Peaches are a fruit that can be grown locally in the United States from June through August. These sweet snacks are low-calorie and virtually fat-free, have no sodium or cholesterol, and are good sources of vitamin A and fiber. There are, however, a number of things to be aware of before purchasing or eating peaches.
In some ripe peaches, white spots may appear in the pit and/or the area around it. Although these spots resemble mold in appearance, they are actually naturally-occurring. Called callus tissue, they are not mold, fungus, bacteria or the result of any type of disease. These spots are entirely safe to eat along with the rest of the peaches that they appear in.
There are some unsafe spots on peaches. The most common is brown rot, a destructive disease that occurs as peaches reach maturity. The first sign of infection is a small brown spot, usually where the fruit has already been slightly wounded by insects. Fruit with brown rot usually keep their forms for some time. If you see any signs of this or another mold on the outside of a peach, discard it. It has likely been contaminated below the surface as well.
How to Pick a Peach
Peaches are ripe when they can be pulled easily from the tree. They are at their best when they have a slight "give" when they are gently pressed. Because of this, it is important to pick peaches gently to avoid bruising. Peaches should smell sweet. Depending on the variety, ripe peaches may be yellow, orange, red, or a combination -- but if they are still green, they are not ready to be eaten.
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Is the Pit Safe to Eat?
There is debate about the safety of eating peach pits. They have been suggested for treating an enormous variety of ailments, including cancer, blood problems, constipation and liver diseases. However, the pits also contain cyanide. Although the amount in peach pits is considered to be too small to harm humans, people have reported suffering headaches, blurred vision and heart problems after eating too many peach pits. Consult a licensed physician before eating them.
Basil Phillips works as both a columnist and editorial writer for the "Oklahoma Daily." Currently pursuing a double major in history and Arabic at the University of Oklahoma, Phillips specializes in writing about health, history, traveling, languages, video games and education.