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Aah! Summer fruit – Ralph’s pride and joy! Nectarines are such a refined treat: an elegant flavour combined with a juicy softness and amazing aroma.
Ralph goes straight to the South Okanagan/Similkameen regions of BC to bring you the freshest, best tasting locally grown Nectarines possible. Thankfully, the ability to import has extended the time families have to discover the mouth-watering taste of this intensely sweet, golden flesh. Basically the same fruit as peaches, with the fundamental difference being that nectarines are smooth-skinned and peaches are fuzzy. The smooth skin of a nectarine has a bright red ‘blush’ over a rich yellow background.
Like the peach, cherry, and plum, the nectarine is a member of the rose family, and is classified as a “drupe,” a fruit with a hard stone. In addition, while there are several hundred varieties, there are only two types of nectarine, clingstone, and freestone.
HOW TO CHOOSE
BC’s very own Okanagan harvest takes place throughout July and August, whereas the South American season runs from November to March. Then in late May, we start seeing North American nectarines, primarily from California.
Harvested at a firm, ripe stage to reduce likelihood of blemishes before reaching your home. Ripe nectarines should be plump, firm, and relatively heavy with smooth skin. Look for bright colour with a sweet and fruity fragrance. They should give slightly to fingertip pressure, especially along the indented seam. Avoid rock hard, very soft, or shrivelled fruit.
To speed up the ripening process, place nectarines in a paper bag and store loosely at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 2-3 days. Once ripe, refrigerate ripe nectarines in a single layer. They are best eaten within a week.
Like peaches, they may, also, be preserved or frozen.
Briefly rinse under cool running water prior to use. To remove the pit (stone), take a small knife and cut fruit lengthwise around pit and twist to separate halves. The pit should be sitting in the middle of one half of the nectarine. Use clean hands, the pit should come right out if it is ripe. If not, use a knife to dislodge. To prevent browning, coat the cut surface with lemon juice.
These ‘fuzzless peaches’ make superb additions to fruit salads and for those who enjoy baking; there is nothing quite as tasty as a nectarine cake. They also cook well and taste incredible in pastries, breads, sauces, and meat dishes.
Nectarines are delicious eaten as a snack. Make sure, however, that it is ripe, since a tart one can ruin the whole experience. There is no harm eating a nectarine without cutting it. Simply take care to bite around the pit (stone).
Raw slices are excellent as a topping for cereal, pancakes or ice cream, as a partner to yogurt, in mixed fruit pies, in rice and chicken salads, in sandwiches or as a base for chutney.
Is a good source of Vitamins A and C, and potassium. Nectarines contain antioxidants including vitamin C, carotenoids, and bioflavinoids and provide phytonutrients including lycopene and anthocyanins.
Nectarine – 2 1/2 inches or 6.35cm in diameter,130 g, 1 fruit (raw)
Total Fat: 0.63g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin A (1,000 IU)
*Good source of: Vitamin C (7.3mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
A close relative of the peach, nectarines are believed to have originated in China. They traveled to Europe via China and Persia in the 16th century, while only recently coming to North America.
Opinions differ about the nectarine’s origins. We’ll share both and let you decide:
- Originally white-fleshed, nectarines were crossed with peaches so that today the flesh is bright yellow-orange. The smooth-skin characteristic of nectarines is a minor genetic variation, like red hair among people!
- Some have mistakenly believed that the nectarine is a peach/plum cross. Peaches and nectarines are both ancient fruits from China that are related.
Soft fruits are all harvested by hand of experienced pickers to maintain the integrity of the fruit.