If you’ve never been a fan of the fuzz on peaches, you should know its existence is intentional. While the fuzz isn’t meant to deter us humans from eating the fruit, it is a type of protection for the peach.
While no one knows exactly what the peach fuzz does, it’s believed that the fuzz acts as a defense mechanism to protect a peach’s delicate skin from excess moisture which can cause premature rot. The latest from the series How Does It Grow explains it in the video above.
Some also believe that the fuzz can act as an irritant to certain insects. Tom Okie, assistant professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, writes that the fuzz is thought to keep the plum curculio from laying their eggs in the flesh. If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the fuzz on the peaches found at a farmers market, you can see how this theory could hold true (though it should be noted that peaches are still susceptible to some bugs).
Because it was believed that peach fuzz was also deterring consumers, methods were developed to remove it before shipping. Fuzz can be removed using wet knives, high-pressure streams of water or brushes. That’s why peaches found at farmers markets ― where this practice isn’t done ― are significantly fuzzier than those found at major grocers. If you look closely, you can see the defuzzing of peaches at around 1:12 in the video below from a Georgia peach farm.
Of course, if fuzz bothers you that much you could just opt for the nectarine, which is basically a peach without the fuzz.