Ark of Taste
Indian Blood Peach
The Indian Blood Peach is an Old World fruit that was brought over to Mexico by the Spanish in the 1500s. Over the course of a century, the fruit spread up into the southeastern United States and was grown by native tribes such as the Cherokees and the Creeks. European explorers arriving later were astonished to find this Old World fruit growing in the New World. The Indian Blood Peach was grown by famous Americans such as Thomas Jefferson at his home, Monticello, and is one of the 38 types of peaches that still grows there today.
The Blood Peach survived throughout the centuries in the American South because it is a superior canning peach. An October 1868 article from The Boston Recorder cited the Blood Peach as a highly recommended canning fruit because of its preservation ability, consistency, and hardy taste. In its classic form, canned Blood Peach had the fruit quartered, cooked in simple syrup until a straw penetrated the flesh easily, and stored in clear mason jars to reveal the striking red flesh. Peach jam, using crushed peaches in syrup, is a popular alternative. Newspaper advertisements for the desired Blood Peach continued on into the next century.
The Indian Blood Peach is a large fruit with a tough scarlet red skin similar to a beet and flesh of a yellow color streaked with red. Unlike other types of peaches, the Indian Blood Peach tends to have a firmer texture when it is ripe. It is also capable of growing up to 12 inches around! The Indian Blood Peach is a cling peach, meaning that the flesh tends to cling to the seed inside. Additionally, this type of peach is a seedling peach as it grows true from seed. This variety of peach is available during the summer and can be harvested anywhere from June to September depending on the climate. The size may also vary depending on climate.
Nowadays, the Indian Blood Peach occasionally appears in roadside fruit stands and farmers and specialty markets but is almost never found in supermarkets and is generally not widely available to the public. Indian Blood Peach trees may sometimes be found growing in yards or orchards or farms, but they are not commercially grown. Sometimes these trees may be found or purchased from online sellers. Outside the US, these peaches are nearly impossible to find. But the potential is there! This fruit can be easily transported and sown; it is not easily susceptible to disease and has fairly decent pest resistance; and it has good drought, heat, humidity, and sun tolerance. It is also considered self-fertile and needs more than one tree to pollinate. The Indian Blood Peach can definitely be sustainably produced, and if growers decide to embrace this exciting fruit, the nation’s produce selection would surely benefit from the delicious addition.