August’s Mystery Guest

Your monthly appointment is here. WiseFins and its mystery guest are here. A food that you are probably all familiar with but may not be aware of its ecological impact. Can you guess what this food product is? Find out who’s behind the picture.

I am a fruit

On your supermarket shelves from June to September, I’m known as one of the stars of summer fruits. A fleshy stone fruit, I am often confused with my cousin, the nectarine. Juicy, sweet, and thirst-quenching, my skin is velvety, and my flesh can be different colors such as yellow, white, and red. 

You know me

I was born in China more than 3,000 years ago before being exported to India and the Near East. France discovered me in the 16th century, and I became particularly appreciated by the French nobility, including King Louis XIV, who had me grown in his garden at Versailles. When French gastronomy started to develop, I became a food of predilection to make delicate desserts. In homage to the Australian singer Nellie, the famous pastry chef Auguste Escoffier concocted a fabulous dessert in which I have the honor of being the main ingredient, accompanied by vanilla ice cream and raspberry puree Melba. 

You cook me mostly in pastries

I am a fruit that you like to eat raw. Cooked, I can be used to prepare many dishes, both sweet and savory. I can be found in many recipes for cakes, compotes, and jams. I have a great place in pastry where I am served cooked, sweetened, or flambéed. You can also find me in your cocktails, for example, in the famous Bellini cocktail, the emblematic drink of the city of Venice in Italy.

You love my nutritional values

I am a fruit rich in antioxidants and fiber. I help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and various chronic diseases. My vitamins are concentrated in my peel, so don’t peel me if you want to enjoy my benefits! With 87% of my composition being water, I have the particularity of being hydrating and thirst-quenching. Moderately caloric, I bring to my consumers small quantities of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.

You eat me in large quantity

I am, after the melon, the French people’s favorite summer fruit. In France, each household consumes 2.7 kilograms of me per year. Our country is the 4th largest producer in Europe with an annual production of 324 000 tons. Languedoc-Roussillon is my leading producer with more than 40% of the French cultivation, followed by Provence and the Rhône-Alpes region. In the world, 20.3 million tons of my fruit are produced each year, including 10.7 million tons by China, which is the largest world producer. In general, 55% of the world’s production is used by industry, mainly for canning, and 45% is consumed as a fresh product. The industrialization of agriculture and the need to produce ever more cheaply have changed my taste and appearance over the years. I am often criticized for being too hard and not very tasty. I am also a fragile fruit that does not hold up well during transport, making me less aesthetic, forcing supermarkets to throw me away in tons every year.

Am I environmentally friendly?

The tree I grow flourishes in warm climates and, therefore, has a high water requirement, as it needs regular watering. The production of one kilogram of my fruit requires 30,620 liters of water, which is, by way of comparison, the storage capacity of three large tankers! The greenhouses where I am grown also consume a large amount of energy, be it electric, gas, or oil, to simulate the heat I need to thrive. The production of one kilogram of my fruit thus emits 1.14 kilograms of CO2. As a comparison, the emission of greenhouse gases emitted by ten kilograms of my fruit, that is to say, 80 to 90 units, is identical to 73 kilometers by car, that is, a trip from Nice to Fréjus. I am a fruit that is not without impact on the environment and the climate.

I am the peach!

Did you figure out the identity of our mystery guest, and above all, did you imagine that its ecological impact was so substantial? There are many varieties of peaches and fruits in our supermarkets, such as nectarines, donut peaches and many more. The nectarine is a faithful cousin of the peach and offers almost the same virtues and taste. On the other hand, its ecological impact on necessary water resources and greenhouse gas emissions during production is less. It thus constitutes an excellent alternative to fishing if you wish to limit your impact on the environment. WiseFins is looking forward to seeing you next month to discover the portrait of a new guest.

Written by Maeva Ortega.

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