibility – for some people, the high fiber content can make peaches difficult to digest, but the lower fiber content in puree makes the digestive process smoother 

FruitSmart: Premium Provider of Fruit Ingredients  

Fruit juices, concentrates, essences, and purees are useful in a wide variety of food products that we use every day. If you’re looking to introduce peach flavor to a new recipe, you can trust FruitSmart to provide a high quality product that brings both flavor and nutritional value. But beyond offering delicious ingredients, FruitSmart is also passionate about working with you to develop new recipes that can deliver an amazing final product to your customers. If you’d like to learn more about partnering with FruitSmart, please contact us today. 

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