- fuzzless peach
The nectarine belongs to the family Rosaceae and is classified as Prunus persica variety nucipersica. Nectarines are smooth-skinned fleshy fruit that distinguish from the peach in aroma, skin texture, and flavor, but they resemble peach colour, size and shape of seed. Also, they can be yellow, white, clingstone, or freestone and more easily damaged. The first nectarines are thought to have appeared in 1616 in England but it can be also considered that they had been grown much earlier in the central part of the Asian continent. The trees are resistant to temperatures situated between -26 degrees Celsius and -30 degrees Celsius. For a good growth, a lot of summer heat is required and this refers to temperatures between 20 degrees and 30 degrees. Nectarines need full sun and good air in order to develop and they should maintain a constant supply of water. They always have to be picked ripe as they do not ripe after they are taken from their place.
Commonly showcased side by side with peaches, nectarines are a similar, but yet different fruit. The best way to identify the difference between a nectarine and peach is by the lack of fuzz on the nectarine.
Nectarines, like peaches, most likely originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish. Today, California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States.
Nectarines are smaller and smooth skinned golden yellow with large blushes of red. Their yellow flesh has a noticeable pink tinge, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavor. There are more than 100 varieties of nectarine, in freestone and clingstone varieties. In freestone types the flesh separates from the 'pit' easily, while clingstone types cling to the 'pit.' Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise very easily.
Ripe fruit are fragrant and give, slightly, to the touch. If they are a under-ripe, leave them at room temperature for 2–3 days to ripen. Look for fruit with smooth unblemished skin. Avoid extremely hard or dull colored fruits and soft fruit with soft, wrinkled, punctured skin.
Nectarines keep for 5 days if stored in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
California nectarines are available from late April and to late August. Almost all of the nectarines available are in California. Chiliean Nectarines are available from late December through early March.
- Fruit of the Month: Nectarine by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, public domain government resource—original source of recipe