What are Nectarines

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Fruit Information
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Have you received a gift of fruit from Pittman & Davis, and you’re wondering what these strange fruits that look like peaches (but without the fuzz) are? They’re nectarines, of course! Botanically speaking, these two quality fruits are almost exactly the same: they’re both red-and-yellow stone fruits of the Rosacae family, and they’re in season in the US during the summer months. On the surface, the only real difference between nectarines and peaches is that nectarines are smooth-skinned, and peaches have a slight fuzz or down on their skins. They’re similar in calories and nutrition offerings, and even similar-tasting – but not quite the same.

Nectarines were first discovered in China about 2000 years ago and later made its way to Rome, Greece and Persia where it was cultivated. The nectarine gets its name from the classical drink of the Greek Gods called nectar due to its sweet taste and aroma.

How to Use Nectarines

Unlike peaches, nectarines have a slight citrusy flavor, so they’re not quite as sweet as peaches. They also have firmer flesh, which makes them even better than peaches for grilling or baking. In fact, any recipe in which you’d use peaches, nectarines work just as well – salads, smoothies, cobblers, pies, and of course eating fresh. You can even leave them unpeeled while cooking! This is because the fuzzy skin of a peach can toughen while it’s being cooked, but the smooth, thin skin of the nectarine enables you to skip the step of peeling the fruit.

Like most summer stone fruits, nectarines can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways: in preserves (jams and jellies), sweet salsas and chutneys, and in savory main dishes.

How to Store Nectarines

You don’t need to ripen nectarines ahead of time when you order them from Pittman & Davis – they’re ready to eat as soon as they arrive, so don’t store them on the counter. Keep your nectarine fruit delivery in the fridge until you’re ready to use them, and don’t wait too long before you do – even in the fridge, these fruits won’t last long, so what you can’t eat, preserve so you can enjoy them all year long.

Health Benefits of Nectarines

Nectarines make a wonderful healthy snack. The fruit is high in vitamin C and rich in beta-carotene (this is what gives nectarines their signature red-and-yellow coloring). Our bodies convert beta-carotene into the much-needed vitamin A, which is vital to the immune system as well as eye and skin health. Nectarines are rich in vitamins A and B3, copper, potassium, and magnesium. Our bodies need vitamin A to support the immune system and eye and skin health.

Nectarines are also loaded with antioxidants. One of these – gallic acid – is believed to be beneficial in fighting cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Nectarines also contain folate (necessary for forming healthy red blood cells) and trace amounts of phosphorus, vitamin K and calcium, all of which support bone health.

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