Nectarines are like the peach's smoother, fuzz-free cousin, the peach. These seasonal stone fruits grow on trees in warmer places like parts of China, the U.S., and California. They are in season from July to September and have firmer flesh that works well on the grill, in salads, or as a snack after school.
What are nectarines?
Nectarines are stone fruits with smooth flesh that are closely related to peaches. Nectarines are actually in the same family as peaches, Rosaceae. They are grown from peaches and have a recessive gene which gives them shaved skin, firmer flesh, and a stronger taste. Both fruits have pits which either stay close to the inside of the fruit or drop out easily, making it easier to cut without making a mess. Nectarines can be consumed raw, and since the peel isn't fuzzy, they are often devoured out of hand with the centre pit thrown away (no peeling required). They are a little more expensive than peaches.
Origin of nectarines:
Nectarines may have been tamed in China about 4,000 years ago, around the same time that peaches became a common fruit in orchards. Botanists think that the nectarine grew because of a genetic change that farmers wanted and then started planting. Nectarines can sprout directly from peach trees because some of the plant's branches can carry the wrong gene.
How to use nectarines?
Nectarines can be eaten without being cooked or peeled. When a fruit is clean, it can be eaten as is, either by biting into it like an apple or cutting it into pieces. The big pit in the middle is not edible and should be thrown away. Most people like to eat nectarines when they are ripe, which means that the flesh gives a little when you press on it and the peel inside the stem is no longer green.
One of the best things about summer fruit is biting into a ripe, raw nectarine. But you can do a lot more with this orange ball of juicy sweetness. Start by cutting them in half, taking out the pit, and putting them straight on a hot grill. You can also do this with peaches, but nectarines are firmer and can handle the heat better while the sticky sugars turn into caramel. Serve them hot and bubbling with a scoop of ice cream, honey, and balsamic vinegar on the side, if you want.
Nectarines, like other stone fruits, make great jams and jellies and go well in baked goods like pies, cobblers, and tarts. Nectarines are great for desserts, but you can also try using them in savoury dishes. Chop and mix with jalapeos for a spicy and sweet salsa.
How to store nectarines?
Nectarines that are ripe can be kept for a few days on the counter or in a cool, dry place. Nectarines will get riper over time, so don't keep them for too long because overripe stone fruit is mushy. You can also put ripe fruit in the refrigerator to make it last longer, but nectarines taste best when they are at room temperature. Sliced fruit should always be kept in a sealed container in the fridge. You can also freeze it in freezer bags or ice-proof containers and use it later in baked goods or smoothies.
Difference between nectarines and peach:
Even though nectarines and peaches look the same, there is a simple way to tell them apart. A peach's skin is soft and fuzzy, but a nectarine's skin is smooth and doesn't have any fuzz. When peaches are ready, you should be able to press on their fuzzy skin and feel a little give. You should also be able to smell the distinct smell of peaches. Nectarines are also very fragrant and have a scent that is all their own.
- Appearance: Nectarines have smooth skin, while peaches have a fuzzy one.
- Size and Texture: Nectarines are usually smaller than peaches and have a firmer texture.
- Taste: Some people say that nectarines are more juicy and sweet than peaches, but I haven't always found that to be true.
Health benefits of nectarines:
Lowers the chance of getting diabetes
Nectarines have powerful polyphenol compounds that may be able to reverse the symptoms of metabolic syndrome while also lowering blood sugar and reducing the inflammation of the blood vessels that is linked to atherosclerosis .
Good for heart
The same study found that nectarines are good for your heart. The polyphenol compounds are thought to work together to keep blood sugar levels steady, lower the risk of heart disease, and stop fat cells from building up around organs.
Stops Cancer Cells from Growing
Researchers also found that polyphenols stopped the growth of breast cancer cells that didn't need oestrogen. This suggests that the polyphenols in peaches and nectarines may help protect against some types of breast cancer.
Vitamin A, vitamin C, tryptophan and beta-carotene all have similar properties. Not only do these antioxidant compounds help reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, which improves circulation and blood pressure, but they can also stop low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from becoming oxidised, which is a type of cholesterol linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Makes Skin Health Better
Nectarines are good sources of polyphenols, which help fight inflammation and kill bacteria. Because of how they are made, nectarines may help improve the elasticity of the skin and can even calm irritated or red skin.