Although peach fuzz may seem like a random evolutionary trait, it actually serves a very specific function.
Many people don’t want to eat unpeeled peaches because of the disgusting fuzz that covers them. But this down, technically called “tomentum”, is not only a characteristic feature, it also has an important biological function.
The hairy surface of peaches serves as a defense and deterrent mechanism against annoying insects that want to feed on their flesh and lay eggs in it. The hairs prevent small insects from landing on the irregular surface of the fruit. In addition to protecting its tasty interior from hungry insects, peach fuzz also prevents the fruit from rotting. The thin peel and tender flesh of the peach are easy prey for mold microorganisms.
The fuzz also helps protect the peach from various adverse environmental influences such as ultraviolet radiation and excessive heat. It acts as a kind of natural “sunscreen”, reflecting some of the sun’s radiation and keeping the fruit fresher as it reduces water loss and thus helps maintain moisture in the fruit. On the contrary: these special hairs keep moisture away when it rains and prevent it from settling on the surface of the fruit. You can test this by dipping peaches in water to see how the fuzz forms air bubbles as it repells moisture. The fluff doesn’t make them waterproof, but it does prevent them from getting wet and starting to rot.
These microscopic hair threads even provide sufficient protection against some people, as peach allergies can occur as a reaction to the fruit’s fuzz or peel, rather than its juicy interior. People with intolerance to the rPru p 3 component can eat peaches without the peel, but the fuzz can cause severe anaphylactic reactions in some people.
A single gene for having fluff
However, despite the plant’s best efforts, peaches have a relatively short lifespan when picked compared to other fruits, lasting about two weeks from growing on the tree to turning into mush. In comparison, other fruits, such as nectarines, are essentially peaches without the fuzz. The difference between the two lies in a single gene. Nectarines are the result of a genetic mutation that makes the fruit smooth.
As with all fruits, it is difficult to classify peaches as real fruits. From a taxonomic point of view, the peach is a drupe, a type of fruit characterized by a fleshy outer part that encloses a single rind, inside of which there is a seed. Other well-known stone fruits include avocados, cherries, walnuts and almonds.
Peaches actually belong to the rose family, along with their relatives, strawberries and garden roses. If you look closely at the petals of a rose, you will also find fluff. This family contains the most fruits and flowers that cause allergies. However, if you are not allergic, a single peach provides 15% of the daily requirement for vitamin C and 6% of the daily requirement for vitamin A, and also has fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Inside the peach pit there is an almond-like kernel. Don’t eat it! It contains a compound called amygdalin, which can break down into hydrocyanic acid (hydrocyanic acid) when consumed. Although you would have to eat large amounts of these seeds to die from cyanide poisoning, they are likely to make you sick and can be dangerous to children.