The peach is considered to be the queen of temperate-zone fruits and is second only to the apple as the world's most widely grown tree fruit. Peaches are native to China and have been grown for over 4000 years. They were well-known by the ancient Greeks and Romans and came to America on the ships of the colonists. Peaches are grown on all continents, but most of the peaches in world commerce are grown in the United States. World production in 1990 was estimated at about 7 million metric tons (4).

All commercial peaches are P. persica, of the family Ro-saceae. Breeding and selection down through the ages have resulted in numerous cultivars designed for fruit quality, size, yield, and horticulturally desirable characteristics. Canning is the most popular method of preservation for both freestone and clingstone types of peaches. Sound fruit is washed, peeled, pitted, cut, and put into cans or jars. Syrup is added, and the containers are thermally processed. Frozen peaches are prepared the same way except that the containers are frozen. Single-strength juice and concentrate can be prepared by pressing the fruit. Peach nectar is juice and sweetener with enough fruit pulp to produce a more viscous liquid. Dried peaches are prepared by sun-drying the peach halves or by dehydration, in the same manner as apricots.

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