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Wild peaches are small, with a rounded base, roughly 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter. They have a thin, fuzzy, greenish-yellow skin that develops a subtle red blush once mature. The flesh is a light yellow with a slight red staining around the freestone pit in the center. Wild peaches offer a mildly sweet flavor that is more tart and acidic.
Wild peaches are available during the late summer.
Wild peaches are botanically known as Prunus mira and are most often found growing wild in the northwestern region of India, at the foot of the Himalayas. The Wild peach is considered by botanists as a "natural" hybrid cross between a peach and the related almond. In India, they are known as "Behmi" in Hindi. They are also known under another scientific name: Amygdalus mira, another recognized genus name for the wild fruit. Another botanist gave it the subspecies descriptor of ‘napealensis’. It is the closet relative to the modern peach and a second cousin to the almond. In southwestern China, the peaches are called Yemaotao and Kamu.
Wild peaches, like most varieties, are high in vitamin C, and are a good source of vitamins A and B, dietary fiber and potassium. They contain iron and beneficial phenolic acids and flavonoids that provide antioxidant benefits.
Wild peaches are eaten fresh, despite their sour nature. They are also sun dried and used for making a liquor called “Behmi wine”. Wild peaches can be used in baking, preserving, cooking and for fresh eating in salads or as a garnish. The flavor pairs well with berries, strong cheeses, pork and meats. Use the tart fruits for marinades or brines. Store Wild peaches at room temperature until soft and keep refrigerated for up to a week.
The seeds of the Wild peaches are used in India for their oils and sweet, inner kernels. The kernels are eaten and substituted for almonds in some dishes. Oil is extracted from the kernels and used for cooking and as a natural conditioner for hair. The oils are prescribed for massaging sore joints, which has maintained its popularity in the region.
Wild peaches are native to a region of the Himalayas, that includes Northern India, Nepal, Tibet and east to Myanmar and the adjacent Sichuan province of China. The fruits thrive in dry, temperate regions that lie between 2,000 to 4,000 meters in elevation. In China, Wild peaches are cultivated in addition to maintaining their wild status. They are an important fruit in the region. Since 2012, researchers and scientists have been studying the genetics of dozens of accessions of the wild fruits so they might increase the variability and hardiness of peach varieties around the world. To survive in the climate of the Tibetan Plateau, Wild peaches developed a tolerance to cold temperatures, disease and infertility. Researchers working with the effects of climate change on fruit production are looking to utilize the hardy genes of Wild peaches to improve varieties impacted by a warming environment. Wild peaches are most often found in their native region, spotted at roadside markets and to some extent in village grocers.
Recipes that include Wild Peaches. One is easiest, three is harder.