Kevin Farrell

What is peach gum, and how do I use it?

USA TODAY 10Best

Imagine, if you will, gummy bears that grow naturally on the bark of trees. They're as delicious as they are effective at plumping and clearing your skin.

It sounds too fantastical to be real, but one health food with almost mythological beautifying properties from China is beginning to appear on U.S. shores.

Here’s what you need to know about peach gum.

For starters, peach gum goes by quite a few names:

*Peach resin *Peach blossom tears *Prunus persica

Peach gum is just one among dozens of organic products that we classify as natural gums.

Though gums may sound exotic, you’ve likely encountered them countless times as a child, in the form of sticky tree sap.

Perhaps the best known of all natural gums is agar, which is harvested from seaweed for use in everything from laxatives to gelatin substitutes.

Peach gum forms on Chinese wild peach trees, where it naturally hardens into a gummy crystalline form.

It is particularly rich in collagen, a triple-helix protein found in our tendons, bones, muscles and skin.

So how does it taste?

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this peach-hued gel-gemstone hybrid tastes an awful lot like peach gummies or jelly.

The taste tends to play second fiddle to the complex texture. Both soft and dense, it’s said to be unlike anything else in the world.

How do you use peach gum in the kitchen?

Clean the bits of peach gum under running water, then soak them overnight.

Serve it atop braised pork belly

Add it last-minute to stir-fried vegetables

Or simmer it with water, dates and honey to make peach gum soup.

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